Posted by David Court 31 March 2014
Office on iPad: Is Apple or Microsoft the real winner here?
I work in a publishing house that focuses solely on technology, and what is very apparent is that there is normally one story a day that grabs everyone’s attention. This morning, when I sat down with my coffee and Sainsbury’s value Shredded Wheat (tragic, I know), the chaps who made it in before me were discussing the implications of Microsoft’s decision to launch Office for iPad. The consensus was that this is an admission of the failure of the Surface.
Well, I see it differently. The Surface RT is dead yes, that’s a pointless tablet anyway, but there’s still life in the old Surface Pro dog yet.
I happen to own a Surface Pro and I love it, apart from its broken kickstand (which I have the guy who slammed his chair back in to the recline position on flight number BA 275 to thank for) it’s great. It’s pretty much the size of a normal tablet, and it does all of the things a laptop does. In my opinion that makes it the best tablet (or hybrid) that money can buy. The problem is that it's not Apple, and so it's not cool, which means the average man on the street doesn't want it.
The decision to release Office as an app for the rest of the mobile market doesn’t really change much in my opinion. If you're looking for a 10-inch device to do work on, then the Surface is peerless. Therefore, bringing Office to iPad and Android should be seen as a brave and positive move.
What is does for Microsoft is bring its mobile interface to millions of new users and therefor semi-familiarizes the market with the Windows 8 mobile interface.
It should therefore be seen as a marketing masterstroke, as up until now, users have been somewhat scared and confused of the Windows 8 mobile interface. Now in one fell swoop, Microsoft will have the majority of the iOS and Android market coming to terms with its “confusing” interface on a daily basis via it’s Office suit.
The fact that users can only view documents in the free version and will have to pay a not insignificant monthly fee to unlock the full set of editing features, makes todays announcement the perfect crime.
Office for iPad be the catalyst to Microsoft’s mobile future in the same way be the iPod for was for Apple. Satya Nadella will be hoping so.