June 5, 2012

As Google Bets on Mobile Office, Microsoft Waits

Nick Wingfield, on Microsoft's hesitancy at delivering their Office suite of apps for the iPad, in The New York Times' Bits blog:

"If Microsoft couldn’t find compelling enough reasons to release its Office applications for the iPad, Google just gave it one."

Microsoft has sadly missed the boat on iPad.

At heart a software company, Microsoft has to worry about cannabilizing their desktop Office sales as well as competing against their own Windows 8 tablet apps this fall.

In the mean time, Apple has sold millions of iPads and companies like Quickoffice have sold thousands of copies of their Office-like apps for low prices.

Would their customers have bought MS Office for iPad instead? I'd think most would. Would they pay more than they did for Quickoffice? Up to a point, yes. I paid $15 for Quickoffice before they added a PowerPoint-like app, and would probably have paid upwards of $45 for a genuine, guaranteed-compatible Microsoft Office product.

This points to the generational shift from desktop software to mobile, tablet-based apps. Microsoft is hanging on to the last bits of profitability from old-school software today at the expense of a place on customer's mobile devices tomorrow. Google has just given them motivation to change.