Apple this week launched its new iCloud concept of being able to have documents synced automatically between native apps on your phone, tablet and desktop computer. For individuals and small businesses this is an absolute boon. It will make content available on any device at any time with no particular effort or pain for the user.
For medium and large business, however, this is a true nightmare! Data will be all over the place, it will be in datacentres IT cannot control, information can get lost or stolen. This is just not going to be acceptable from a corporate IT point of view.
Yet if a corporation gives up on the opportunity that iCloud represents, are they offering the best most effective and productive tools to their workforce*? How much competitive positioning will they loose if they don’t embrace this new way of working?
Here’s the opportunity for Microsoft and Nokia. Microsoft has a lot of experience and expertise in not only selling to corporate IT, but enabling corporate IT to run cloud computing platforms like Microsoft Exchange Server.
What if Microsoft can offer an iCloud style server that keeps all the data within corporate data centres and enables user access to that data to be yanked when an employee leaves? That is a great opportunity for Microsoft and will be an excellent reason to have corporate IT provide workers with Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices rather than competing ones from Apple or Android partners.
Apple’s launch and subsequent promotion of iCloud will really “create a market” for cloud-based syncing solutions in the personal arena, in the same way their promotion of the iPad has driven demand for tablets in the enterprise. Microsoft can leverage this to sell its own enterprise focused solutions to corporate IT.
One of the potential issues is that Microsoft doesn’t really get the concept yet of moving beyond the filesystem, so they may try to stay with that outdated concept. Yet if they can offer and integrated Dropbox style service, that will still give them a competitive edge that can drive sales of Windows Phone 7.
* Yes, I am well aware that Corporate IT rarely does what’s in the best interest of the corporation or its employees, but one can only hope that there are pockets of sanity out there.