Desktop Cloud is an Uber, VDI is a Taxi

Author: Amitabh Sinha

Publish on: Oct 5, 2017 8:00:00 AM

We've used the analogy of Uber to describe the simplicity of Workspot solutions in a previous blog, but here's another take on the analogy from a market perspective. Way back in June 2014 Aswath Damodaran, an NYU professor, wrote an article questioning the $17B valuation Uber had just received. Subsequently, in November of 2015, he wrote another article saying that his previous $6B valuation was wrong because he had valued Uber as just another urban car service company. 

What did they miss?

What was it about Uber that Aswath (and others) missed when considering the value of the company? When we think about the success of Uber, do you think it stemmed from them carving out a piece of the existing demand? Or did Uber unlock latent demand?

I believe it's the latter. Uber and Lyft have created scalable services that unlocked hidden demand for all kinds of transportation use cases. Is Mom stuck at work and Joey needs a ride after football practice? Joey uses the Uber account Mom funds and gets home safely. Kids heading out for a house party? Don't take any chances! Ensure they have a safe ride with Lyft. It sure beats having Dad pick you up after the party (kids even benefit from the "cool factor").  Elder parents shouldn't really be driving? Uber is the answer to them maintaining their freedom and becoming too isolated. 

Taxi services are not as accessible for a variety of reasons. There's nothing like a "universal app" you can use, so it takes multiple steps to summon one. And even if you did have an app for that, finite availability of taxi medallions limit the number of taxis on the road - demand has been artificially capped. So go ahead and summon that taxi, but you're going to wait... and wait... and wait. Moreover, there's significant cost, time and complexity involved in becoming a taxi driver, so there just aren't that many of these experts around. The result is that taxis are available in much smaller numbers than required in very large cities, and there are almost no taxis in smaller towns. Traditional taxi services are so unreliable (and sometimes unpleasant) that most people wouldn't even think of addressing the use cases that come so naturally to Uber and Lyft with a taxi. And so the latent demand built up over time as all those use cases went unfulfilled...

In contrast, anyone can become an Uber driver in just a few days. There aren't any artificial limits; they can choose to drive daily or part-time. They can drive on the weekends, or take the weekends off. They can use their own cars, instead of having to buy a taxi. And users of the service enjoy its simplicity and ease of use: no time-consuming phone calls, no need for cash, no tipping hassles, no surly drivers. Plus you know exactly how the service is performing - you can monitor it right on your smartphone. Best of all, the quality and accessability of the Uber service is better and the rides cheaper than the comparable taxi service in most cases.

Legacy VDI is a taxi

You get where I'm headed with this. VDI is a taxi. The first generation of VDI solutions artificially supressed demand. How did this happen? Cost and complexityCustomers that want to deliver VDI to their end users have had to jump through major hoops: They have to buy a lot of capital equipment, hire from a limited, expensive pool of trained VDI  experts, and dedicate 9-18 months to the project to get from here to there. And because of all of this cost and complexity, today VDI only addresses the needs of 4-5% of the 600 million or so business users worldwide. 

Desktop Cloud is an Uber

Workspot Desktop Cloud is an Uber. Now there are services that enable anyone to deliver VDI in a few days at a fraction of the cost: Workspot and Amazon Workspaces. These services are accessible and affordable for just about every company. Just as Uber and Lyft served all those unfulfilled use cases, will cloud PCs similarly unlock latent demand for VDI?


In an industry analyst report we've referenced previously, IT managers reported that they will roll out virtual desktops to 25% of their users and half of them will be delivered using cloud PCs. So cloud PCs are already forecast for 12-15% of business users. That's nearly 2-3 times the size of the existing VDI market.

Could the cloud PC market be even bigger? Will the simplicity, flexibility and reduced cost benefits of cloud PCs drive implementations for use cases previously ignored and for new use cases we haven't even thought of yet? Just as some people underestimated the transformational impact of Uber, are we also miscalculating the potential scope and the importance to business of cloud PCs? I'd love to hear your thoughts; do cloud PCs open up new opportunities in your organization for a better end user computing experience, for more use cases, at a lower cost?

Workspot's insanely simple Desktop Cloud is turnkey and hassle-free. We even bundle Azure to simplify IT management. Download our Desktop Cloud solution brief to learn more.

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