IT: Watch who you're calling a fanboy

With today's release of Windows 8 and RT, we'll soon see if IT's love for Microsoft is based on rational judgment

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Windows RT finally becomes commercially available today in the form of the Microsoft Surface tablet. It dispenses with several "essential" Microsoft technologies, such as domain joins, while adding "dangerous" technologies such as cross-device syncing and cloud storage. Funny: When Apple and Google debuted devices with the same issues, IT tried to bar the door. But because Windows RT comes from Microsoft, the stated fears suddenly don't apply. Just as suddenly, tablets are no longer toys because Microsoft sells its own.

There's a word to describe these IT people: hypocrites.

The hypocrisy extends further, of course. At the recent CITEworld Forum, the audience of IT pros was asked a series of questions about their companies' mobile deployments. Fewer than a quarter required user devices to have passwords -- so much for all the security objections you keep reading about, given that capability is free and built into Exchange. About a third said employees were allowed to bring in their own devices, but more than half of the IT pros admitted that they brought in their own personal devices, in a clear double standard.

Maybe Windows Phone 8 will be a good tool for both users and IT, and maybe Windows RT and Windows 8 can be made acceptable. But IT fanboys have already made up their minds, ironically following the same behavior they sneeringly ascribe to users when they choose something they like instead of what IT wants.

The true IT pros will assess Microsoft's new mobile tools as they become actually available, in the same way they would assess those from Apple, the Android community, or Research in Motion. They'll put aside their own biases and try to support what the users want and need, to the extent that they can do so rationally and cost-effectively -- regardless of the brand names involved.

Now that Windows 8 is finally released, the first Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets are shipping, and the first Windows Phone 8 devices appear to be on the immediate horizon, IT has its chance to come clean about its pervasive Microsoft fanboyism and show it can instead be a fair judge of technology, no matter the source. Only then will users believe IT's concerns and take them into consideration.

Otherwise, it'll become the battle of the fanboys -- a battle IT is destined to lose and in fact is already losing.

This article, "IT: Watch who you're calling a fanboy," was originally published at Read more of Galen Gruman's Smart User blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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