Microsoft Japan and NTT DoCoMo announced Wednesday a joint project aimed at developing tablets for the enterprise market while utilizing Microsoft's latest OS–Windows 8.
You may be wondering: “What on earth is a mobile phone company like NTT DoCoMo doing working with Microsoft?” Well it turns out that corporations have started to warm up to the idea of their employees using tablets. The enterprise market, which until just recently used to be a solely desktop world, has begun to evolve into a new beast. And if Microsoft doesn’t move fast, said corporations might even start using Apple products.
NTT DoCoMo will be leveraging their strangely named LTE service “Xi” (pronounced “Crossy”) by including it in a series of Windows 8 tablets.
Windows 8 only just came out on October 26. Traditionally, the adoption rate of new Windows versions by companies tends to start off pretty slow, only heating up around the release of the first service pack for the system. By launching this corporate tablet strategy, Microsoft may be looking for a chance to weasel their way into Japanese companies with their new OS without waiting for a year first.
Microsoft and NTT’s joint mission will be to explore new business opportunities, to seek out new clients and new markets, to boldly sell where no tablet maker has sold before…
Another thing about the Japanese market is that they tend to be rather dispassionate about buying products from overseas. This doesn't stem so much from xenophobia as it does a sense of national pride and desire to boost the region’s economy. (This is one of the reasons why the Xbox360 totally bombed in Japan). By teaming up with a homely local boy like NTT DoCoMo, Microsoft may be attempting to overcome this barrier. As Microsoft’s foray into the hardware space has put them in direct competition with a number of Japanese makers like Fujitsu et al, this is a very smart move. In fact, I’m shocked a post-Gates Microsoft was able to come up with something so devious and intelligent. Allow me to golf clap in your general direction, Microsoft. Well played.
NTT DoCoMo’s CEO Kaoru Kato came on record stating that he believed the exceptional usability and rich features of Windows 8, as well as the software compatibility and existing resources of Windows were a perfect fit for their business plans (I guess no-one told him that x86 programs won’t run on ARM…). By adding Xi (remember to pronounce it “Crossseeyyyy”) support, they believe they will be the key behind Microsoft taking a slice of the up-and-coming tablet market, which is expected to grow 20% a year from now on.
“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” – Steve Balmer
At present, the only Windows 8 tablet which supports Xi is the “Let’snote AX” from Panasonic (no I didn’t forget a space, that’s really how it’s written), however that is soon to change as hometown players NEC, Fujitsu, Toshiba, HP Japan and friends will be along for the ride. If there was one way to get into bed with Japanese enterprises, this would be it. I’ll golf clap again in a minute, let me just finish this article first.
Microsoft and NTT sittin' in a tree…
In anticipation of their super-best-friends-forever collaboration, Microsoft Japan and NTT DoCoMo have already begun their PR blitzkrieg, and can be found on many a street corner of Tokyo ringing their bell and yelling “Hear ye, hear ye”, or whatever the modern day equivalent is.
Mr. Kato (the NTT CEO, not the guy from The Green Hornet) went on to say that if things go well in the future they may consider expanding their cooperation to the mass market, and maybe even Windows Phone 8 if Microsoft is a good boy and does all his chores. At the moment NTT DoCoMo also deal Android tablets, so at least they will have a backup plan should Microsoft crash and burn…but I’m sure that won’t happen, right?