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Should Microsoft Put Office On the iPad?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the in-addition-to-the-tens-of-windows-tablets-out-there dept.

Microsoft 402

theodp writes "Microsoft is working on a touch-friendly version of Office for Windows 8, writes GeekWire's Todd Bishop. But what about Microsoft Office on the iPad? 'The decision,' Bishop says, 'will say a lot about Microsoft's priorities in this new era. The company can give Windows 8 a boost if it makes Office exclusive to Windows-based tablets. But that's also a risk. The iPad's momentum not only in the home but in the workplace opens the door for Office alternatives to take hold on the Apple tablet, posing a challenge to Microsoft Office.' Over at Minimal Mac, Patrick Rhone feels Microsoft has bigger problems than the lack of Office apps for iOS and Android. 'Like the curtain finally falling from the Wizard of Oz to find just a small, frail, man pretending to be far more powerful and relevant than he really was,' writes Rhone, 'Microsoft's biggest miss was allowing the world to finally see the truth behind the big lie — they were not needed to get real work done. Or anything done, really. And that will be what ultimately kills them.' Perhaps, but BusinessInsider — which finds it just can't quit Excel — also makes a case for why Microsoft should put Office on every platform. Speaking of the future of Office, did you ever notice how people use MS-Word to convince people to use Google Docs?"

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402 comments

Yay! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39091941)

It's still Nigger History Month!

Celebrate the long, interesting history of a slave race that never invented the wheel, the shovel, or anything larger than the tribe. Woohoo! Yeah! Sure I'm proud.

Re:Yay! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092083)

troll?

The invention of fire, clothes, spears, agriculture, architecture, cities, and yes, the wheel and shovels all came from Africa.

Re:Yay! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092095)

[citation needed]

Would *I* use it? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39091967)

No way. Typing on my iPad is one of the most awkward things I do in a day, but I don't blame the device. There are people in my same department at work that I have seen knock out multipage emails on one as if sitting at a regular computer.

I dunno, I just can't do it so Office would be worthless. My iPad is basically a youtube, game device, photoviewer, and mastubatory aid (porn).

I guess I'm a retard

Re:Would *I* use it? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092043)

No way. Typing on my iPad is one of the most awkward things I do in a day, but I don't blame the device.

Of course not. That would be questioning the Holy Apple, and you don't question the Holy Apple. Instead you do mental gymnastics to avoid admitting any flaw.

Re:Would *I* use it? (2, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092161)

No way. Typing on my iPad is one of the most awkward things I do in a day, but I don't blame the device.

Of course not. That would be questioning the Holy Apple, and you don't question the Holy Apple. Instead you do mental gymnastics to avoid admitting any flaw.

On the rare occasion that I need to do any real typing on my iPad I just use the keyboard dock (or a bluetooth keyboard when traveling).

I agree that most people use tablets as a consumer device, and carrying a keyboard around the office 'just in case' is ludicrous, but real productivity apps and a dock will give users the opportunity to use their tablets for more than just consuming content or casual emails, etc. Lot's of people have docks on their desk for laptops or netbooks, so why not tablets?

As long as the users can get to the content they require (not a given when documents are stored on file servers) then a tablet/dock solution will work for some users.

Re:Would *I* use it? (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092199)

And this is a silly point. I was going to buy a BT keyboard for my ipad on several occasions but every time I had it in my hands and walking to the register I put it back because the words in my head kept ringing..."If you need to type that much, just grab the laptop you always have with you anyways"

I have never seen anyone that has an iPad and uses it for business, have only that iPad. they always have a laptop as well.

I know a lot of people are attracted to the fiction of only having a thin light ipad with them all day long for all uses, but it's not reality. I simply reach down and flip open my 17" macbook and do serious creation work. it wakes up within 30 seconds and is ready to go.

If the person is a very tiny weakling waif, they can get an ultrabook like an air or other type to have a light compliment that they can not get winded and pass out carrying around.

Why try to make a tablet do everything? why not use it for what it was created for? a compliment to your PC.

I just wish that a real version of Microsoft One Note would hit the ipad. you can't do handwritten notes on the ipad version. so my ipad stays in the case and the Fujitsu tablet comes out in meetings.

Re:Would *I* use it? (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092339)

And this is a silly point. I was going to buy a BT keyboard for my ipad on several occasions but every time I had it in my hands and walking to the register I put it back because the words in my head kept ringing..."If you need to type that much, just grab the laptop you always have with you anyways"

This is very true - for those that have laptops. As tablets become more powerful and more popular, individuals and companies will have choices to make: laptop, netbook and/or tablet? It probably won't be one of each (and may only be one if budgets continue to shrink). Some Android tablets already offer video out options, and it's not farfetched to see a tablet replacing a netbook or laptop when hooked to a docking station for some users.

It's not all about the right now. In 2, 3 or maybe 5 years, things will be very different (just look back a few years and see how far tablets and smartphones have come). I don't subscribe to the 'everything on the cloud' philosophy, but the 'cloud' isn't going away and many companies are embracing it for file & data storage. The cloud is a solution to some of the problems created by portable devices. Microsoft needs to find its place in all of this, and better pick soon because in a few years it won't be as easy to get traction, marketshare or mindshare.

Re:You would use it... (5, Interesting)

Flytrap (939609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092089)

I have the iWork apps on my iPad (and before that I relied on documents to go).

I rarely create new documents on my iPad, but I do a lot of editing, proof reading, and finalisation of documents that I then share, send on, present, etc. I consider myself highly productive on my iPad - even though I still have a notebook at my desk on which I will knock together complex presentations or spreadsheets, before iCloud syncs them onto my iPad where I will continue working on them or present them from using key note or numbers. In a typical day I spend about an hour or two in front of my notebook at my desk; and the rest of the day is spent on my iPad in meetings, workshops, waiting rooms, aeroplanes, etc.

I doubt that having Microsoft Office for the iPad will change the way I work, much. I suspect that there will be less fixing and tiding up of PowerPoint or Word documents that Keynote or Pages mangled during the conversion process. But I will still spend more than half my time on the iPad reading, editing, changing, commenting on spreadsheets, presentations and documents in collaboration with others and am unlikely to change the volume of material authored from scratch on the iPad itself just because I now have Office for the iPad.

Re:Would *I* use it? (4, Interesting)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092091)

Despite all the spite and screaming against Apple that will populate this thread, I thought I would point out that people are *still* judging the iPad as if it were a laptop.
Its perfect for what it is: a tool that is great for certain uses, and not for others. I wouldn't do programming on one, its not suited to it - even if you use a keyboard - in my opinion but if I want to view images, watch TV off the net, use Netflix, its a perfect tool. Its well designed, performs well, seems fairly bug free, easy to use, quite portable, has good if not great battery life etc.
All that said, my wife bought an iPad, and stopped using her netbook entirely at the same time. It is serving all her needs - including writing (using a keyboard mind you) quite well, and I have yet to hear a complaint.
If I had a need for one, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one myself. I am however a desktop person. I hate laptops, netbooks etc. I might get an iPad at some point but I will most likely never buy a laptop or netbook.

Re:Would *I* use it? (4, Informative)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092221)

It's a media consumption/review device. Office readers would be great. Office is such a pig for resources otherwise, that compositional tools would be plainly insane to port to iOS.

The question itself if a fishing attempt to find feature interest. Office is coming to Windows 8 in one form or another, so do they bother to port it to iOS? Same chipset (ARM) same form factor (tablet) same profile of consumer (please, no sandals vs loafers arguments).

Re:Would *I* use it? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092401)

Then buy a bluetooth keyboard for when you have to do hardcore typing.

Problem solved.

I'm not sure I see the need (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39091977)

I guess I can see the attraction of running powerpoint presentations from the iPad, but Office in general, is there a point?

I can't imagine you'd want to be doing a lot of text input on it, would you?

This in mind, it seems to me the whole thing is a non-story. MS is now an also-ran in the phone biz, and has no footprint at all in the tablet market. Office or no office, it doesn't seem to matter.

Re:I'm not sure I see the need (2)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092011)

Many (most?) people don't actually create content using Office. They just read/view the results, perhaps with minor editing.

I'm sure they would love to be able to do that on their iPads. I don't know if the iPad version of Apple's products do a very good job of dealing with Office documents or not. I do know that for important documents, I find I must use Microsoft Office if I want to make sure everything is formatted correctly for other Office users (i.e. LibreOffice is close, but not perfect).

Re:I'm not sure I see the need (5, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092115)

Keynote runs Powerpoint presentations.

(Also edits and exports them if it comes to that.)

$9.99

Re:I'm not sure I see the need (4, Interesting)

Aethelred Unread (2567841) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092171)

My company uses Citrix to virtualize everything. I have had office, outlook, remote desktop on my ipad via Citrix for over a year and it is great for meetings, presentations, doing inventory, and just using an excel spreadsheet as a checklist. I can log on to my machine at work anywhere over 3G and have instant access to all my internal resources over a secure connection. Text input? Are you kidding? Combine Citrix Reciever with a ZAGG keyboard, jailbreak it, and you have an extremely effective machine for basic document editing and creation, a very powerful terminal emulator for network admin (my job) and access to all those lovely legacy tools like the fax modem connected to my PC via a serial cable so I can administer the Nortel PBX. Best thing is, all the processing is done on the server at work and if you lose the connection everything is where you left it when you reconnect. All this discussion about iPads having a place in enterprise is retarded, (literally, slow minded) the tools are already out there only Apple didn't develop them in house.

Re:I'm not sure I see the need (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092399)

I have the Citrix receiver as well. I'd rather kick myself in the nuts than do anything other than novelty stuff or very very basic work related administration through it on a tablet. Basic things are possible but not worth the 5-10x increase in time and effort. If I'm out and about and get a call to fix something that requires me to "log into work", I'll try to call another engineer myself or I'll respond back to the support desk that I'll get back to them in XX minutes and either drive home if close by or go to my car, grab my laptop and find the nearest free AP. Yes, I still consider those much better options then using the Citrix receiver on my tablet.

Re:I'm not sure I see the need (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092183)

This in mind, it seems to me the whole thing is a non-story. MS is now an also-ran in the phone biz, and has no footprint at all in the tablet market. Office or no office, it doesn't seem to matter.

But Microsoft is still a software company and MS Office is a de facto standard in most of the corporate world. Can they afford to ignore the millions of tablets that are finding their way into offices and everyday use? If a palatable alternative reigns supreme on tablets, will companies convert to the alternative in lieu of MS Office on the desktop to insure document compatibility?

Metro is going to be a disruptive change for a lot of companies, and if they're going to go through the growing pains of changing user interfaces and how they interact with devices, would moving away from MS/Windows/Office be much more effort? In the short term, yes. But in the long run?

Re:I'm not sure I see the need (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092351)

Can they afford to ignore the millions of tablets that are finding their way into offices and everyday use?

I think the question is more whether anyone will care if they do release it. I think probably not.

If a palatable alternative reigns supreme on tablets, will companies convert to the alternative in lieu of MS Office on the desktop to insure document compatibility?

Well this is an interesting area of thought. Some enterprises are already turning away from it now, I guess we'll see.

Metro is going to be a disruptive change for a lot of companies,

Really?

Everyone's happy with Win 7, and IIRC Win 8 has a traditional mode, so I'm not really seeing it on the desktop, and on the tablet or mobile, MS is a non-entity.

Re:I'm not sure I see the need (1, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092413)

I think the question is more whether anyone will care if they do release it. I think probably not.

Remember the old adage: no one ever got fired for buying IBM? In the current corporate culture it's pretty much the same for buying Microsoft.

Really?

Everyone's happy with Win 7, and IIRC Win 8 has a traditional mode, so I'm not really seeing it on the desktop, and on the tablet or mobile, MS is a non-entity.

Except that 'Metro' isn't just Windows 8, it is the future UI paradigm for Windows/Microsoft. IE 10 will have two versions, Metro and 'traditional'. I don't think MS is going to continue to create two versions in the future. Windows 9 will take things one steep further - probably a compatibility mode or VM for traditional applications - or perhaps eliminate traditional 'windowed' apps all together. Windows 8 is a transitional product release for Microsoft.

MS will not support traditional apps on the WOA platform, nor do they on the existing Windows Phone platform. I don't know if they'll be supporting traditional apps on any Windows tablet OS that runs on x86 or Acorn processors, but it's an awful lot of work to maintain separate OS products. I can see them eliminating traditional apps on future tablet OS products for x86 or Acorn (if they support them at all on the Windows 8 tablet offering).

Re:I'm not sure I see the need (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092445)

Remember the old adage: no one ever got fired for buying IBM? In the current corporate culture it's pretty much the same for buying Microsoft.

Yes, but I'm not sure that applies where tablets are concerned. It doesn't seem to help them in the corporate phone market.

Except that 'Metro' isn't just Windows 8, it is the future UI paradigm for Windows/Microsoft. IE 10 will have two versions, Metro and 'traditional'. I don't think MS is going to continue to create two versions in the future. Windows 9 will take things one steep further - probably a compatibility mode or VM for traditional applications - or perhaps eliminate traditional 'windowed' apps all together. Windows 8 is a transitional product release for Microsoft.

In which case I see a lot of people moving on from windows, especially in the enterprise, or doing as they did with Vista and just not bothering to move.

Re:I'm not sure I see the need (2)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092337)

I can't imagine you'd want to be doing a lot of text input on it, would you?

I do quite a bit or text input on my Galaxy Tab. Mostly e-mail, but some other stuff as well, including some work with Google Docs, though Docs is pretty limited on Android as of yet. I have a Zagg folio case which includes a Bluetooth keyboard. The keyboard is small, but very usable, and when I close the case with the keyboard, the whole bundle is still small and light enough that it's more convenient to carry around than a full-sized laptop or even a netbook.

Of course I don't use Microsoft Office, and haven't for years, so I'm not really their target market.

because viewing PDFs and playing Angry Birds (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39091979)

Constitutes "real work" now, it seems.

No one with an actual job is relying solely on post-pc devices to do their "real work".

Re:because viewing PDFs and playing Angry Birds (2, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092301)

No one with an actual job is relying solely on post-pc devices to do their "real work".

Except of course the many that do.

Of course that doesn't mean that they don't also have a Mac or PC. Just that for at least part of their job, an iPad or an iPhone is the better tool.

Ah, Excel (3, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39091981)

Ah, Excel, the most abused piece of software in the world. Is there a problem for which it is the right solution?

Re:Ah, Excel (4, Interesting)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092021)

I use excel for stuff all the time. Little jobs... quick, repetative, formulaic stuff. That and popping open csv's.

The one I often saw abused was access. Horrible things happen when a shitty Access side-project ends up getting passed around an office.

Re:Ah, Excel (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092193)

You seriously never encountered someone using Excel instead of a proper database? That seems to be the most common abuse and has caused untold damages to small businesses all over the world.

Re:Ah, Excel (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092357)

Sure. And it was proper to use it because of the overhead of a "proper database".

I've been IT my whole life and I've always found strange the concept of "proper" anything.

If it works, it's proper.

"has caused untold damages"
And you didn't tell of them either.

Re:Ah, Excel (2)

pz (113803) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092381)

I do this all the time (at least, I use a spreadsheet program to open a CSV database). Why?

1. The spreadsheet is in CSV (read: ASCII), so when, not if, there are problems, I can fix them in two seconds in an editor.

2. A spreadsheet program is relatively fast compared to a database program.

3. A spreadsheet allows me to view all of my data in a relatively compact way.

4. The output of a database program is going to be a spreadsheet-friendly table anyway, except you have to cut-and-paste it into a spreadsheet to use it.

So, what are the advantages of using a DB? Only one: being able to specify a highly particular set of constraints to pick out a small subset of the records (using an arcane syntax that means the query is more likely than not to be incorrect). How often do I do that? Nearly never. Far more often I'm interested in sorting by a particular column, and spreadsheets do that just fine.

For a small business, using a CSV file as a database and a spreadsheet program as the interface works quite well.

Re:Ah, Excel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092031)

I'm not sure, what was it supposed to be in the first place?
Access might not be the best solution for anything, but at least we all know it's supposed to be database software.

>A spreadsheet is a computer application with tools that increase the user's productivity in capturing, analyzing, and sharing tabular data sets. (Wikipedia)
Hm, so it is a bit like a cloud, only more tabular.
>Excel increases productivity! Replace our git repositories with Excel cells immediately.(CTO after reading Wikipedia article)

Re:Ah, Excel (2)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092061)

Well, if you have a simplish problem where you need to do some calculations on some data, what would be a better solution than whipping out an Excel (or equivalent) sheet with the data and the calculations?

Well, unless you mean something along the lines of "if Excel is the right solution, then Google Docs spreadsheet is even more right solution", then I can't really argue for common desktop use case. In mobile case (like Android + Google Docs vs. WP7 + it's office apps), I haven't tried so I don't know, but I suspect MS solution will give superior user experience in that case.

Re:Ah, Excel (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092145)

So what?

Windows is just an extremely misunderstood puzzle game, but so far nobody has made it to the highscore.

Re:Ah, Excel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092169)

fuck you and your free time. I have never bothered to learn any piece of software, ever, including excel. I am, nevertheless, highly productive on Excel, and run a company that has just passed the half a million annual revenue mark. What have you done with all your free time you have to learn tools?

Re:Ah, Excel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092409)

Make companies like your's succeed?

Re:Ah, Excel (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092205)

Ah, Excel, the most abused piece of software in the world. Is there a problem for which it is the right solution?

It is the Swiss Army Knife of the PC world.

Re:Ah, Excel (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092247)

... ok?

Just call a programmer to come in and go over use and case studies with your needs instead, and wait 3 months for approval and have the IT director work with accounting in doing a cost analysis on how much return this would be to make this client/server sql app meanwhile you get fired because the boss wanted this work done in 1 week time only. ... or you open excel and just get to work? I pick Excel. Access is great for saving forms and things like that but if you have 4 or 5 people passing it around and changes are being made how do you sync them up. No using ODBC is not an option as creating a database requires admin rights and IT approval etc.

The whole concept is broken. The correct thing to do is break a very large excel spreadsheet into more spreadsheets for different functions instead of having the company use just 1 for everyone. If the project is important enough yes Access with a SQL Server backend but it is hard to justify it when work needs to be done YESTERDAY and Excel is right there in front of you to just start it.

Sure. "Real work" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39091991)

People aren't getting real work done on the iPad. Unless that real work consists of playing Angry Birds and watching Youtube.

PCs are still the primary Real Work computing platform. That means Windows, and *that* means Microsoft Office.

So sure, some upstart will write some half-assed word processor (like Pages, oh god, that's an app that redefines "suck") and try to bring Real Computing to the iPad, but at the end of the day, Microsoft will be rolling around naked on a huge pile of cash generated by their Windows and Office productivity suite monopolies.

Ok with Apple (3, Insightful)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39091993)

Office supports all kinds of scripting. Would Apple allow apps with such scripting support on it's app store? Would Apple allow the iDevice Office version access MS online services? Unless they've changed pretty recently, I'm under impression that anything like that is a big no-no with Apple, apps which even hint at having that kind of functionality simply rejected.

If Apple would not make exception with MS, then the iDevice MS Office would be seriously crippled, so much so that MS might be right in deciding it does not want to do that. MS is trying to develop office into a broad online offering, and I could see how Apple would not accept that on their devices.

Of course there's a different controversy of just how much scripting should office application documents support in the first place, but I'll not get into that here...

Re:Ok with Apple (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092085)

Would Apple allow apps with such scripting support on it's app store?

No, that's definitely against the rules. And there's no way Apple would make an exception for Microsoft. Apple won the fight with Adobe and killed Flash as a platform for mobile. They're big enough not to have to make concessions to Microsoft either.

Would Apple allow the iDevice Office version access MS online services? Unless they've changed pretty recently, I'm under impression that anything like that is a big no-no with Apple, apps which even hint at having that kind of functionality simply rejected.

I have no idea what you're talking about there. It's common place for apps to work with online services.

Re:Ok with Apple (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092305)

Would Apple allow the iDevice Office version access MS online services? Unless they've changed pretty recently, I'm under impression that anything like that is a big no-no with Apple, apps which even hint at having that kind of functionality simply rejected.

I have no idea what you're talking about there. It's common place for apps to work with online services.

I meant the combination of allowing scripting and allowing online data, apart from using Apple-provided HTML engine.

(And I'm sure Apple has spent some effort trying to figure out how to meaningfully support HTML5 without actually allowing HTML5 online applications from outside it's "garden walls", but I'm pretty sure they haven't found a way, or have they?)

Re:Ok with Apple (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092097)

Why not?

I think MS would be dumb to release Office for IOS as now people have no real reason to use WindowsCE and Windows Mobile anymore.

Apple will be thrilled. Many executives who are still using Windows mobile 6.5 phones because of pocket office or blackberries can not leave these platforms and buy Ipads and Iphones.

MS is just porting the crappy pocket versions of Office [cnet.com] which are basically just office viewer applications which allow light editing. Not idea as a full blown Office solution but they are great on the go if you need to view a file and comment and make a few editing corrections or something dumb like that.

I do not know if AppleScript is supported on IOS, but MS could just port vbscript or VBA lite over if people want to run a few macros. It is not the full blown suite ported as that is on MacOSX only.

Re:Ok with Apple (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092231)

Apple will be thrilled. Many executives who are still using Windows mobile 6.5 phones because of pocket office or blackberries can not leave these platforms and buy Ipads and Iphones.

If Apple was struggling to sell iPads and iPhones then that might be the case. But they're actually flying off the shelves at an ever accelerating rate. Apple has their own office apps. I think they are quite happy with that as their solution for those moving from MS Office platforms.

If Microsoft want to put MS Office mobile apps on the iOS App Store, then Apple will of course accept them - subject to the same rules as everyone else, which means no document based scripting.

Re:Ok with Apple (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092307)

I only use Andriod so I did not know that bit. Apple does want MS to write Office because many executives will not use anything but Office. Steve Jobs made sure of this when he came back as much as he wished people would use iWorks. Consumers are more open to iWorks than proefessionals. I am not as I can not guarantee that my resume or other files will look the same in Office, but I guess some people do not care.

Re:Ok with Apple (1)

unami (1042872) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092371)

if you want your resume to look the same on other peoples computers, export is as .pdf. afaik, office files don't keep their formating across different office-versions, screen resolutions, etc... unless something has changed, since i stopped using office (about 5 years ago).

Re:Ok with Apple (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092397)

Employers hate PDFs as they are not editable. HR and 85% of app submission software for their websites require Word formats.

Actually with Office 2007 and later they use OpenXML in docx files which is a large step in the right direction.Not as ideal as OpenDocs because it uses a tag for binary blobs, but it will guarantee the formatting and key things are consistent across multiple versions of Word. A table wont wrap around if the person has a low resolution as an example which was common in regular .doc files. Starting last year I stopped using .doc files and I figured those who couldn't read it are places I would not want to work anyway and are incompetent employers. Office 2003 can read them with a free add-on for years now.

Re:Ok with Apple (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092107)

And coming at it from the other side, would MS let Apple take 30% from every sale?

Re:Ok with Apple (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092235)

And coming at it from the other side, would MS let Apple take 30% from every sale?

I never thought about that, but you're right. MS wouldn't want to give Apple 30%, and Apple probably wouldn't want to cut MS a special deal.

Re:Ok with Apple (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092245)

Microsoft sell Office:Mac shrinkwrap through the Apple Store (online + cricks and mortar). And Apple will be getting a lot more than 30% of that.

Re:Ok with Apple (1)

znu (31198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092297)

As for accessing Microsoft's online services... a huge fraction of the apps in the app store access various companies' online services. I'm not sure what you see being the problem there. The only real restriction Apple has with respect to this sort of thing is that if you provide a link to a web site to subscribe to a paid service or purchase paid content, you have to also sell that subscription/content via in-app purchasing (and give Apple its cut). But if you don't link, you don't have to do this, and you can still give your customers access to that subscription or content if they find your web site and purchase on their own.

It's true Apple probably wouldn't let Microsoft support scripting in Office for iPad. Apple allows developers to embed scripting engines now, but all the code they run has to be bundled in the app package so Apple can review it; apps can't load code later, which is what would be happening with scripts embedded in Office documents. But honestly, scripting is kind of an edge case. Yes, some organizations use it extensively, but realistically 99% of Office documents in the world make zero use of scripting functionality. Microsoft shipped Office 2008 for Mac without VBA, and while they did bring it back to the Mac in 2011, this clearly demonstrates they don't consider lack of scripting a release showstopper.

This is kind of the point of the linked article, actually. The business world built up this notion over a couple of decades that any device (or software alternative to Office) that didn't provide 100% compatibility and 100% of the feature set was useless. The widespread adoption of iOS/Android devices that don't run Office has provided a significant amount of first-hand experience that this isn't true -- that a lot of routine business tasks work just fine without Office. This realization is dangerous to Microsoft.

It's not worth it.. (0)

ItsIllak (95786) | more than 2 years ago | (#39091999)

... Apple would probably sue them for a patent infringement. Better everyone stays well away from them and everything they produce.

Orifice on iPad (-1, Troll)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092003)

No -- because we'd have to wait over two years for iPad 5 until the hardware was fast enough to run Messysoft bloatware.

Re:Orifice on iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092109)

No -- because we'd have to wait over two years for iPad 5 until the hardware was fast enough to run Messysoft bloatware.

Who let the twelve years in?

Or just use OnLive? (1)

adycarter (261257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092013)

Theres at least two companies, one http://desktop.onlive.com/ [onlive.com] and another one called CloudON that offer this kind of functionality if its really needed.

Having used the former its pretty decent and rather handy, but really I don't see the need to actually *have* Office on the iPad, the ability to use it briefly if needed is enough.

Re:Or just use OnLive? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092165)

So many people here seem to be missing the point.

The fact that you were compelled to find and install (and pay for?) an Office alternative is exactly what the author is saying: it destroys the idea that many people have that you need Microsoft Office(tm) to do real work (Yes, reading documents counts as real work).

If you find OnLive's performance acceptable and they release a desktop version for much less than Office, maybe you won't buy Office for your next desktop either.

It's all about having mindshare.

and burn up your data plan? and make roaming cost (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092407)

and burn up your data plan? and make roaming cost $$$$ as with out a international data plan and you don't even need to be outside the usa as you can be in boarder area pick up a non us tower and get hit with fees as high as $20 a MEG!

Definitely Not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092027)

Fuck the iPad. Let Apple enjoy its walled garden experience. The article warns that some other product may come to predominate on the iPad, but so what?

Come on MSFT, don't give in and suck cock the way the Democrats do in the house and senate. Keep some differentiation from Apple's consumer market of shiny objects. Tell Apple to go screw.

Just an Apple fan there... (2, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092045)

'Like the curtain finally falling from the Wizard of Oz to find just a small, frail, man pretending to be far more powerful and relevant than he really was,

That actually sounds like someone talking about Apple more than Microsoft.

Truth is they just want MS Office on Apple products because tablets will continue to be irrelevant to a large part of the world unless they have those apps. Also, the people trying to use them for business think what's missing is Office, but when they get it, they'll be missing the keyboard too, and probably the mouse.

Re:Just an Apple fan there... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092175)

Missing the point, you are.

People will continue to use laptops/desktops to create office docs, no doubt. But many will also use tablets to view/read documents.

Right now, plenty of people have the idea that you need Microsoft Office to work with documents. But as they look for alternatives for the tablets, they may find out that the same company produces a desktop version that while it isn't as feature full as MSOffice, it's much cheaper.

The author is saying the MS should create Office for every relevant platform in order to prevent people from searching for alternatives.

Re:Just an Apple fan there... (1)

Aethelred Unread (2567841) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092203)

Zagg Keyboard + Jailbreak + Bluetooth Mouse + Citrix Reciever = Windows on the iPad with all the advantages the Apple hardware provides such as light weight, etc. and none of the stupid apple "features." Seems like someone put some thought into this already...

Microsoft already is (5, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092067)

I remember reading about this a few months ago. The article is here [cnet.com] .

Basically it is a very dumbed down version designed just to read office files on the go similiar to the pocket Office versions for WindowsCE of the past. They do not want adoption of IOS, but the pocket versions do encourage Windows and Office on desktop computer and kills smaller companies or Apple from getting a foothold in the market which would then threaten Windows.

MS has to be careful and walk a very fine line here. This would negate the reason to buy a Windows smart phone as the only reason people bothered with WindowsCE organizors over palm was the ability to read work documents. Now this gives a great reason for these executives and directors to buy an Iphone. Great now I can work on them too!

Office file formats are not going anyway. I got modded down here a few times saying I can't leave Office because I can not guarantee that my resume will look the same on someone elses computer running Office if I make it under LibraOffice. For that reason it will stay forever in business and MS Office is not going anyway as suppliers and customers will think you are incompentent if you send a document that looks funny on their computer.

So if I worked at MS I would only release Office for Windows 8 and Windows mobile and not care what Google and Apple do as I would have the ball no matter what.

Re:Microsoft already is (4, Insightful)

ddocjohn (1019028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092157)

Office file formats are not going anyway. I got modded down here a few times saying I can't leave Office because I can not guarantee that my resume will look the same on someone elses computer running Office if I make it under LibraOffice. For that reason it will stay forever in business and MS Office is not going anyway as suppliers and customers will think you are incompentent if you send a document that looks funny on their computer.

If you can't figure out how to make a pdf then maybe they're right.

Re:Microsoft already is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092259)

And for job postings that specify to send as an Office document only, how does being able to make a PDF help?

Oh that's right, it doesn't, you just couldn't resist the cheap shot opportunity.

Re:Microsoft already is (3, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092347)

If you think it is ok to send a pdf maybe they are right about you instead?

That is a no no in business as HR and management love to highlight and edit cover letters and resumes back and forth in internal emails. Ask any job coach or HR person? Something not editable is quickly deleted. Also look around at various job sites and internal resume submission apps on corporate websites? They all want Word docs. Sometimes they will request a PDF, but almost always will require a Word doc. Some will accept plain text too. But if you do that the formatting will be lost and you will look incompetent and it will go right in the virtual trash bin.

Office elsewhere? (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092071)

Until recently, most of the people I know who keep using MS Windows do so for two reasons: games and office. Yes, some people still worry not to be able to work with Office docs on a Mac, probably because a number of years ago Office was discontinued on that OS, and that ancient feeling still haunts the !geeks. But recently, many iPads and other tablets are sold and the tide has turned ; Microsoft starts to see the tsunami wave coming, finally, and has to adapt. Office on the iPad is a start. A monopoly is crumbling...

openoffice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092079)

Why would Micro$oft put OpenOffice on the iPad? BEcause it would work.

M$ won't release Office for iPad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092081)

Microsoft need fear no "Office Alternative". If LibreOffice couldn't kill the inferior and more expensive Microsoft Office, after OpenOffice couldn't do it, after StarOffice and Word Perfect and LotusNotes or whatever Lotus' foray into a word processor was called, and KOffice, and on and on all the way back past Enable O/A, WordStar, and Format ][ couldn't stop the M$ Office juggernaut, how is an app for a stinking PAD going to do it? No one in his right mind would try to use a touchscreen to do any real typing. I want to hear of someone writing a 500+ page novel entirely on a stinking PAD, then editing it, etc.

Microsoft has made its fortunes off the Windows and Office paradigm. Windows helps sell copies of Office, and needing to have Office sells copies of Windows. If you didn't need Windows to run Office, Windows would not have been able to beat all comers as it did. Windows has had many word processors written to run under or on top of it, (however you look at it) and they haven't really impacted sales of Windows. But if you could run Office under whatever... many people I've known (and I too) have had Windows installed at one point or another just to run a piece of software that required it, (in cases where WINE just wouldn't cut it, usually) and for many, that piece of software is Office, or a subset of it. Microsoft releasing Office for other platforms would help people to use Office without having to have Windows, which will contribute to lower sales figures for Windows, and the computers that come bundled with it.

This is different from PC's where it's (for now) trivial to change the OS. Provided you know what you're doing, you don't have to depend on someone "jailbreaking" your device for you before you can install whatever you want. So the dynamics of OS entrenchment are different on that platform.

Tablet computers are cool toys, and are often useful, but they'll never replace REAL computers. The lack of I/O capabilities alone will prevent it. Any Apple drones out there who want to argue, tell me... can you plug an external hard drive into your iPad? I can plug several into my PC, can you plug in even one? There is little to no expandability or hardware flexibility to tablet computers, they're special-purpose devices.

Anyway, I don't think they'll do it, and if they do, it will have some arbitrary limitations to keep it from being fully functional. You'll see.

Re:M$ won't release Office for iPad. (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092189)

Microsoft need fear no "Office Alternative". If LibreOffice couldn't kill the inferior and more expensive Microsoft Office, after OpenOffice couldn't do it, after StarOffice and Word Perfect and LotusNotes or whatever Lotus' foray into a word processor was called, and KOffice, and on and on all the way back past Enable O/A, WordStar, and Format ][ couldn't stop the M$ Office juggernaut, how is an app for a stinking PAD going to do it? No one in his right mind would try to use a touchscreen to do any real typing. I want to hear of someone writing a 500+ page novel entirely on a stinking PAD, then editing it, etc.

Except those had to compete with MS Office, so they never gain market share.

On the iPad, on the other hand, people are forced to look for alternatives if they want to read office docs, instead of falling back to what they know. And that can be dangerous if they find that those same companies have desktop versions which are Good Enough and much cheaper.

Re:M$ won't release Office for iPad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092255)

The lack of I/O capabilities alone will prevent it. Any Apple drones out there who want to argue, tell me... can you plug an external hard drive into your iPad? I can plug several into my PC, can you plug in even one? There is little to no expandability or hardware flexibility to tablet computers, they're special-purpose devices.

Anyway, I don't think they'll do it, and if they do, it will have some arbitrary limitations to keep it from being fully functional. You'll see.

I am surprised you are unaware that you can now plug a USB flash drive into an iPad or an iPhone. Perhaps you may not have followed the news coverage from CES regarding vendors making accessories for the iPad?

The following URL has details for anyone who needs a USB flash drive.

http://esbjournal.com/2011/01/world [esbjournal.com] ’s-first-usb-flash-drive-for-ipad-and-iphone-launches/

A simple Bing! will reveal USB HD up to 1TB for the iPad 2 now. Seagate featured a 500GB drive what was both USB and wireless to the iPad.

I know you are not a fanboy but after reading Slashdot for years I wish more 'Anonymous' contributor's would get their facts straight before posting. A simple search can reveal if a 'Anonymous' poster's position is correct and not information that appears to be a mere fan boy's foolishness.

MS Office (& Outlook) is for the learning-impa (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092123)

Many companies would be more than happy to get rid of the incompatible, bug-ridden mess called MS Office and Outlook. Why can't the businessinsider folks just learn to use Numbers [apple.com] or some other app? What is so special about their charting needs? Typically, such users are just attached to Excel because they've mastered (or so they think) the shoody MS UI and find themselves unable (or unwilling) to learn anything else...

No. (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092127)

Next question.

Oh, you want a reason. No keyboard.

Next question.

Re:No. (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092213)

I agree that they shouldn't, but not for any hardware reason.

Apple no longer need to rely on killer apps like they used to in the days when PageMaker, Photoshop, Protools etc were what sold Macs. They've sidelined the companies that once made those killer apps, and even introduced competing Apple products. I don't think it's controversial to assert that their priorities are clearly Apple and its shareholders first, customers second, developers and other third party ecosystem content and service providers third.

For Microsoft, releasing Office into that environment would give the iPad (i.e. Apple) a not insignificant boost and dent Windows 8 sales. (If you can get Office on either, and that's what you care about, why would you plump for an unproven Windows tablet over an iPad?) Furthermore, they'd be in the awkward position of not wanting it to be too successful, because Apple could pull the plug at any moment, and could therefore make demands (say, for arguments' sake, require that 40% of the price of Office go to Apple rather than the usual 30%).

I can't see that it would make any sense for Microsoft to get itself mired in that swamp. Unlike other developers, they don't have to grit their teeth and bear it because Apple apps are the safest way to make proper money from mobile development -- they make plenty of money from other sources, and can invest in competing with Apple in general instead (via their own mobile OS, tablet hardware etc).

As always of course they probably wouldn't be in this position if they had invested in a culture of open standards and platforms decades ago... but winner takes all seems to be the only game anyone relishes these days.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092133)

Yes Microsoft should.

Last sentence in summary? (1)

gratuitous_arp (1650741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092135)

Maybe it's too early...

"Speaking of the future of Office, did you ever notice how people use MS-Word to convince people to use Google Docs?"

Could anyone explain what this means, and what the linked-to page is illustrating?

Re:Last sentence in summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092147)

That someone wrote a document telling people why google docs is good, in word, rather than using google docs.

SlashFUD (2, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092139)

'Microsoft's biggest miss was allowing the world to finally see the truth behind the big lie — they were not needed to get real work done.

Only on slashdot is Microsoft Office dying or not needed any more. Back in the real world; the place many here I'm sure must forget exists or something, Office 2010 is selling better than any other MS Office suite before - http://www.techspot.com/news/44268-microsoft-office-2010-turns-one-is-the-fastest-selling-version-ever.html [techspot.com] .

MSFT aren't the evil machine they used to be, kids. Move on.....move on......

Re:SlashFUD (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092187)

Slashdot used to be composed of college kids a decade ago with no work experience outside of school projects and sourceforge. I guess some still have not worked in an office yet who write such things or are just hopefully MS Office dies a horrible death :-)

I have a love hate relationship with it. I hate Word particularly. But I only use Office and not LibraOffice because I live in the real world. I support these apps for a living and need to know how they work and how to anticipate their weaknesses. Also I use it for the same reason everyone else uses it.

That is because everyone else uses it because everyone else uses it. It is the closed file formats. I can not guarantee my resume wont look like crap on someone elses computer who runs Office if I create it with LibraOffice. No I wont bother using both because why would I do that? To make a point or something? Business needs their files to look the same and run on suppliers, vendors, customers, and employees machines or they look incompetent.

Just because you do not use it does not mean it is dying. Some people can be brilliant but clueless idiots at the same time.

Re:SlashFUD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092441)

people buy office? really?

Does it make money or not? (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092141)

That really is the only question that need to be answered. Prove to the shareholders that it will, and they will support it.

Office 365 (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092143)

Microsoft is not stupid. The future of office is not on the desktop, it is in the cloud. This is why they made Office 365, which works on any modern web browser, including the iPad.

There is not need for a "native app" for an office suite. If anything, just do what 50% of developers already to and wrap the website in a "native app" UI so that it shows up on the appstore.

Excel on a tablet?? (3, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092149)

Okay, I can understand wanting some kind of rudimentary spreadsheet viewing/editing application for tablet/mobile devices, but Excel is a particularly good example of a program that really needs a physical, full-size keyboard. There are numerous key combinations and shortcuts that are absolutely essential for efficient usage of Excel. If you're doing any kind of spreadsheet work, you need a keyboard with a numeric keypad, cursors, and Ctrl/Alt/Shift/F-number keys. Tapping an on-screen keyboard just isn't going to cut it, especially when that keyboard takes up valuable screen space that would otherwise be used to display more cells.

In a way, Excel is like Photoshop in that regard. Keyboard shortcuts are huge. These are applications that have evolved their present UI design to suit a desktop computing environment to the point where it would be incredibly cumbersome to adapt it to a tablet device with no mouse, no physical keyboard, and limited screen size. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but if you did actually manage to accomplish the task, users would almost have to completely relearn how to use the application. Nor am I saying that one should even attempt to design a full-featured version of Excel for tablet devices. My view is that tablets really are best suited for content consumption for most kinds of quantitative or visual data. It has nothing to do with whether we're talking about an iPad or some other tablet. The essence of what Excel does, and how the user creates spreadsheets in it, is something I don't think could translate well to such a device. And in light of this, I think the question of whether some incarnation of Office should be developed for iOS seems to be besides the point.

Re:Excel on a tablet?? (3, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092443)

Okay, I can understand wanting some kind of rudimentary spreadsheet viewing/editing application for tablet/mobile devices, but Excel is a particularly good example of a program that really needs a physical, full-size keyboard. There are numerous key combinations and shortcuts that are absolutely essential for efficient usage of Excel. If you're doing any kind of spreadsheet work, you need a keyboard with a numeric keypad, cursors, and Ctrl/Alt/Shift/F-number keys. Tapping an on-screen keyboard just isn't going to cut it, especially when that keyboard takes up valuable screen space that would otherwise be used to display more cells.

If you think shortcuts on an on-screen keyboard are the way UIs on touch devices are done, you haven't understood how they work. On touch devices, there are no shortcuts. The on-screen keyboard is used for text entry, nothing more. If you want to select a cell, you just tap on it, you don't press some kind of arrow button. If you want to make something bold, you tap the bold button right next to the text field. With a pure software UI, you can make any special-purpose input you want. For example, take a look at the Numbers number keyboard [macobserver.com] . You just have exactly the buttons you need, and they say exactly what they do. No need to remember any shortcuts or functional correspondences.

I'm leaving slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092151)

Hi, I'm Anonymous Coward and I've been posting to slashdot from the very beginning.

However you lot have just become too fucking old. You've lost your idealism, and become shitty old men, which is why I'm moving to Reddit.
At first I was concerned by the lack of editors, but it's not like the editors here are worth a damn, and the new censorship system is just unacceptable. The mod system doesn't even go up to 11.

Well, it's been fun but fuck you all. And your mothers.
Good bye sirs.

Wait, nevermind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092233)

Hi,

It's me, Anonymous Coward, again and I've decided I can't live without Slashdot. So, effective now, I am BACK! Sorry to anyone who was worried or distraught over the news about me leaving, hopefully we can put this behind us.

must put office on iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092217)

The iPad is heading towards a ThunderBolt interface and as that happens it will be the only computer you need to own. Dock it using a big screen, tie in Keyboard and mouse and it will be both pad and desktop. That is the future of Apple's compute platforms. Duh.

MS should move toward "apps"? (1)

acidradio (659704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092223)

I think this signals a fundamental change in mobile computing. Microsoft has clung to a (now outdated) model of forcing the same Windows apps on all "Windows" devices. Apple saw that there needed to be a differentiation between desktop applications and mobile "apps" in order for the mobile apps to be the best for that device. Their Tablet PCs aren't the answer. The day that Microsoft figures this out and makes a way to easily create a mobile app of some kind and separates the desktop and mobile platforms they might have a chance against the iPad.

What use is a fondleslab anyway? (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092227)

OK, so there are some uses (such as (a) being able to look something up on the internet from the sofa without wasting a few seconds walking to the always-on desktop, and (b) being able to carry all your holiday snaps around to show to people who didn't know they wanted to see them, and (c) there are some cool games for two-year-olds to play with) but none of them apply to me.

So, I use computers for email (fondleslab no use without an add-on keyboard), web (ditto, unless you stick to read-only sites), software development (no idea, can you get Visual Studio on a tablet? - I haven't looked), accounts (can you get Quicken on a tablet? - and even if you could you need a keyboard again) and so on. I haven't felt a need for a fondleslab and haven't acquired one.

What am I missing?

Re:What use is a fondleslab anyway? (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092373)

Is it funny that my fondleslab keyboard is an add-on, but my desktop one isn't? They are physically the same keyboard, just my desktop isn't much use without it, but my fondleslab can still do a few things.

One of them is be mixed signal scope (with oscium plugs, which I suppose are an add-on'). I knew that watching lines squiggle across the screen was a lot like watching youtube videos, so I thought it would be a nice fit. It was.

I'm sorry to hear that software development == Visual Studio. Shell (thus vi, make loop) work just fine.

no, for chrissakes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092243)

no. word demands a keyboard and mouse, enormous storage and when i do large documents, a deskfull of space for yellow stickies, notepads, coffee cups, yadayada.... would you use a leatherman to field dress a moose? you could, but you'd be ill advised. iPad is a mobility toolbox, not a mobile workbench. besides, it's only a few billion for MS, and what's a few billion here and there?

micro$oft is dead who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39092299)

they should install office in a coffin instead

i guess they are just greedy (1)

unami (1042872) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092313)

and don't want to give away the advantage of having office exclusively on a possibly successfull win8 tablet.

apple will need offer a better deal then 30% cut (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39092415)

apple will need offer a better deal then a 30% cut of the price of office.

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