A Pivotal Time for Microsoft

A Pivotal Time for Microsoft

General Manager at Four J’s Development Tools

Office is the only thing standing between an iPad and another Dell to replace my 4 year old laptop. I am tired of lugging it through airport security when iPad slips in and out of its case so effortlessly. But I’ve got 12 years of legacy Office data (58GB) that I really don’t fancy migrating to iWork.

So I was really pleased when on November 7, 2012, Microsoft let slip that it would release Office for iPhone, iPad and Android in early 2013.


It’s mid-June and after what must have been a lot of internal debate and deliberation, Microsoft has finally made it official. Office is at last available… on iOS only and for iPhone. It’s free of charge if you have an Office 365 subscription ($99/user /year) and if you don’t, well then tough. It runs on iPad of course, but only at a very poor resolution – so don’t expect to use it for PowerPoint presentations. That’s still the reserve of Windows 8 and Surface!

And it’s not *quite* standard Office – you can edit, but it’s really only for viewing rather than true content creation – several editing features are artificially disabled. Who’d want to edit documents on iPhone, I hear you say? No one, probably. That’s why you want it on iPad – and that’s why you can’t have it… yet. Nevertheless, it’s a promising start and the fact that it exists at all is significant.

Microsoft must be waiting for Windows 8 and Surface to take root in the Enterprise before dipping their toes further with Office in mobile. And as they wait, so they leave breathing room for rival startups to blossom:


Better not wait too long.

Windows is in slow, terminal decline as mobile devices become more and more useful. I don’t know when, but that fact is surely going to crop up unceremoniously in some Wall Street quarterly earnings call in the not-too-distant future.

Microsoft needs to grasp the nettle now and use Office in mobile to offset Windows’ inevitable decline – but they can only succeed if they jump in with both feet. That means iPad and Android tablets.

In the meantime, I am digging in. I just repaired the keyboard and the buckled vibrating fan on my trusty Dell laptop. I reckon it’s got a few more quarters’ life left in it. The time needed for Office to appear on iPad.

Maybe Dell should take a leaf from Microsoft’s book and stop selling spare parts for its laptops.

Microsoft on Friday released its Office Mobile 365 app for Apple’s iPhone, allowing users with subscriptions to the productivity suite to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the go.