Big winner with Office for iPad and Android delay: Google

Big winner with Office for iPad and Android delay: Google

Summary: Microsoft is reportedly delaying a launch of Office for the iPad and Android to late next year. That may be too late with Google poised to take Office customers.

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Microsoft Office has long been expected on the iPad and Android tablets, even though the company in Redmond, Washington, has never confirmed that it's coming. But those two mobile markets are too large to ignore, and analysts have predicted that Microsoft is losing billions of dollars each year without a version of Office for them. Now comes word that this new version of Office is coming, but won't appear for over a year. That very well may be too late for the bunch in Redmond.

Quickoffice spreadsheet
Quickoffice
(Image: Google)

My colleague Zack Whittaker believes Google Docs will take some of these customers away, but that's not the biggest threat to Microsoft. The longer Microsoft neglects to release the iOS and Android versions of Office, a greater number of customers owning iPads and other tablets will discover competing Office-compatible apps for those platforms. Having used many of these suites for years, it is clear they are robust enough to fill the need for Office for many owners.

It hasn't been stated but don't be surprised when Google releases the latest version of Quickoffice for the iPad, Android tablets, and all chromebooks to compete directly with Microsoft Office.

There is an even bigger threat to Microsoft in the mobile Office market that is already sneaking in to steal customers lacking real Office. That threat is Google, and not with Google Docs, as Whittaker believes. No, the real threat that Google will throw at Microsoft is Quickoffice.

Quickoffice has been a top Office-compatible suite on both Android and iOS for years, a viable alternative to Office. It is so good that Google bought the company (and thus the product) last year.

Google hasn't been sitting on Quickoffice, either. It has already produced new versions of the office suite for the iPad and Android that are free for paid Google Apps customers. Google has stated that it will integrate Quickoffice into the premium Chromebook Pixel laptop. In other words, the company is positioning Quickoffice as a full-featured business alternative for Microsoft Office on three different platforms.

The free version of Quickoffice released by Google is not the only one. Quickoffice Pro, the latest paid version, is available for both iOS and Android for $19.99 each.

It hasn't been stated, but don't be surprised when Google releases a new version of Quickoffice for the iPad, Android tablets, and all chromebooks. This version may not be free, but it's almost a given that it will be cheaper than Microsoft will price Office to remain profitable. This will put a quality office suite that competes with (and is compatible with files produced by) Microsoft Office on the huge iPad and Android markets. It won't be as complete an office suite as that from Microsoft, but it will be good enough for a large portion of that market.

This delay of getting Office to competing mobile platforms will end up biting Microsoft where it hurts. The pit bull (Google) doing the biting has executed a master plan with Quickoffice, and it will be significant. It will change the street definition of Scroogled when Google hits Microsoft's profitable Office business.

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Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, iPad, Microsoft

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42 comments
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  • Not really

    As long as businesses outright require potential employees to be proficient in Office, QuickOffice isn't a serious competitor. Much like how I'm sure no one likes paying hundreds of dollars for Photoshop, putting GIMP in your résumé is suicide.

    I've always maintained that alternative solutions are great if your working but yourself, but are too risky when working with others. The nightmare scenario is sending over a malformed document your boss needs and he/she finding out it won't open in a room full of people. Doesn't make for a fun day.
    Jeff Kibuule
    • Been there, done that...

      I've worked at companies that used Open Office and, all the time the documents went out as PDF or in print form, everything was fine. As soon as you needed to colaborate with others, the whole thing went to pieces.

      There is office compatibility and there is Office compatibility. Even the big names haven't managed the latter, yet... For simple documents, like a letter to the bank manager, any office suite will do. If you need to stick to corporate style guides, or you have documents with mark-up, ToC, CoT, ToF etc. and extensive use of styles, then the whole thing is going to be a mess.

      The biggest nightmare we had, was when a customer came in with his process flows in PowerPoint format and our conference room PC only had OO.o on it. The lines in the process flow were pointing to the wrong boxes, the text no longer fitted in the boxes, the boxes had moved... No animation, no flashy effects, just a total inability of OO.o to actually cleanly load and display the presentation!
      wright_is
      • Also...

        What I also wanted to say is, this scenario (my above post) is exactly what Microsoft need to avoid, when they release iOS and Android versions of Office. If they do the same sort of formatting devastation that other office suites do to Office documents, it won't help Microsoft in the slightest, in fact it would be worse than delaying the release until it worked properly.

        Should MS release Office for iOS and Android as quickly as possible? Yes

        Should they release it sooner, even if it means that it screws up documents? NO!
        wright_is
        • With libre/open office you have more problems

          You spend a lot of time formatting a document, and when you re-open it, all the formatting you did is now all screwed up. Not only there is ZERO guarantee that document will open looking the same when going from one machine to other, there is no guarantee that it will look the same on the same computer and software version you used to write the document.
          wackoae
      • one has to ask

        Few questions, about you handling this issue professionally:

        1. There are free PowerPoint viewers. You don't need to *edit* the presentation you display, correct?

        2. That "customer" might just save the presentation as PDF and you use that for the presentation. Works exactly the same for presentations and is guaranteed to show what was intended. Of course, doesn't show any animations :)

        By the way, you could have had the same problem, if the presentation was made in one version of PowerPoint and played in different.
        danbi
    • Yes really

      Businesses used to only support Blackberry... and Internet Explorer... and (before IE) Netscape Navigator... and IBM computers... and Lotus 123.

      Monopolies on business use can and do fall. In many emerging countries outside the US Microsoft has already lost. Free Google Drive beats expensive Microsoft Office every time in countries with nascent computer industries. Chrome OS is outselling Windows 8 globally for the same reasons. Yes, Windows and Office have inertia on their side in countries where they have been used for decades... but as the rest of the world adopts cheaper alternatives (mostly from Google) that gives Google more leverage and allows them to improve those tools.

      If Google integrates OpenOffice type functionality into its existing Google Drive applications there is a very real possibility of Microsoft Office falling by the wayside even in the countries where it has long been entrenched. Most people don't realize that OpenOffice can seamlessly handle 99.9% of the Office files out there with no apparent difference to the user. If that knowledge begins to spread, more and more companies will ditch MS Office to save money... and if Microsoft loses their monopoly on Office software, the Windows OS won't be far behind.
      CBDunkerson
      • Too expensive...

        With prices starting at $400, here in Germany, the Chrombook is too expensive, I can get a more powerful Windows notebook for the same money!
        wright_is
        • Hardware is not the cost, it's support

          While you can get a Windows notebook at a lower cost, it will not be less expensive. Chromebooks are a whole package. They are essentially no maintenance which saves you time and corporate support expenses. If the data is always backed up. Patches are automatically applied. The cost of a person to support a machine is expensive and thus even if you can get a $250 Windows notebook, it may be more expensive for the life of the device than a Chromebook with the added labor support costs. Consider the full lifecycle of costs.
          DupontDCSteve
        • There is a $129 Chromebook now available

          $400 is crazy. Here in the US you can buy a Chromebook for $129
          tjordanchat
          • Samsung ARM Chromebool

            is around $445 on Amazon at the moment.
            wright_is
          • $249 the last time I checked.

            However if demand is high the price may go up as it did in the past.
            Mah
          • Chromebooks in Europe

            Indeed, in Europe Chromebooks are not very cheap, as are many other computer things (mostly, the non-mainstream stuff) -- these are notably cheaper in the US.

            Amazon sells it for 299 EUR, which includes 20% VAT -- the US price does not include VAT which you will have to add, plus transport. (the Acer one is cheaper)

            For reference, the Microsoft Surface RT 32GB without Touch Cover, sells for 529 EUR. The same thing with Touch Cover sells for 714 EUR.
            danbi
    • not so quick

      I run a business (not one) and purposely don't use Microsoft Office. Exactly for the reason you outline: I need compatibility. So I have standardised on OpenOffice -- it does any task I throw at it and runs on a number of different platforms, including Windows. I get full compatibility in my business -- something which I could not get by using MS Office on Windows and something else elsewhere. See? Same reasons, different output (no Microsoft Office).

      As for the argument, that someone else might need to be compatible with my documents and they use MS Office. I have two answers for this:

      1. OpenOffice is absolutely free, licensed for both personal and business use, so if someone needs 100% compatibility to *edit* my documents, they just install OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) and stop whining. No excuses. No licenses. No costs.

      2. Any document that is official and is being published by my business(es) is *only* available in an strict-layout format, such as PDF. I don't "publish" documents in DOC or ODT formats. This ensures the document that others see is formatted exactly as intended and (because I also sign these digitally), whoever receives it can be confident they see exactly what is intended as content too.

      Your boss is not supposed to open anything before public, but finished formatted document, for example PDF. Don't tell me your boss needs to edit that document before a room full of people. One day your boss will eventually learn and you might be looking for a new job.

      These are the concerns an business has. Everything else is either a fanboyism or someone seriously deluded you.
      danbi
    • not so quick

      I run a business (not one) and purposely don't use Microsoft Office. Exactly for the reason you outline: I need compatibility. So I have standardised on OpenOffice -- it does any task I throw at it and runs on a number of different platforms, including Windows. I get full compatibility in my business -- something which I could not get by using MS Office on Windows and something else elsewhere. See? Same reasons, different output (no Microsoft Office).

      As for the argument, that someone else might need to be compatible with my documents and they use MS Office. I have two answers for this:

      1. OpenOffice is absolutely free, licensed for both personal and business use, so if someone needs 100% compatibility to *edit* my documents, they just install OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) and stop whining. No excuses. No licenses. No costs.

      2. Any document that is official and is being published by my business(es) is *only* available in an strict-layout format, such as PDF. I don't "publish" documents in DOC or ODT formats. This ensures the document that others see is formatted exactly as intended and (because I also sign these digitally), whoever receives it can be confident they see exactly what is intended as content too.

      Your boss is not supposed to open anything before public, but finished formatted document, for example PDF. Don't tell me your boss needs to edit that document before a room full of people. One day your boss will eventually learn and you might be looking for a new job.

      These are the concerns an business has. Everything else is either a fanboyism or someone seriously deluded you.
      danbi
  • I can see it now

    Entire organisations migrating away from Office to QuickOffice just so they can use their iPads with QuickOffice. Wow Mr.kendrick your brilliance amazes me, you are a genius.
    Xenon8
    • close-minded troll at it's best.

      Its not about migrating away from office.

      It's about employes with iphone and ipad who want to open office documents RIGHT NOW, not next year. Most word and excel documents will open just fine with quick office. We are keeping Office on our desktop and laptops (at least right now) but all our mobile devices are now running quick office pro. It's not perfect, but people are getting used to it and we probably won't buy office for ipad/android.
      Jean-Pierre-
      • By the way

        iPhone and iPad open Office documents without any additional software installed.

        You need specific software in order to edit those documents. But the viewers are built-in.
        danbi
    • No, it is about Google Docs on Windows, Macbooks, and Chromebooks and....

      ....QuickOffice on iPad, iPhone, and Android tablets and phones.

      Office users will use it with Google Docs, and casual/home/consumers will use it with everything.
      Mah
    • yes, but not because of the iPad

      Many move to OpenOffice, for the simple reason Microsoft Office does not run on anything but Windows and OS X. Many moved years before the iPad came around.

      If you need an office suite on the iPad, Apple's iWork is still the best choice. (unless you have specific requirements in which it doesn't fit)

      If you take your head out of the sand, you might eventually understand why.
      danbi
  • Why

    Using a tablet for content creation is retarded. If I have to type more than a two line email then I am heading straight for a computer with a keyboard and a mouse. We bought Pages for my wife's Ipad. Not sure what I expected, but the experience of word processing on a tablet is horrid. The problem is not the software it's the touch interface. It is not suited for Word. I can't imagine Excel. Are you going to create databases on your tablet :)... hmm let me resize this control. That should be fun
    alderran