Microsoft covers its mobile Office bases with Android, buys time

Summary:In the end, Microsoft Office Mobile for Android and iPhone are nice hedges should Windows Phone and Windows 8 fail to garner significant mobile share.

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Microsoft's launch of Office Mobile for Android just a few weeks after the iPhone version illustrate how the software giant is gradually coming around to the reality that it may not be the big dog on post-PC platforms.

In the end, Microsoft Office Mobile for Android and iPhone are nice hedges should Windows Phone and Windows 8 fail to garner significant mobile share. Mary Jo Foley noted that Microsoft has a roadmap for stronger core Office apps for Android, iPhone and iPad, but appears to be giving those products some time possibly for the Windows mobile ecosystem to develop further. 

The Android and iPhone versions of Office are tethered to an Office 365 account and optimized for Word, Excel and PowerPoint editing. Selling Office outright on those platforms would be a better move.

But here's the catch. Microsoft wants the best Office experience on its mobile platforms, but needs more share. If Microsoft's mobile efforts on smartphones and tablets fail to develop garnering Office 365 subscriptions isn't a bad consolation prize.

What will be interesting to watch is the adoption of Office Mobile for Android and iPhone. Will Microsoft garner new cloud Office subscriptions or largely cater to existing customers?

Bottom line: Microsoft is a software vendor and can still make gobs of money with Office on any platform. The best bet for Microsoft is to spread its bets around.

Topics: Collaboration, Android, Microsoft, Mobility

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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