Lack of Office for iPad a loser for Microsoft — and for Apple

Today’s must-read comes from Ewan MacLeod of Mobile Industry Review, who asks “Just how damaging is Microsoft’s Office for iPad non-strategy?” Countless business users and consumers still rely on Microsoft Word, Excel and other programs, but — so far, at least — the massive software developer has yet to bring Office to the iPad. And while some third-party apps exist to bridge the gap, too often they simply don’t work well.

Microsoft is losing out on huge revenue opportunities, MacLeod points out: There surely would be strong demand for Office for iPad for a one-time charge of $15 or so, but the company could also multiple subscription options through Office 365. And while Office is still a must-have for many of us, the lack of an iPad version may be encouraging some users to find alternative apps and programs, threatening its ubiquity.

I absolutely agree with MacLeod, but I think Apple suffers here as well. Office (and Office 365) for iPad would spur adoption of iOS in the enterprise, giving Apple a huge boost in a market that remains largely untapped. I know this isn’t an easy issue for Microsoft — the company hopes to push its own Surface, and it reportedly unwilling to pay Apple the standard 30 percent commission on App Store sales — but bringing Office to iOS would be a big win for both companies.

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Colin Gibbs

Colin Gibbs

Mobile Curator Gigaom Network

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2 Comments Subscribers to comment

  1. Bitter irony: Way back, Lotus owned the spreadsheet market and expanded to an ‘office suite’. Then they boycotted Windows and only supported OS2. Result: MS Office wins.

    If MSFT follows the Lotus strategy, Google wins. MSFT loses, Apple is slightly hurt.

    Since both MSFT and GOOG are competing against Apple’s tablet incubemcy in the Enterprise, MSFT should ally with the incumbent.

    1. Wasn’t aware of the Lotus story, Fred — thanks for dropping a little knowledge! And yeah, I didn’t mention the Google angle, but this short-sighted strategy from MSFT could only help it.

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