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VMware, BYOD, and the time Steve Jobs compared CIOs to an orifice

InfrastructureSecurity & Privacy

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to reporters in Toronto.

TORONTO – Ask VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger about the bring your own device (BYOD) trend in enterprise IT and he’ll tell you it’s still on the uptrend. Unsurprising; his company has a lot invested in helping businesses enable secure BYOD policies. But he also has a Steve Jobs anecdote to share.

“We’re still on the uptrend of BYOD, and unquestionably that trend is continuing. It will plateau at some point but we’re probably a couple years away from that point,” said Gelsinger. “For a lot of firms, the management tools weren’t in place, and in many cases that was the problem.”

And that’s what brings Gelsinger, who was in Toronto Wednesday for meetings with Canadian customers and partners, around to late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In 2008, Intel won Apple’s microprocessor business, and at the time Gelsinger was senior vice-president and general manager of the digital enterprise group for Intel.

“I went with (former Intel CEO Paul) Otellini to meet with Jobs and his lieutenants. We go into this meeting and say Steve, let’s work together to make your Macs better for enterprise customers. Jobs looks at us and says ‘why would I do anything for that orifice called the CIO?’” said Gelsinger. “At Intel we’re aghast; two-thirds of our business is that orifice called the CIO. He went on to say ‘I’m going to build devices that are irresistible for consumers, and CIOs will just have to deal with it.”

While Apple makes great devices, Gelsinger said it had no interest in security for the enterprise, and in many ways it’s what has been holding back wider adoption of BYOD. It has led vendors such as VMware to develop solutions that can allow users to choose their own device in a corporate environment while still respecting enterprise security requirements, through virtual desktops, secure wrapping of applications, and other tools. VMware’s acquisition of AirWatch was aimed at addressing this issue.

With new secure solutions for BYOD being developed, Gelsinger said companies that were saying no to BYOD before are taking a second look.

“A large per cent of companies have said I don’t care if a Mac or a PC or an Android guy walks in, I want them to be productive in my workplace and not force them onto my toolset,” said Gelsinger. “It will be broad and penetrate across the industry, but will not be near 100 per cent of businesses.”

In product news on Wednesday, VMware launched VMware Horizon 6, which the vendor calls an integrated solution that delivers published applications and desktops on a single platform. If offers centralized management of enterprise applications desktops, including physical desktops and laptops, virtual desktops and applications and employee-owned PCs.

New features in Horizon 6 include a single platform for delivering applications and virtual desktops, a unified workspace for simplified access, storage optimization with VMware Virtual SAN, closed loop management and automation, central image management and hybrid cloud delivery.

The solution will be available this quarter, with pricing per named user or per concurrent user starting at US$250.