Why Microsoft for iPad is a Good Idea

Microsoft for iPad


Microsoft has been infamously in the news this week due to its refusal to provide Microsoft Office for iPad users. The company seems bent on forcing consumers to use the Microsoft Surface tablet collection in order to generate sales, but this strategy has not worked so far for the Redmond, Washington company.

On one hand, it is a smart move to make: “if you want to use our software, you must purchase our products.” It is no different with iOS or Android, although a large number of Android apps are being ported to Blackberry so that its users can have an enjoyable mobile experience. Apple does not supply its software onto any OS other than its own. You will never see iOS apps being ported onto Android, Windows, webOS, Mozilla FireFox, or any other. To use Apple apps, you must purchase an iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone.

This strategy has worked for Apple tremendously; it has not done as well for Microsoft. The first Microsoft Surface tablet, the Surface RT, went on sale October 26, 2012. It did not do well in its first weekend and week, and sales have been in decline ever since. This has not stopped Microsoft from releasing its Surface Pro tablets (64GB and 128GB), tablets that are expected to do better for Microsoft than its RT line — considering that Surface Pro provides the full Windows 8 experience as compared to its RT brothers.

With all of the lack of success on the part of Microsoft, you would think that the company would not be so stingy in its refusal to share its software with those on iOS or Android. So many MacBook users tend to use Microsoft Office software. As a student, I purchased Microsoft Office 2011 for my MacBook, a separate purchase that required an additional $100 or so, on top of my 2011 MacBook Pro and four-year warranty (which totaled approximately $2300). Like so many other students, I have come to rely on Microsoft Office for Powerpoint, Word, and Excel. I noticed yesterday that, after picking up my ClamCase Pro Bluetooth Keyboard Cover, I did not have a decent Word processor to download onto my iPad. While there are some processor apps, they do not provide footnotes, references, bibliography features, and so on — important aspects of the student experience.

Microsoft’s reasoning is that, if it forces the hands of customers, it will win; unfortunately, what it will do is force many individuals instead to turn to other tablets with other word processors (or stick with the Apple iPad and use other apps). Apple has decided these days to go at Microsoft with its 128GB, fourth-generation iPad. Still, it must be said that Steve Jobs did promote the “post PC” era — and that, coupled with the fierce competition between Microsoft and Apple, may explain Microsoft’s desire to keep its premier products under the Microsoft name and shelter. At some point, when the money is in decline and Microsoft realizes the amount it’s losing to stubbornness, Redmond will give in to Cupertino. Just you wait and see.


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  1. It’s not that Microsoft is helping Apple; Apple needs no such help. Are you aware that, even with Apple’s recent stock slump, the company is still doing better financially than Microsoft? The financials, in and of themselves, testify to the company that is in the worst financial straits at this point in time; and Apple is not the one left hanging out to dry — Microsoft is.

    Microsoft would be helping itself by trying to forge a greater respect for Apple. I am all for Bill Gates paying respects to Steve Jobs and calling him a great man, but we’re talking about a company here that cannot survive on its own. Google wants to get rid of Microsoft and its user access to Google services, and Apple is currently going head to head against the company. Does Microsoft not know the financial reach of Apple? This is a company that has $137 billion in the bank and can produce its own word processor if it wants to. This is not a wise financial move for Microsoft. All the company has to sell right now is its own software (apart from the Surface tablets); if consumers start to reject the software for its inaccessibility, where will Microsoft turn to make the billions it once had? If the company burns bridges it needs to survive, it cannot turn around, go back, and rebuild those same bridges. Once they’re burned, they’re gone.

  2. J. Baldwin, thanks so much for commenting here at thedroidguy.

    I think that Microsoft wants to think like a winner in order to grab sales; and I also know that this strategy has worked with so many other top companies — as I have said in the article.

    At the same time, it has not worked well for Microsoft, and Apple and Google’s new tech products (add Samsung as well) are only going to complicate Microsoft’s competitive strategy as the year wears on.

    If a company is not doing as well and is in the same position as Microsoft, and does not scoop down to take the billions it could make from those who purchase other devices, is this a smart business strategy? Not when you’re dying to improve in the mobile tablet arena. Microsoft is looking to compete, but it is isolating itself from the other top companies who do not mind to share the best of what they have with consumers on alternative OSes. Take Google for example: it has produced a new YouTube app as well as a new Google Maps application for iOS, despite the fact that Apple wanted to do away with these things. In the end, the company had to admit that it needed Google — and Google produced these apps because it needs Apple’s consumer base. The mark of a smart company can be found in how well it is willing to go outside of its comfort zone to reach other consumers who may know little to nothing about the product.

    Microsoft does not have to produce Microsoft Office for iPad, but, pretty soon, consumers such as myself will see that there are other viable alternatives — and then, Microsoft will be financially out on a limb and need the billions it threw away in a stubborn mood. While I applaud the company for its resolve, it seems rather unwise in the current financial situation for the company to do such a thing. Microsoft will not win; rather, it will lose — and then, it will only have itself to blame.

  3. ms only shipped Office for Mac to keep the DOJ away and make apple seem like a legitimate alternative to the windows monopoly.

    no such dynamic exists with tablets. pretty simple actually.

    ms is playing the long game that processors will improve to the point where a computer can be as thin as a tablet. surface is halfway there. apple has no such plans; why should ms help them?

  4. I think Micorsoft’s refusal makes a lot of sense considering their broader strategy. Surface wasn’t a make or break item that had to sell well, it was designed to test the water and give them a profile and foothold in the market for future products. They already have several new models in the production line designed to cater for specific markets. In addition to this, the surface has made people (both OEMs and consumers) aware the windows 8 is a viable tablet OS, so when you complain that ‘what it will do is force many individuals instead to turn to other tablets’ that is exactly what microsoft wants, they want the OEMs to step up their game and start offering windows 8 and office so that Microsoft can do what they do best and sell software. Apple and adroid lose, they win. Giving their competetors office would basically kill them as it is their only tool in the tablet market.

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