Almost half of IT managers in a survey last month said that they plan to standardise their company's mobile platform on devices running Microsoft operating systems, including smartphone OSes Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 and tablet OS Windows RT, according to ThinkEquity, a research and institutional investment banking services firm.
Some 48% of respondents said they would choose Microsoft technology as their corporate mobile standard, up from 44% in a similar survey three months before, according to a research note from ThinkEquity financial analyst Yun Kim. Google's Android OS dropped to 8% from 11%, while Apple's iOS grew from 10% to 14%.
The survey polled 100 US-based IT managers, including CIOs, technology vice presidents and IT directors, from a variety of industries. More than 75% of the respondents worked for companies with more than 500 employees.
A big factor behind Microsoft's strong showing is the "strength and longevity" of its Office productivity suite. "With this continued confirmation of this surprising finding six months ago, we have increasing confidence that Microsoft is well positioned to leverage its Office franchise to perhaps continue to dominate the corporate PC environment as the platform shifts from desktop/laptop to mobile device," Kim said.
In addition, strengthening its enterprise position could help Microsoft improve its chances in the mobile consumer market, according to Kim.
Microsoft OSes have only a small share of the smartphone and tablet markets, trailing Google's Android and Apple's iOS. Microsoft hopes to improve its position with the upcoming releases of Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and Windows RT, the latter being the Windows 8 version for tablets based on ARM chips.
Windows Phone 8 will be closely aligned at a technical level with Windows 8 in a way that earlier Microsoft phone platforms have not been with other Windows OSes. Both operating systems are expected to ship at the end of this month.
Windows 8 and its Windows RT version feature a redesigned user interface - formerly called Metro - that has been optimised for tablet devices. Microsoft even plans to market its own Windows Surface tablet.
In PCs, ThinkEquity's survey also found that 37% of respondents have completed their Windows 7 deployments, while 45% are rolling it out, and 17% are still in an evaluation or piloting phase. More than 82% said they haven't altered their Windows 7 implementation plans as a result of the imminent launch of Windows 8.