iPad vs. Windows Tablets: Will Microsoft Surface Pro Win in 2015?

by Scott Olson, on Mar, 3, 2015

Choosing a tablet can be difficult. Because of their rapid adoption, It’s easy to forget that they’ve only been around for the last five years. Choosing a tablet for enterprise use can be even more time consuming because you don’t just have to consider your own preferences, you have an entire organization to think about, from marketing and sales to IT and operations. One of the most common sore-spots in this process for our clients is choosing between Apple’s iPad and a Windows tablet.


For years, iPads have dominated the enterprise tablet market. In fact, iPads are still the preferred tablet choice for most mobile sales forces. They’ll likely remain popular for consumers because of reliability, ease of use, professional look, and quality apps. The Apple review process for apps is the most stringent in the industry. This creates the first point of contention between the iPad and a Windows tablet. Apple apps are still the highest quality apps in terms of performance and reliability. Additionally, the Windows 8 user interface is often confusing for those without prior experience, or who have become accustomed to using their iPad or iPhone.

Despite the user-friendly nature of Apple products, I believe we will see a shift in the enterprise tablet sphere from iPads to Windows-based systems. After all, using a tablet for personal matters isn’t the same as using it for business matters. Organizations don’t necessarily shop for technology the same way an individual would. They see things differently because the technology serves a unique purpose. Here are a few of the key selling points for using a Windows tablet in your business:

1. A Windows tablet like the Surface Pro 3 can replace your laptop. That’s something an iPad cannot do. According to Nucleus Research, “Two-thirds of iPad users interviewed required an additional computing device to accomplish all the tasks necessary for their job, while 96 percent of Windows tablet users, such as Surface, interviewed used the device as their only computing device.” Additionally, corporate IT departments usually like the idea of supporting one Microsoft device as opposed to two devices -- often a Microsoft laptop and an Apple tablet. Most larger corporate IT departments do not like supporting Apple products, even Jobs himself admitted that Apple is meant for the consumer market, and not so much for enterprise.

2. The cost of device and management is lower for Windows tablets. According to the same Nucleus Research study, the overall cost of device management was 66 percent greater for companies managing iOS tablets compared with Windows tablets such as the Microsoft Surface. That, coupled with the lower initial cost of purchasing a Windows based tablet, makes a strong business case for Microsoft.

3. Existing Windows tablet users are satisfied, others are switching. Sixty-nine percent of primarily iPad users would consider or had already begun pilot examinations of Windows tablets. None of the companies that were using a Surface device strategy would consider switching. After five years in the market, iPads are reaching the end of their accounting life. Many are being replaced with Windows 8 devices. We’ve seen this shift happening in the industry, as well as among our clients.

4. Windows offers better integration. Windows 8 tablets run on the full Windows 8 operating system. This allows them to run larger programs like Photoshop, as well as Powerpoint and other media applications that iPads don’t necessarily run or have the capacity to. Windows tablets also have the ability to print to any printer, not only by AirPrint like the iPad. They also have external USB ports that allow you to backup your information on an external hard drive, connect a keyboard, or connect a mouse. Windows 8 tablets also offer better integration with legacy sales operations via SharePoint, MS Dynamics CRM, and Lync.

As tablets become increasingly embedded in our every-day lives, and in our day-to-day enterprise operations, it makes sense that the competition has become increasingly stiff. The time has come for many mobile enabled organizations to update their tablets, and Windows is quickly fighting its way to the top of the consideration pool. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Windows tablets overtake iPads in the next five years. What do you think? Tweet your thoughts to me or email me and let’s chat!

Photo by Hal Gatewood