Windows

A Windows Store move that Google should adopt right away

The big opportunity for Android in the corporate market involves giving companies the same open access that's been promised to Windows tablet users.

Microsoft showed off the Windows Store, the application market for its upcoming, tablet-friendly Windows 8 operating system, on December 6, 2011. A key feature for enterprise customers will be the ability to submit apps to the Windows Store that can be viewed and installed only by those Windows tablets and computers that are deployed by their company (or at least signed into a corporate Exchange server).

It's a smart move by Microsoft.

A big firm could stick with their Group Policy tools to push apps to PCs, and ask its Windows tablet owners to "side-load" their applications - that is, install them through manual transfer of an installer file, avoiding the Windows Store entirely. But with this move, companies can hand a tablet to a new employee, and when they log in, they may find all the applications they need waiting just one or two clicks away, and updated in the same way as all their other apps. And it's not just smart, but a needed advantage, because iPads are entirely dominating the enterprise tablet market at the moment.

For companies looking to deploy apps to iPad-toting employees, there's an Apple-approved distribution method (PDF) that's mostly up to the company to set up and maintain. Microsoft's Windows Store method relieves some of the burden of distribution, from the looks of it.

What about Android? I looked around, but most of the information I could find about enterprise Android distribution came from Google Groups threads where the answer boiled down to "Sure, go ahead and build your apps, set up your own server, and figure out a way to explain installing apps from unknown sources to every single employee.

So there you have it. The big opportunity for Google's Android system to make big inroads in the corporate market involves giving companies the same kind of open access and freedom that's been promised to Windows tablet users. Make it just a few clicks for trusted employees to get at crucial apps, and don't do too much more.

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About

Kevin Purdy is a freelance writer, a former editor at Lifehacker.com, and the author of The Complete Android Guide.

12 comments
rrathbun
rrathbun

I can personally care less what Google does, but sure, if their smart they will take this approach. As for the underlying technology, the concept of app stores have existed for decades. Microsoft GPO's, SMS, SCCM, and other software could always distribute software on demand to the enterprise. Few organizations fully leveraged the technology at large scales, up until perhaps the Black Berry apps store and later Apple's became popular. Simple business 101, and I have to admit here's where Apple made its profits. I do personally HATE Apple as a company, but those reasons are NOT for their entire business model. I hate them because of specific practices and the elitist attitudes they create in their users (some are stuck-up rich morons / not all). I suppose the few bad Apples, pun intended, do the most harm to Apple - minus their slave labor camps. Apple is one case where their approach recently worked against them. They got cocky with their approach to app publishing and the press hammered them into the dirt. What publisher in their right mind would want their e-books isolated to one single app store to sell their works - does not work on the Internet. Apple took this same approach with Blue Ray players - they didn't install blue-ray because Apple wanted your money for their online iTunes movies. Steve Jobs intentionally played his Apple "iSheep" users (token term I made up) and they marched like rats to the piper. As to the original question, sure Google, go ahead and do what you will but learn from Apple's and Microsoft's mistakes. Let the developers profit and so will you. Lock stuff down and take too much control and this will backlash in your face. Example: Compare Zune Music to iTunes in the app stores of each company. Microsoft clearly has a less expensive service. MS changes $99.00 dollars for an upfront fee, and they allow for downloads. iTunes changes you 99 cents a song. When you do the math, iTunes seems like a crappy deal, which is many aspects it is. If Microsoft supported iPod and iPhone better with their software, it could easily snag tons of Apple user base, if executed smartly. Lesson learned is you can create services, and have awesome solutions. It also takes creative marketing. Any MAC OS user will tell you that certain components of MAC OS will prompt you for password protection, if the system is secured IAW common security standards. A good ad firm would of latched onto this when Apple's ad firm hammered the Vista OS for the security nags and backlashed them with counter ads. Point being you can have great services, software, and other things going for you, but if your advertiser sucks, you SUCK.

rhonin
rhonin

Simple idea, simple solution. KISS...... Google should do this.

carol.fuhr
carol.fuhr

I'm a little weak in the knees at the idea. In a good way. Simple instructions, a couple of clicks and my users have what they need. At least half of my end users would be capable/willing to do that, drastically reducing the amount of hand-holding I would otherwise have to do. If a Windows tablet is the only way to get this feature, this is enough to make me decree Windows tablets only within the enterprise.

open_source_user_01
open_source_user_01

50-60 MILLION lines of code is a big insecure mess. Google should BAN anything from Microsoft, why even go there to begin with.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

I wouldn't download anything to my cell phone.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you agree with Kevin that Google should adopt the Windows Store feature that lets enterprise customers submit apps that can be viewed and installed only by those Windows tablets and computers that are deployed by their company? Why not? If you agree, what are the advantages as you see them?

belli_bettens
belli_bettens

Congratulations! Your comment just lead to millions of people abandoning the market dominating OS. whaaw, all those anti-MS posts, and you really stuck to it and actually did it, you destroyed MS! (Seriously, why do you even keep trying?)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Other than a knee-jerk reaction to seeing the words "Microsoft" and "Windows"? For the record, based strictly on what's in this article, not only should Google take a long look at this but Apple should too.

adornoe
adornoe

misunderstood what the author was trying to say to Google. This was NOT about Windows apps for the Android platform. You're trying too hard to find an excuse to attack Windows and Microsoft.

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