Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy

Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy

Summary: Microsoft realizes that it doesn't dominate computing anymore---especially the mobile world. That reality is running into another key fact: Microsoft applications are everywhere.


Microsoft has launched software for Apple's iPad at a blistering pace of late and there's some consternation about whether these moves are wise.

First, Microsoft realizes that it doesn't dominate computing anymore---especially the mobile world. That reality is running into another key fact: Microsoft applications are everywhere.

In other words, Microsoft's plans to launch iPad versions of OneNote, Lync and SkyDrive, which isn't optimized for Apple's tablet, is just smart business. Simply put, the killer app on a single platform days are over.

Mary Jo Foley noted:

My contacts seem somewhat divided as to the wisdom of Microsoft’s decision to deliver many of its key software and services for non-Windows platforms — and especially for Apple’s platforms. Microsoft is a software vendor, and has shown increasing interest in porting its wares to many of the leading platforms as a way to make money and appease customers who aren’t Microsoft-only shops/households. Some maintain that Microsoft should keep its crown jewels as Windows/Windows Phone-only products to keep users from having yet another reason to defect.

I am in the former camp. I believe the days of killer apps running on a single platform are over, though the Windows team seems intent on trying to revise this business model with Windows 8.

Going forward Microsoft should go crazy on Android too. It should be on every platform that has a lot of users. There are no guarantees that Windows 8 tablets will be a hit. Should Microsoft flop at tablets it'll at least have a presence on the major platforms. If the single platform integration dance works on tablets for Microsoft that's just swell. If that approach fails at least it'll have its bases covered.


Topics: CXO, IT Employment, Tablets, Software, Operating Systems, Mobility, Microsoft, Laptops, iPad, Hardware, Windows

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  • Microsoft and Apple

    Anyone notice that Microsoft and Apple aren't suing each other, at least not in a big way? They appear to be aiming for peaceful coexistence, at least at the present.
    • RE: Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy

      @WebSiteManager Been that way since MS bailed out Apple in the 90's.
      • Bailed, it was a good invest for MS

        They made a grip of money, and buying someones stock doesn't send the money to the company, it goes to the previous stock holder, Doh!
      • RE: Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy

        @GoPower are you so unaware to know that corporations retain a certain amount of their shares so that they can sell them to raise capital. In this case the previous stock holder was Apple.
        John J. Jordan
      • RE: Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy


        It was a good investment for MS but keep in mind if they didn't invest then Apple had a good chance of going bankrupt back in the 90's. I am also pretty certain part of the deal of Microsoft investing all that money into Apple back then was that Steve Jobs got his job back and it was him that brought the company back to life.
      • RE: Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy

        Quote an internet article:
        ...In a remarkable feat of negotiating legerdemain, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs got needed cash ??? in return for non-voting shares ??? and an assurance that Microsoft would support Office for the Mac for five years. Apple agreed to drop a long-running lawsuit in which they alleged Microsoft copied the look and feel of the Mac OS for Windows and to make Internet Explorer the default browser on its computers ??? but not the only choice...

        Bailed out, I do not think so. During that time Apple was flush with cash, but as with many companies they needed even more. One other thing, why do you think Windows looks so much like the Apple GUI?
      • RE: Bailed out, I do not think so.


        You forgot the most important line:

        1997: [b]Microsoft rescues[/b] one-time and future nemesis Apple with a $150 million investment that breathes new life into a [b]struggling[/b] Silicon Alley icon.

        Flush with cash? I don't think so. And this whole Windows copied the MacOS GUI is as false as Samsung Copied the iPad design. Sure they have some similar elements but what GUI OS doesn't. They all have desktops and file systems represented by files and folders but it doesn't meant they copied it. Apple just likes to think it invents and innovates everything when the truth is they borrow, copy, buy, and steal from other companies just like the rest of them.
      • RE: Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy

        @jgoode@... It's been a long while but I thought that the money also came with a cross licensing agreement between them. Can't sue each other easily.

        I may be wrong, I can't find reference, just a memory of those days.
    • RE: Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy

      @WebSiteManager exactly, MS and apple have historically been competitors in the tech industry, not in the court system. so all these apps going in the Apple App Store is not a sign of ANYTHING because it's the same with MS office being on macs.

      Larry Dignan, i think i might have to call you out on FUD, because though microsoft doesn't have huge marketshare in smartphones right now, everyone knows they just made the most modern mobile OS we've seen today. to deny that it deserves more marketshare is wrong
      • Tell that to Apple circa 2001.


        ..sometimes being the "most modern" still isn't much of a difference from the mainstream, and in the perception of users, if mainstream is good enough and it means not having to switch, they'll stick with what they know..

        This was great for Microsoft when the desktop was the be-all and end-all of computing.. In mobile computing, it's going to prove to be an uphill battle..
      • Since when....

        @kidjenius :awesomeness or modernness gives you marketshare....

        Else we all be using BeOS, or UNICOS [the Unix clone on Cray supercomputers] or even OS/2, for that matter, which beat Windows 3.1 on all counts.... except it had no software, it had massive hardware requirements and was severely limited at first on its driver support... sounds familiar...
    • RE: Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy


      Apple and MS are frenemies from way back. They usually figure out the licensing and who owns what behind the scenes.
    • RE: Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy


      "The enemy of my enemy is my friend"
      • The word is *ALLY*, not friend


        There is a world of difference between "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" and "The enemy of my enemy is my ally".

        Friends are forever. Allies are--disposable
    • Well they are and are not direct competitors...

      @WebSiteManager... Yes they compete in terms of OS and Productivity Applications, but on the flip side of that coin, Apple has a Hardware Business, Microsoft not so much. So it really is in both companies interests to work together for mutual gain. It is a real world example where one doesn't have to blow the other into oblivion to be very successful.
    • That ended with cross licensing 15 years ago.


      They reached a multi-billion dollar settlement. Same will happen with Google/Apple. Tim Cook is more pragmatic than S. Jobs and will gladly take Google's money.
    • Office Mac has been around forever

      @WebSiteManager Office is a standalone product. It makes sense for them to go after a healthy market. It has nothing to do with competition at the OS level.
    • Everyone says MS needs to make a tablet or phone.

      but it looks like they're getting back top what really made them as big as they are - software.

      And they all had a coexistence with Apple. For MS it was another platform to make money from, just like iOS is turning out to be.
      William Farrel
    • It's not about the bailout


      Microsoft doesn't have many shares in Apple anymore.

      They both signed cross-licensing agreements long ago though. Apple is still a big Microsoft partner, and vice-versa. Microsoft makes Office for the Apple, and Apple makes media properties available on Windows. There are patent litigation protections fed back and forth between them too, and Microsoft also protects their own partners from patent litigation involving Microsoft's software (unlike Google with Android). Microsoft licenses Apple technologies, and Apple, in turn, licenses a lot from Microsoft. I'm sure there isn't really a monetary value assigned to these exchanges, so long as commitments to support the alternate platform are met and there are no hostilities between the two companies. More and more, this is what Microsoft is looking for: innovation, with patents being the proof and litigation being the security of said innovation. If they innovate and protect their IP, they would expect others to do the same. Exchange of patent licensing is healthy, so long as you don't use someones patented idea without remuneration.

      Here's an example of an exchange that might happen though:

      Company A comes up with idea X and builds it into the core of their product and patents it.
      Company B comes up later with the same idea and attempts to put it into the core of their product.
      Company A can choose to license the idea to Company B, or Company B can innovate their own idea.
      Either way, both companies are doing things legally. If litigation is required because Company A chooses not to license the technology and Company B doesn't want to pay, it may force Company B to come with with idea Y instead.
      Company A and Company B can then cross-license both ideas. No money necessarily needs to be exchange. More choice is available. And consumers win.
    • RE: Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy

      Microsoft dominates desktop/laptop commuting but not mobile: smartphone/tablet computing. So the article is at least half correct.