Microsoft Surface vs. New iPad

A voluminous report from Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), detailing projected tech spending in the enterprise sector, shows that the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad is eating into the parts of private firm’s tech budgets usually reserved for spending on PCs powered by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows software.

Apple’s iPad is already selling at a prestigious rate. It is the firm’s fastest selling new product line ever, and Apple completely dominates the market in an almost monopolistic fashion. A faster than expected entry into the enterprise space could propel the gadget’s sales to gargantuan levels, and usher in a new era of tech use in the workplace.

The Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s campaign to put a computer on every desk in every office took almost twenty years of hard labor before it was achieved by any real estimation. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), constantly looking to out do its old rival, looks set to transform the workspace with its brand of computing in half that time.

A survey was done among 100 “managers with strategic decision making authority” at global 2000 companies. The returns provided ample evidence that Apple is taking a much larger role in the enterprise space, and the iPad is leading the charge.

Managers asked to name the companies which were losing or gaining in their IT spending, named Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the top company in the gains category. That number probably includes a certain amount of Apple’s Mac PC line, but the trend in that product line’s popularity in enterprise suggests a huge turnaround is unlikely.

It is much more likely that firms will be choosing to spend money on tablet computers for use at work. The mobile devices have gained traction in sales and communications roles already. The ease of demonstration on the gadgets is one of the its most attractive attributes for many enterprise users.

The survey, in it’s PC and hardware segment, takes particular interest in the cannibalization of the PC market by Tablets, predominantly from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The Chart below gives an idea of what direction managers believe the devices will head in the next year.

No managers are willing to believe that tablets will fully replace notebooks this year across their organization. There are however a large group that believe they will replace notebooks for some individuals and a large percentage will seek to incorporate the devices alongside the existing notebook format. 23% of companies will support tablets if they are brought in by employees.

These numbers point clearly to a growing trend in tablet adoption. There is an evident movement in large companies toward adoption of the devices. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could be in for quite a windfall if the feelings of these managers result in actual purchases.

There may be a somewhat significant aspirational bias in the answers given by these managers. The iPad is a hallmark of a cutting edge modern workplace. The media portrays all high powered executives using the devices.

In another section of the survey, managers are asked whether they see their IT Spending growing or falling in 2012. 92% of respondents asserted their spending would fall or remain the same in 2012. All managers want their tech budgets to fall, or at the very least remain the same. It now seems that a majority of managers want to see iPads in their workplace as well.

For Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to gain a significant break into the corporate sector, it is not necessary for employees to forgo Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows devices altogether. All that is needed is for procurement managers to delay the purchase of notebook upgrades in favor of adding tablets to the company’s stock.

This trend may be really good news for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). The company is set to launch its first real tablet devices this fall. IT managers may err on the side of familiarity and incorporate Windows devices into the enterprise space faster than iOS devices.

Windows has dominated the PC market for years because of inertia in the corporate space, and the urge to use what’s familiar. Few users want to constantly switch their operating system, so they tend to purchase for use at home, what they already use at work. Apple’s initial success in the corporate space might just lay the framework for Microsoft’s products to garner much more success in the tablet market, than had previously been though possible.

The one thing that can be taken from this report with certainty, is that tablet computers are changing the workplace and will continue to do so. Whether the ultimate winner in the sector is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), or Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), ordinary PC manufacturers are likely to take a larger and larger hit in the coming years.