Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

Summary: There's enough yapping to figure out that Office for the iPad in some form is inevitable. The move is long overdue.

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Microsoft is reportedly prepping Office for use on Apple's iPad and the move makes a lot of sense. And if Microsoft really wants to make sense an Android version of Office won't be too hard to find.

The Daily reports that Office is coming to the iPad shortly. Mary Jo Foley has noted these rumblings before and has some more informed speculation. There's enough yapping to figure out that Office for the iPad in some form is inevitable.

Why is Office for rival tablet makers so important? In the end, Office is one of Microsoft's biggest cash cows. The world is going mobile. Tablets may outstrip PCs in terms of units. And Microsoft can't just play the Windows-Office game in the mobile world because it doesn't have the market share.

Bottom line: Waiting to push Office on Windows 8 devices only just doesn't make sense.

Foley's money paragraph:

Microsoft management doesn’t see things with Windows-colored glasses only any more. The Microsoft Business Division — home to Office — makes more money than Windows client does. And that unit has been dabbling with porting Office apps to non-Microsoft platforms for a while now.

In addition, document viewers on tablets are decent, but a real Office would be better.

You can flip a coin and guess whether Microsoft is playing offense or defense with its Office for the iPad move. Here's a look at the arguments:

  • Offense: Microsoft launches Office on the iPad and it becomes a bestselling app overnight (it will). This move gets folks on the iPad used to Microsoft's Metro design. Maybe Office on the iPad seeds the market for Windows 8.
  • Defense: Microsoft realizes that the iPad has won the enterprise with a combination of corporate buying as well as consumerization. The enterprise runs on Office day to day. If Microsoft wants to keep its corporate beachhead it has to get to Apple's platform.

Whatever Microsoft's motives may be Office for the iPad is an idea that's way overdue. There's just too much money at stake even if Microsoft has to hand Apple a cut of revenue for App Store distribution.

Topics: Software, Collaboration, iPad, Microsoft, Mobility

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38 comments
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  • It's silly to put killer apps on rival's platform

    even if you can get big money.
    UseYourHead
    • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

      @UseYourHead Why is the iPad a rival? Microsoft is in the software business. It creates software. iPad is a platform upon which they can run their software. There are millions and millions of people using the iPad platform.
      strat@...
    • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

      @UseYourHead

      Office being exclusive to "Windows" won't kill, be a threat to or even slow down the momentum of iPad and other "post-pc" devices. This is a necessary move if true to keep the Office brand relevant on these new platforms.
      dave95.
      • Agree

        @dave95. In fact, not having the software on the iPad will probably push people AWAY from Office. And that will slowly cascade into the desktop ... specially if corporations invest on using "post-pc" devices to manage many jobs. They will change platforms just to support integration with the "post-pc" devices.
        wackoae
    • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

      @UseYourHead
      There is a difference between big money, and Microsoft big money. How many billion dollar businesse are their in the iPad app store? my guess is none. For MS this is not about if they can make a few million selling Office (and give 30% of that to apple). It is how do they compete in the post PC world. I agree they should not launch on the IPad for at least a couple of years, maybe ever. As fast as the perception of the tablet world is moving, enterprises will not abondon them in the next 8 months, and then they will have launched Win 8. While in general enterprise uptake will be slow, you will see some cool, win8 tablet/laptop convertables in the enterprise immediatly. Office on dockable arm tablets will be a big advantage over iPad in the enterprise.
      nanderto
  • RE: The move is long overdue.

    Agreed. This move by Microsoft with Office for the iPad should have happened once it was clear that the iPad was a hit in the enterprise.

    With regard to Android-based tablets, they have yet to be a hit in the enterprise as the iPad has been. However, if/when Amazon releases a 10-inch form-factor tablet later this year, it might be time for Office for Android as a substantially-cheaper 10-inch tablet will likely be a big hit with consumers, including students and teachers, as well as small businesses. A 10-inch tablet will also be superior for reading eTextbooks than the 7-inch Fire.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

      @Rabid Howler Monkey
      I disagree, MS may afford to lose some Office revenue , but it cannot afford to lose the platform of the future. If Windows 8 cannot succeed in tablet market, I don't think MS is relevant in the future.
      UseYourHead
      • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

        @UseYourHead why not hedge the bets with a relevant platform (Office) on a relevant platform (iOS) instead of gambling to see if a) iWork will catch on with iPad users making them want Macs that run iWork or b) someone else makes a decent office killer on the platform and cross-over to Windows... or people move to Google docs and apps because nobody acted to pre-empt it.
        strat@...
      • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

        @UseYourHead

        I disagree with you. I think this is a good thing. The will make Office for the iPad just like they do for MacOS because there is a demand for it. People have asked for it and Microsoft is responding. It also shows that Microsoft is at least willing to develop it's technologies for other platforms which is something Apple almost never does outside of things like iTunes/Quicktime and Safari. Microsoft realizes that locking technologies to their own may sound good on paper but would spell out ultimate death in the long term. Microsoft is a software company after all as their first priority so making software for the platforms people use is good business.
        bobiroc
      • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

        @UseYourHead
        How many people do you know that buy a computing device because of office? In my experience, none! Office has never been bundled with Windows PCs, and they both sold extreemly well. This is a win for Microsoft, a win for Apple, and soon a win for Android. What is wrong with that?
        eargasm
  • It's silly to put killer apps on rival's platform

    even if you can get big money. Office may be only reason people choose WOA tablet over iPad considering the fact Metro apps are bound to be far and few between as devleopers have to learn XAML and WinRT (.NET is too bloated to run on WOA). Now MS nullify its advantage and WOA may be DOA if there is no selling point. Bill Gates, please come back to save MS.
    UseYourHead
    • Gimme yer dough

      @UseYourHead
      It's no sillier than accepting a money royalty for patents used on an Android device, when you could just prevent the device from being sold at all. If Android phones were banned, Windows Phone would surely do better.
      Robert Hahn
      • RE: Money for Patents vs. banning the device

        @Robert Hahn

        So you think Microsoft should have just put in a motion to ban every Android device for patent violation? Wow you really do think like Apple.
        bobiroc
    • Leaping ahead

      @bobiroc
      I think you"re reading a lot more into that than I wrote. I advocated nothing. I merely pointed out that selling Office on iPads, and charging royalties on Androids, are revenue-generating activities that have as a side effect helping the sale of non-Windows devices.

      The previous poster advocated not selling Office on iPads because it might detract from the sale of Win 8 tablets. Presumably he would also object to allowing Android tablets, since they too might detract from the sale of Windows tablets. My position, already expressed elsewhere, is that Microsoft should make money any way they can.
      Robert Hahn
      • RE: helping the sale of non-Windows devices

        @Robert Hahn

        Well I guess that is a risk that Microsoft has to make. They have made it no secret that they are about getting brand recognition out there and they realize that not everybody is going to choose a Windows platform to do their work but want to have access to software that Microsoft offers to do their work and MS Office is a powerful suite that many people prefer to use. They also want their other services offered through their "Live" services which is why they offer apps and ways to let people use those services on many platforms. Maybe Microsoft is just willing to work with their competition instead of trying to kill them off. Everybody wants choice and Microsoft is delivering just that and I, for one, do not see it as a sign of weakness. There is no reason to cause artificial lock in which I think is something Apple likes to do quite often.
        bobiroc
      • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

        @Robert Hahn I usually find your comments on multiple tech sites to be trollish, if that's a word, but I have to agree with your last sentence in this post. So, I guess you're not entirely a troll..
        xplorer1959
  • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

    It only makes sense given MS has provided Office for the Mac for years. Apples platform changed is the only real difference, its still money in the bank. As to Office on Android, read my lips, Never going to happen! Heck, which flavor of the week "Android" would they even write it for???
    NoAxToGrind
  • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

    How can it be long overdue? Tablets are like a year old and you expected Microsoft to port their code overnight? You are making this article sound like the only place you could get Office was on Microsoft Windows and its somehow a surprise to see on another platform even though its been available for Mac for years. Microsoft should keep Office restricted until the Windows 8 tablets and WP devices can run it. Then release simultaneously for Windows and iPad. Either way Microsoft still makes bank from its product on both OS's.

    You won't see Microsoft for android. That just won't happen and would go against Microsoft's beliefs.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

      @Loverock Davidson- wrote:
      [i]You won't see Microsoft for android. That just won't happen and would go against Microsoft's beliefs.[/i]

      At the moment, Microsoft is making a lot more money from the Android platform than they are WP7. While Apple would like to bury Android, Microsoft is content to take a cut.

      Microsoft's Office franchise is just too valuable to risk on platform issues.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Microsoft Office for iPad: Smart way to defend the franchise

      @Loverock Davidson- Office for iPad is coming, and i see this as an admission of defeat by Ballmer.

      iPad has won before Windows 8 even comes out.
      SamWilkinson