Survey: More enterprise technology workers would rather own a Windows tablet than an iPad

Nearly one third of tech workers in the enterprise sector say they would prefer their next tablet to run on the Windows platform, according to a Forrester Research survey. The survey revealed that 32 percent of information workers surveyed prefer Microsoft Surface, while only 26 percent favour the iPad and 12 percent would choose Android hardware. 

What's more is that the survey is said to have been carried out before the Microsoft Surface launched. But could tablets replace laptops with a Surface tablet? Ted Schadler, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research commented the following:

“It’s not game over for Microsoft [...] The idea that I can take a laptop away from an employee and give them a tablet is a fantasy."

Of course we're probably not going to see Surface tablets (or any tablet) replace desktop or laptop computers any time soon, but it's interesting to see Microsoft's product being taken seriously in the enterprise market as well as the average consumer. The picture wasn't so bright for Windows Phone, with only 10 percent opting for the platform, while the iPhone and Android took 33 and 22 percent respectively.

Those who do use tablets for work purposes reported in at 58 percent for the iPad, which isn't much of a surprise. Microsoft has some way to go if it's able to wiggle in the Surface (or other Windows 8 tablets) into enterprise. But it's not the end of the road as there's still Windows 8. The company has to continue pushing its radical new operating system as well. 

The idea of Windows 8, Windows tablets and Windows Phones working together with compatible backend services is one Microsoft will have to ensure is pushed effectively to those who seek upgrades for tech employees to utilise in the industry.

Source: Forrester Research, via: UCStrategies

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • The people wanting iPads are not workers, they are consumers.  Making a checkbox on a spreadsheet with your iPad is not work.
  • Some of my clients that give workers iPads say productivity is down as they see it as a toy not a tool.
  • I would use a surface pro for work and home and play and music and etc. ;)
  • With 3 hour battry?? :)))
  • You mean 5 hour... *fixed
  • I am getting 5-6 hours of battery..... Go to work, do stuff, still have 2 hours when I come home.
  • I work at a desk with 6 electrical plugs next to it basically all day. 250 out of 275 users in our offices have electrical plugs next to their desks. To the other 25, which happen to need less specs too, there is a Acer W5 with W8 that lasts over 10 hours, that without the keyboard/dock/extra battery, which gives them 5 more ours while they could be typing... So 3 or more hours next to plugs is just no problem what so ever.
  • If this survey really was  carried out before the Surface launched then it's pretty worthless because putting it up against the iPad at that time would have made people think the Surface had the same battery life specs surely?
  • "For tablets, 32 percent of information workers surveyed prefer Microsoft Surface, 26 percent favor the iPad, while 12 percent choose Android tablets"
    Performed in Q4 2012, surely the Surface RT was available by then which is why it was included. I'd say battery life on the Surface RT, while technically less than an iPad, is still comparable. Surface Pro is another story but it's a full computer. I haven't heard of people killing a Surface RT in a single day on a full charge, though I suppose it's possible.
  • i did yesterday while skyping but it took a hell of a long time.
  • i have a surface 8RT and an iPad 2. one is a toy for my 4 year old son, one is used as a functinal computer to do work & web surfing\apps.
  • LOL i think i know which ones (TROLL FACE) :D
  • Bring down Apple already. An OS that no one can licence should fight for the scraps, not dominate.
  • The surface pro is much more efficient than the iPad. The iPad is more like a child's toy.
  • You can't compare a Surface Pro to an iPad.  The correct comparison is to the MacBook Air.  It's like comparing a bike to a car.
    The iPad comparison should be to the RT.
  • That didn't stop people from comparing surface rt to laptops though so screw comparison regulations if people are gonna be ignorant of device capabilities and purpose.
  • Agreed, but it can actually be taken a step further.  Surface Pro is a hybrid device, made possible by Windows 8 supporting, both keyboard/mouse and touch optimized interfaces.  For the sake of comparison...
    Surface RT = iPad
    Surface Pro = iPad + Macbook Air (it could replace BOTH of these devices for most people)
    Some people don't seem to have caught onto this.  They keep trying to make a direct comparison between an inovative new hybrid form factor and one of the existing form factors.  In some cases I think these false comparisons are due to bias.  In other cases I think people just lack imagination, inovative thinking, and are generally scared of things that are different.
  • I have surface rt and iPad, I don't even use the iPad anymore..period
  • I wish I could say that, but I can't.  My iPad is still far more efficient and capable for me than my surface rt.   Early on, I thought the Surface was the better of the two and commented very publically about it to friends and co-workers, but I end up on the iPad doing work more often than on the Surface.
    Now, I also have a Dell XPS12 which I use quite a bit...and I'm trying to use it over my macbook air, but he battery life on the XPS is killing me.
  • As someone who would desperately like to see the general public stop equating "iPad" with "tablet" someday, these fanboy comments are depressing.
  • The surface RT technically is more tablet than laptop... the fact that it has usb, sd card slot, and word powerpoint and excel make it more of a tool than a toy. But lets face it apple dominates the tablet market and therefore has become synonymous with tablet.
  • Many makers of "Whipped Topping" said the same thing about Cool-Whip...
  • "stop equating "iPad" with "pc""
  • I used to own an iPad and sold it within 2 weeks of purchasing my surface rt.
  • I did the same thing! So glad I did.
  • I think these numbers are pretty impressive, given that the Surface Pro was(or from a practical standpoint, still isn't) available at the time of the survey. It clearly shows a hunger for a working Tablet, not the iPad toys (which lets face it, are pretty good toys). And for 10% of US IT people to want a Windows phone! 50% of the demand for Android! That's not a bad thing to see at all!
  • Better than the .07% that's waiting for an Ubuntu tablet.
  • I just got over 20 updates on my Surface RT, including a firmware update. Any ideas on what this fixed?
  • If you just got a surface, it will be like that.
  • One of the updates turns your camera into a laser.
  • I know people who have returned their Surface RT and went back to their iPad for this very reason. Microsoft should have a way of ensuring that a brand new Surface has all the latest updates already installed. Having to wait 30-60 minutes for your shiny new Surface to update just minutes out of the box does not put the device in a very good light.
  • I'd take a surface pro over an iPad. But I'd take an iPad of ther surface RT. 
  • well no duh, the iPad doesn't run full applications
  • 32, 26, 12....What did the other 30% want?  Nothing at all or other?  it is a pretty big deal when other is 30% and only 2% off your leader.
  • They were waiting for a modified Leap Pad from Leapster.
  • As an IT Pro for a large organization, I can tell you that I would certainly prefer to deploy Surfaces to the field.  I have 300-400 people I could easily justify buying a Surface RT.  Only about 20 I can justify the cost of a Surface Pro.  What is holding me back is the lack of a Cisco VPN app for RT.  At this time I'm still holding on tablet orders when I can because I hope and believe there will eventually be a Cisco VPN solution for RT.  And it really is a deal breaker.   For those in a position of power that can demand I order them a tablet now, I'm having to buy iPads.  And it hurts a bit each time.
  • Exactly.  No VPN is a major gaffe.  The Surface was designed around real productive use, but without VPN it is simply not possible for most businesses to use them. 
    It should come eventually, but Microsoft should have made it a top priority equal to Office.  I know Microsoft doesn't make the AnyConnect app, but they should have worked closely with Cisco and other vendors to ensure availability.
  • Tablets will never replace desktops.
  • What an incredibly shortsighted thing to say... the surface pro already replaces a destop very well 90 % of the times
  • Riiight. And neither will Laptops.
    Get real.  The only thing preventing the Surface Pro form boing my next work computer is storage. When SSM is cost efective with disk drives (at today's prices) Tablets will replace Laptops and Desktops for most people.
    Just realize tha tI'm talking about a Surface Pro Tablet, not an iPad.  ie a working machine, not a toy
  • Never say never mate! I hardly use my office laptop ever since i bought my Samsung Slate 7 series updated to W8 Pro. Other than a few office tasks that require LAN connection to ossice network & that's simply because the IT gurus refused to configure the slate i do not need laptop. When i have a tablet that brings portability yet with ability to use my external drive, connect keyboard or mouse when needed or connect printer & do whatever i want, why yearn for a laptop or PC?
    Only gripes, the weight issue and battery life but both not deal breakers . Previously had the Samsung 10.1 tablet which i happily passed on to the kids. Now looking forward to Surface Pro if they sort out their stock issues.
  • The Surface can't replace a real computer, but it can certainly replace a laptop if the employee still has a desktop.  Even the RT would be all I need for mobile use IF I could use my company's VPN client on it.  Unfortunately, I can't.  Not yet anyway.  Better VPN support could make the RT a huge success. 
    For personal use my RT has replaced my laptop and already is getting a lot more mobile use than my laptop ever did.  Still need a base PC though. 
  • The Surface RT is clearly intended as a consumer-first, business-second style device. Surface Pro, however, is the business-first, consumer second focus, and it is a remarkable device. I've really enjoyed having it this week for several meetings I've been in. It's just as eye-catching as an iPad, if not moreso.
  • until your tablet is powerful enough to be your desktop. in 5 years I could see a dock that you rest your Windows 10 surface Master in and then it projects your holographic display and your Kinect gesture control for navigation then when people realize that dvorak key boards are more efficient than the typewriter keyboards we use now we can get everything done faster
  • I am holding out for the ASUS Transformer book TX300 or Lenovo yoga 11S
  • I think the surface will overtake the iPad in the future. You can see where Microsoft is going with this product.
  • The iPad is just for apps... I would rather have something that was designed like a desktop more like the surface pro... I would even settle if Apple would put the same type of environment as Windows 8 has... I really think it makes good sense to combine both worlds sort of speak..
  • Despite the mediocre reviews, I for one think the Surface Pro is pretty awesome. I got my 128GB with touch cover a couple of days ago and love it. Nothing's better than running real software and having the ability of using external drives. I heart Microsoft.
  • I've used a year-old samsung windows tablet as my primary machine for a year. It's been great except for games. Visual studio, eclipse, office, etc. all run fine.
  • Any business person with a right mind would get a windows tablet rather than an iPad
  • My hospital recently took over a physician's office where the doctor bought iPads for all of his staff to use for data entry of scheduling and patient information... they said they used it for a week before abandoning the idea, because of how inefficient it was and how poorly it worked out.
    On the other hand, with my Surface Pro, I sat in a meeting yesterday with a PDF blueprint of a construction project imported to OneNote, and I used my pen to mark up the prints for changes and notation on where network drops would go. Everyone was asking me if I needed a paper print, and I said, "nope, I've got it right here... I'll just print it when I'm done if I need to share it."
  • Yep, and we have had the same thing with one of our physicians offices that we support as well. They were thinking iPads for all the MA's, but in the end it just wasn't going to work as well as they thought due to the limitations of the iPad. Instead, we have been holding out for Surface Pro. Of course, the fact that I myself pre-ordered one a while back and still don't have one is frustrating to say the least.
  • To get work done, I would absolutely prefer a tool instead of a toy... ;)