Despite the drive over the last 10 or so years for us all to “go to the cloud” and make use of web applications, thus eradicating the traditionally installed application on the desktop, we still find ourselves needing to install and manage client installed Windows applications. Sure there are many application deployment technologies that are becoming ever more prevalent to ease the pain of managing the application set such as Microsoft’s App-V and VMware’s ThinApp, but these technologies still have a common denominator – the requirement for the Windows Operating System in order to actually use the applications.
In fact the analysts seem to agree that almost 70% of all corporate applications in use today are still Windows applications and that this is a fact that is not going to be reducing significantly anytime soon. Maybe five years from now we will be in a different place and the reliance on the Windows platform will have lessened enough that the business computer platform will have become somewhat irrelevant, however for the next few years, we must accept that we remain shackled to Windows as the corporate desktop operating system.
Yes, we have Mac users in the enterprise who can get along OK for some work tasks (Microsoft’s Office 2011 for Mac is pretty good and certainly meets the “good enough” entry bar for most people), but these users will require some form of virtualization to deliver a Windows desktop into the Mac device so that work may be completed in the applications that are not available natively on the Mac platform (examples such as Microsoft Project or Microsoft Visio are appropriate here).
While technologies have existed for many years now to deliver a virtual desktop to such users, the key offline use case has not been catered to, leaving users unable to work effectively while offline (such as during travel or even on poorly connected networks).
So we are left with client virtualization (using tools such as VMware’s Fusion (for Mac) or Workstation (for Windows)) as a potential means to deliver Windows desktop and Windows applications to such use cases while enabling offline usage, typically leaving the user in control of creating and maintaining their own Windows desktop.
In conclusion, regardless of the platform that the user population use, in the enterprise, Windows is still the king of applications.