Microsoft: Business and Personal Persona Computers are 80% the Same

Microsoft Sees Little Technological Difference Between Business and Personal Computers

by Anton Shilov
02/22/2013 | 05:55 PM

Positioning of various devices nowadays is completely different. One business-oriented notebook may have a finger-print reader and encryption of storage device, feature a fast microprocessor along with advanced audio sub-system. Another may not sport proper multimedia capabilities at all, but will never fit into a business-oriented category of PCs.


Microsoft Corp., the world’s No. 1 developer of operating system, believes that the actual difference between devices positioned for dissimilar market segments is rather negligible, especially when two high-end products are compared. For example, Asus ZenBook UX and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 are based on similar ultra-low-power Intel platform, but the former is aimed at consumers and small businesses, whereas the latter is designed for business and enterprise clients. Both feature robust multimedia capabilities and both rival Apple MacBook Air, which positioning is unclear in this case.

“They [business PCs and consumer PCs – X-bit labs editor] are not separable. […] E-mail is e-mail, real-time communication is real-time communication, handwriting and phone and these things are the same, and I do not need one for work and one for home. There are some core services that people will want to use in their professional personas as well as their personal personas. […] That tablet that I use to watch movies in my hotel room and to e-mail – is it a consumer device or a business device?” asks Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, in an interview with MIT Technology Review web-site.

The head of the globe’s biggest software developer admits: people want to use the same devices to accomplish both business and personal things. Given performance of today’s mobile PCs and their general-purpose capabilities, almost everything is possible on premium ultra-thin PCs, despite of formal positioning. Two things that can make difference are professional graphics-oriented applications and video games. Otherwise, PCs are 80% the same.

“There are devices and productivity, communications, and entertainment services that we believe in, and the way we take those to market and add value around them is slightly different for the consumer and the enterprise, but at their core they are 80% the same,” concluded Mr. Ballmer.

While it is undeniable that platform-wise different PCs are similar, business-oriented models are usually made of advanced materials and feature at least some capabilities (e.g., anti-spill keyboard, on-site warranty, etc.) that, at least, partially, justify their much higher price. Still, different versions of Windows operating systems are priced on whole different levels as well, only partly because different versions of OS require various kind of support.