The title pretty much sums it up. In a news story from yesterday, CRN is reporting that Apple is working with VMware to use VMware View-based technology to deliver Apple's desktop office suite called "iWork" from the Apple-owned cloud to be an office-as-a-service Microsoft Office killer for iPads.
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If this is true, it's so crazy I don't even know where to begin. So I'll just kind of list them in random order.
First, desktop applications designed for large-screen devices with keyboards and mice used from touch-based tablets without keyboards and mice is a horrible user experience. It doesn't matter how good the remote protocol or the bandwidth is, the apps are just flat-out not designed for that form factor. So you have a lot of panning, zooming, and cursing.
Second, you don't use VDI to "solve" the tablet problem. VDI is all about moving your desktop applications into the datacenter which gives you advantages like access from anywhere, higher availability, and the ability for users to use your desktop on devices they control. While that may seem like a good solution for a tablet, users will hate it and just go download native iOS or Android apps instead of using the remote desktop.
Third, VDI-delivered applications only work when users have an internet connection. People love iPads without connections. I can't imagine Apple getting behind a "solution" for an office suite on the iPad that only works when users are connected.
Fourth, VDI is not exactly known for its great user experience. As soon as the connection gets slow you start getting pixelations and chunky movements and build-to-lossless and stuff. I can't imagine that Apple, with their brand built around high quality experiences, would be okay with this.
Fifth, VMware doesn't have a version of View that works where the datacenter desktops run Mac OS X. And Apple doesn't make servers anymore. So is Apple going to run OS X instances on vSphere for their users? Or are they going to write some kind of app virtualization or use something like Aqua Connect? And why does Apple need VMware here? Wouldn't they just go to Teradici?
Sixth, the article states that Apple wants to do this to compete with rumored upcoming version of Microsoft Office for iOS. But this is crazy because Apple already has a version of iWork for iOS! They already have a competing product! Why would they spend all this time and money and effort to make a product that's worse when the whole point of Microsoft releasing Office for iOS is that people want reduced-feature, touch-based, locally-running apps for their tablets? (And the version of iWork apps on iOS already use iCloud to sync documents with other devices, including desktop versions of iWork.)
Seventh, the article states that Apple wants iWork to replace Office for small businesses. That would mean they'd have to start selling this service to desktop users too. Can you honestly envision Apple selling a crappy (remote) version of iWork to Windows users worldwide? Um, no! Besides, customers already have a cloud-based office suite option that's kind of like Microsoft Office except it doesn't quite have all the features and all the fonts are weird. It's called Google Apps, and it doesn't use VDI.
So to summarize, I hope this is a crazy rumor that some VMware employee told the CRM reporter while drunk one night. High-five for the prank of the year! I cannot possibly envision a scenario where any of this makes sense. Can you?