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Why Microsoft Office For iOS Will Likely Never See the Light of Day

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the can't-we-all-just-get-along? dept.

Microsoft 270

MojoKid writes "It has been over six years since Apple introduced the iPhone. Millions of apps have been written for the platform in that time, with collective downloads into the billions. Apple's App Store is a thriving marketplace with a huge amount of software available, except Microsoft Office. There's a version of Office for iOS supposedly in the works, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer threw cold water on the idea when asked about upcoming events for the Office suite after launching the new Office 2013 / Office 365 products earlier this week. Revenue sharing is reportedly a major sticking point. Microsoft is trying to push people towards yearly subscriptions with Office 2013 and Office 365, but Apple requires a 30 percent profit share on sales of any app in their store. Microsoft reportedly isn't thrilled at the idea of sharing that much revenue. It's ironic — when Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac nearly 20 years ago, it was seen as a lifeline for the beleaguered manufacturer. Now, Microsoft is knocking on the door of Apple's business and Cupertino seems disinclined to answer."

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wtf (5, Insightful)

yincrash (854885) | about a year ago | (#42778659)

It's ironic — when Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac nearly 20 years ago, it was seen as a lifeline for the beleaguered manufacturer. Now, Microsoft is knocking on the door of Apple's business and Cupertino seems disinclined to answer.

This conclusion absolutely does not follow from the sentence that came before it.

Re:wtf (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778709)

This is Slashdot. Playing fast and loose with the fact in order to come up with an anti-Microsoft conclusion is a time-honored tradition around here.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778755)

This is Slashdot. Playing fast and loose with the fact in order to come up with an anti-Microsoft conclusion is a time-honored tradition around here.

Anti-Microsoft conclusion? That sounds like an anti-Apple conclusion, in that it makes Apple look like a bunch of ungrateful backstabbing assholes. "Yeah, thanks for saving our bacon 20 years ago. If it weren't for you, we'd be dead by now. Now, kindly fuck off and die so we can get busy pissing on your grave."

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778889)

The implication is that Microsoft has come on such hard times and needs a lifeline for Office just as Apple needed on in 1997. Very funny stuff considering MS sold as many copies of just Office 2010 as Apple has sold all iPhone versions combined.

Re:wtf (1)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#42778923)

No part of that statement implies that.

Re:wtf (3, Insightful)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#42779487)

Yes it does. The "It's ironic" at the beginning of the quote ties the two statements together as if they are comparing to nearly identical situations. The first sentence is talking about how back when Apple was hurting and about to go out of business, Microsoft saved them by porting office to their platform. The second sentence now has to be ironic is some sense as it relates to the first. The implication is that the roles are now reversed and Apple has taken a completely different stance from what Microsoft did in the opposite situation, making it an ironic.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778933)

Even that is a bad conclusion. Office for Mac was Microsoft's most profitable product-line in the 1980s. Yes, it even made more money than MS-DOS. So it was a very important product for both companies.

Re:wtf (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year ago | (#42779051)

That sounds like an anti-Apple conclusion, in that it makes Apple look like a bunch of ungrateful backstabbing assholes. "Yeah, thanks for saving our bacon 20 years ago. If it weren't for you, we'd be dead by now. Now, kindly fuck off and die so we can get busy pissing on your grave."

Not to sound like I'm defending Apple (who I'm really not a fan of these days), but despite Gates' attempt to repaint himself as Mr. Charity Benefactor, MS were always a bunch of predatory, bullying, market-share-exploiting assholes who only did what was in their own self interest. In this case, it was in their interest to have a token (and very distant second-place) "competitor", without which they would have more obviously been a monopoly and at risk from regulatory action (and even a possible forced spit).

If it had been in their interest to do so, I'm entirely confident they would have let Apple go to the wall in a heartbeat.

Re:wtf (1, Informative)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#42779427)

Microsoft invested in Apple as a token gesture. It was an insignificant event save for people like you who took it hook, line, and sinker.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778787)

Since I do not ever use Microsoft products I can experience amusement at stories like this. What masochistic urge causes MS customers to put up with so much of their shit? No matter what they do there is always some jackass prepared to defend them. Insanity I tell you. Insanity!

Re: wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778991)

I use MS products and I don't know what exactly makes it so painful. I tried alternatives but for my use I can say MS products I use are the best option. It's just a matter of what works for you may not work that good for everyone else.

Re:wtf (1)

macs4all (973270) | about a year ago | (#42778985)

This is Slashdot. Playing fast and loose with the fact in order to come up with an anti- Apple conclusion is a time-honored tradition around here.

FTFY.

Re:wtf (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#42778771)

The reason Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac wasn't altruism. He was at the time trying to fight off the Justice Departments charges of abusing their monopoly. Porting Office was one way to show they weren't really a big bad evil that refused to play nice.

Re:wtf (3, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year ago | (#42778847)

Office has been available for mac since 1989, before it was even available for Windows. Office on mac wasn't something that happened in reaction to antitrust investigations.

Re:wtf (4, Informative)

samkass (174571) | about a year ago | (#42778929)

Indeed... Microsoft Excel was refining itself on the Mac when Lotus 1-2-3 on DOS was the primary spreadsheet for the business world in the 80's. It wasn't until OS/2's failure in the early 90's (when the other office software had generally gone the OS/2 path) that Office-on-Windows really picked up steam. Each version of Word was ported to Windows from the Mac until the much-maligned 5.0 version when they tried to reverse it and failed badly. The question in the late 90's, though, was whether Microsoft would cancel the Mac version of Office entirely or keep it going. The fact that it was always profitable probably helped the decision, but in promising to do so and investing $150M they got out of a huge number of lawsuits they probably would have lost.

Re:wtf (3, Insightful)

mfnickster (182520) | about a year ago | (#42779015)

Each version of Word was ported to Windows from the Mac until the much-maligned 5.0 version when they tried to reverse it and failed badly.

I think you mean Word 6.0 for Mac, which was ungodly slow on most machines. Word 5.1 was highly regarded as the last "good version" of Word on the Mac for many years.

Re:wtf (0)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#42778989)

Well yes I meant porting Office 98. They hadn't made a move on Mac before that since 94 and probably wouldn't have without heat from Justice.

Re:wtf (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779009)

True, but once Windows got popular, Mac Office was left to rot for many years. Office 98 was the key part of the Microsoft-Apple alliance which symbolically indicated that MS wasn't going to let Apple go bankrupt. (They settled a bunch of lawsuits and cross-licensed their patents too.)

Re:wtf (-1, Troll)

macs4all (973270) | about a year ago | (#42779057)

Office has been available for mac since 1989, before it was even available for Windows. Office on mac wasn't something that happened in reaction to antitrust investigations.

Nice try; but you are missing the point.

Although most of the MS Office suite WAS available on Macs long before they were on Windows, MS was threatening to STOP producing Office for Mac before that fateful (and widely booed) "promise" by Gates to "continue to develop Office for the Mac for the next 5 years".

Re:wtf (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#42779619)

Lotus was the #1 threat more than MacOS back in 1989. WordPerfect as well was high up there for MS. Dos aint done until Lotus wont run remember?

It would make sense for them to port it and even make some money in the process. MS needed Office to run on everything gui so that way offices with Pcs and Macs could use the same software and share files back and forth. Yes, MS wanted them to use Windows but Windows 3.0 was not out yet. Windows 1.x was an ugly dos shell really.

IT was the same reason MS developed IE for Solaris and MacOS, and MacOSX. Because at the time Netscape was more of a threat then their Windows monopoly. Of course we all know what happened next after MS killed the competition. IE became Windows only.

This time around Apple is more of a threat. Windows RT/8/mobile have single digit marketshare with Android and Apple taking up everything. What will stop the corps 10 years from now from sticking with Windows then? My guess is cloud and HTML 5 apps like salesforce.com will be SAP, Oracle, and everything else where no PC or version of IE will be required. The IT department can be eliminated and outsourced with a managed service provider and works can switch to Tablets with keyboards.

Whoops no more Windows except to run ancient shit through a Citrix browser terminal session. Office needs to be Windows only and I would consider cancelling the mac version if I were Balmer too.

People must need to get used to Metro if it is going to survive and if you want to run Word then too bad you need a Windows 8 device to do so.

Re:wtf (0)

macs4all (973270) | about a year ago | (#42779007)

The reason Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac wasn't altruism. He was at the time trying to fight off the Justice Departments charges of abusing their monopoly. Porting Office was one way to show they weren't really a big bad evil that refused to play nice.

Thank you!!! Someone who actually REMEMBERS history...

Re:wtf (3, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year ago | (#42779019)

They never "ported" Office to the Mac; it was already there. Excel was born on the Mac, and Word for Mac was one of the early apps to legitimize it as a platform (when Windows was still a questionable alternative). What happened years later was MS promising to continue Office:Mac (and IE for Mac), a deal that gave the then-faltering Mac a safer future, and gave MS cover from abuse-of- monopoly accusations.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779505)

Around 1995-6 they did actually "port" Microsoft Office to the Mac. Many people were not happy about it because they saw the Mac version as superior. Presumably Microsoft wanted both products to look the same.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778773)

It was obviously a troll.

Now, Apple is knocking on the door of Microsoft's business and Redmond seems disinclined to answer for a retardedly large 30% cut of their profits.

FTFY

Re:wtf (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779199)

It's not "30% of profits". It's "30% of all fee's, in perpetuity... gross sales". Skydrive subscription fees? 30%. Yearly Fees? 30%. If they move off of the iPhone? doesn't matter... 30% in perpetuity.

I would tell Apple to fuck off as well...

It's not like Apple is innovating anymore anyways... Same iOS (with WORSE software, ala crApple Maps) on different sizes - including the Mini that Jobs said would never happen. They definitely have a few more years in them, but the longer they go without any innovation the more irrelevant they'll become. Android has them beat, across the board... MS is more innovative... BB10 has a chance to remain relevant... Apple? They might release different sizes... oh and a TV *rolls eyes*.

Re:wtf (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a year ago | (#42778855)

Not only that, but Microsoft NEEDED Apple to do well in order to claim they didn't have a monopoly. Bill Gates felt no pity for Apple.

Microsoft Options for Windows, 90s (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42779603)

How come? Microsoft could have developed its applications for OS/2 (and OS/2-PPC), and proved the DoJ wrong. It could have ported them to VMS, or NEXTSTEP or (w/ more difficulty) any of the Unixes out there. In fact, the biggest evidence against their abuse of monopoly was NT/RISC. If Microsoft really wanted a 'Windows, windows everywhere' as was once alleged, they'd have been more aggressive about getting all their apps on NT/MIPS and getting Silicon Graphics to support it, as well as NT/Alpha, which DEC was doing a good job supporting, as well as Intergraph's Clipper and Sparc ports. Such a policy would have been similar to Linux's goal of 'world domination' in that it would have had NT and Windows apps running on all platforms, and denied the x86 a lock on the market.

So why would Microsoft pick Apple, of all companies, to port its software, when they didn't even have a comprehendible platform strategy at the time?

Re:wtf (1)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#42778913)

What "conclusion"? There is no conclusion in the text you quoted. It is two contrasting statements of fact.

Re:wtf (1)

nevesis (970522) | about a year ago | (#42779023)

Windows 8 has a real chance at beating iOS/Android in the enterprise, which eventually makes it a challenger at home also, and this is in large part due to the ability to run Office - and *the full Office suite* at that. Why would Microsoft want to give away this advantage in exchange for short term Office sales?

Re:wtf (1)

teg (97890) | about a year ago | (#42779069)

Windows 8 has a real chance at beating iOS/Android in the enterprise, which eventually makes it a challenger at home also, and this is in large part due to the ability to run Office - and *the full Office suite* at that. Why would Microsoft want to give away this advantage in exchange for short term Office sales?

Because if it is phrased like that, anti trust authorities in many countries would take action: Using a monopoly/dominant position in one area (office software) to expand market share in a different area (mobile devices) is not considered a good/legal thing to do.

Re:wtf (4, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#42779187)

Windows 8 has a real chance at beating iOS/Android in the enterprise, which eventually makes it a challenger at home also, and this is in large part due to the ability to run Office - and *the full Office suite* at that. Why would Microsoft want to give away this advantage in exchange for short term Office sales?

<Homer Simpson voice>Mmmmmmm.... Kool-Aid....</Homer Simpson voice>

Re:wtf (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year ago | (#42779379)

It's ironic — when Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac nearly 20 years ago, it was seen as a lifeline for the beleaguered manufacturer. Now, Microsoft is knocking on the door of Apple's business and Cupertino seems disinclined to answer.

This conclusion absolutely does not follow from the sentence that came before it.

Not only that it's COMPLETELY wrong!

  • As pointed out below in the comments Office wasn't ported to the Mac for altruistic reasons, it was ported due to DOJ monopoly investigations
  • Uhhh, which company is beleaguered today???? Oh yeah, NEITHER!
  • "Prior to packaging its various office-type Macintosh software applications into Office, Microsoft released Mac versions of Word 1.0 in 1984, the first year of the Macintosh computer; Excel 1.0 in 1985; and PowerPoint 1.0 in 1987.[62] Microsoft does not include its Access database application in Office for Mac." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office#Macintosh_versions [wikipedia.org] If I remember correctly the first all inclusive Office for the Mac as a bundle was in 1988. So, try more than 20 years of Office on the Mac, and it was written during Apple's hayday in the 1980s not the mid-1990s when Apple was "beleaguered".

Is there anyone in the /. editorial crew that was born before the CD? This whole article should never have made it to the page. It's just not in the slightest bit correct. I would assume it was written by someone that watches a lot of Faux (Fox) News. Disgraceful.

Re:wtf (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42779521)

Yeah, IIRC, the choice of Office suites for Apple users was typically ClarisWorks. Office was there, but hardly the thing that drove Mac sales - those who wanted mainly that could get Windoze.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779615)

Your a moron If you cant understand this.

Mojoki, the submitter, is an idiot. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778683)

Word and Excel have been on the Mac since their inception. Much longer than 20 years.

So make it free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778685)

Make the app free and unable to purchase subscription through.

also why other pro apps will not be in other appst (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42778693)

also why other pro apps will not be in other app stores.

adobe CS 30% cut is way to high and sand boxing.

autocad 30% is to high as well.

Re:also why other pro apps will not be in other ap (3, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#42778893)

What cut do you think retail takes?

And what fee do you think is right for someone that has to supply unlimited bandwidth and insfratructure support to get your app to people everytime they want to reinstall it as well as free 5gb of backup space.

If that's so unreasonable then why is Microsoft taking 30%? Even Google takes 30%. Microsoft just wants special treatment and quite frankly they can suck it. That's not fair to the small developers.

Re:also why other pro apps will not be in other ap (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#42779143)

What cut do you think retail takes?

Its not retail that the Mac App Store would compete against. It the online stores of Microsoft, Adobe and other large publishers who can afford their own digital distribution channels.

The Mac App Store makes more sense when you are small and "unknown". If you have a well known and established product that people "seek out" then offering your own online store may be the better route.

Re:also why other pro apps will not be in other ap (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#42779577)

You're right Microsoft can provide their store and they do and they take 30%. So really for them to claim Apple is being unfair is hypocritical.

Re:also why other pro apps will not be in other ap (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#42779643)

Windows Store takes 30% off the sale price of the app - not off the price of any in-app purchases, subscriptions etc. You can sell an app for free, and use in-app purchases (your own - so you'll have to handle credit card transactions etc) to enable its functionality.

Apple, on the other hand, wants 30% off Office subscription. Furthermore, they want to keep charging that 30% even after the user who purchased it has migrated away from Apple devices - just because he originally bought it on iPhone.

Re:also why other pro apps will not be in other ap (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#42779173)

Regarding the "Apple supply bandwidth, infrastructure and payment method" argument that crops up commonly in these discussions - its a facetious argument because the seller HAS NO FUCKING CHOICE IN THE MATTER even if they do have the ability to do it.

I'm sure both Adobe and Microsoft have the ability to replace Apples "contribution" completely, but they aren't allowed to by Apple. They aren't even allowed to attempt to, its completely verboten - you have to use Apples distribution service, you have to use their payment gateway, you have to use their app store otherwise your app simply won't happen.

And thats the point being made. Its not about what Apple offer, its about them refusing to allow those than can equal them in capability to actually do it.

Re:also why other pro apps will not be in other ap (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42779089)

The mark-up for selling a bicycle and bike parts is 40 percent.
Clothing is 100 percent.

A 30% cut of the retail price is probably lower than brick-and-mortar. Do you honestly think that Microsoft gets the full $300 you pay for Windows 7 Pro from Fry's?

--
BMO

Re:also why other pro apps will not be in other ap (2)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#42779169)

You're joking right? The retailer markup is more than enough to cover Apple's 30%. These are just cheap bastards that don't want to pay for distribution... In spite of their prices being an order of magnitude higher than when they were actually sold in stores. They all spent the last decade pulling their products from retail making users buy from their gated communities... Apple just re-invented the retail software store again, which means your products compete on a shelf with everybody else. Again that sucks if you've spent billions buying up and driving everybody else off the shelves.

Almost all of these companies have had or have their own gated stores with FAR more onerous terms than Apple.

Re:also why other pro apps will not be in other ap (1)

macs4all (973270) | about a year ago | (#42779285)

also why other pro apps will not be in other app stores.

adobe CS 30% cut is way to high and sand boxing.

autocad 30% is to high as well.

So, that means they won't be in the Windows App Store, either, nor will they ever be in the Google Play Store.

Yes, the Windows App Store goes down to 20% after so much volume (which Apple would do, too, if there were actually any pressure to do so); but I'm pretty sure that won't be sufficient to both of those TRULY money-hungry publishers.

Interestingly enough, both [adobe.com] of your example [hmcarchitects.com] companies actually have plenty of touch applications.

In fact, speaking of Autodesk, the long-standing Mac-centric Architectural site, Architosh, in a review of the Autodesk app "Formit", said the following [architosh.com]:

"We are getting deeply impressed by Autodesk’s commitment to Apple’s mobile iOS platform. No other CAD or 3D company has gone so far this fast in creating a stable of interesting “apps” for Apple’s platform–targeting both iPhone and the newer iPad."

So, not exactly sure where you're getting your "lack of interest", especially in regard to iOS, by these companies.

the MS app store better not be come the only way (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42778705)

the MS app store better not be come the only way to get windows apps as windows will lose all of it's pro apps and steam games to Linux.

android has more then 1 appstore IOS and windows (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42778717)

android has more then 1 app store IOS and windows need to copy that.

Re:android has more then 1 appstore IOS and window (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42778857)

android has more then 1 app store IOS and windows need to copy that.

Apple: Why?
Microsoft: We'd love to get a cut of most app sales.

Why do we need app stores that make software 40%+ more expensive (assuming a 30% cut, to make $10 you must charge $14.29)? Can't people sell their own software like on Windows and OS X today?

Re:android has more then 1 appstore IOS and window (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779061)

> Can't people sell their own software like on Windows and OS X today?

But that wouldn't make Apple filthy stinking rich! ...say what you want about their "walled garden" strategy, you have to admit it worked beautifully.

Re:android has more then 1 appstore IOS and window (1)

macs4all (973270) | about a year ago | (#42779357)

Why do we need app stores that make software 40%+ more expensive (assuming a 30% cut, to make $10 you must charge $14.29)? Can't people sell their own software like on Windows and OS X today?

How much is 40% of FREE? For example, here's a list of (almost all FREE. Not one more than US$5) Autodesk apps for iOS [hmcarchitects.com]. How much do you think Apple "makes" from them? How much more expensive did the Apple App Store make this software?

And where did you pull 40% from? All 3 of the major "App" Stores take the same 30%
And if it could be done cheaper in a reasonable fashion, don't you think that at least one of those would be doing it?

Oh, excuse me: Microsoft (sort of) is, but only on high-volume sales. For the vast majority of "people" who "sell their own software", it's 30% accross the board.

Re:android has more then 1 appstore IOS and window (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about a year ago | (#42778885)

Windows 8 already has 3 major apps stores that I can think of off the top of my head:
1) MS App Store
2) Steam
3) Any website

Also, the MS App Store lets you get Desktop Apps direct from the vendor. They don't even demand a cut of the action. The Windows 8 app ecosystem has everything going for it in spades better than iOS (easily) or even Android's openness.

If you don't go with a Metro App from Microsoft's storefront, you can still use the style elements and as I recall you can still hook into WinRT. You just won't be able to sell on ARM based platforms or use some WinRT functionality (Live Tiles stick out off the top of my head).

Re:android has more then 1 appstore IOS and window (4, Informative)

adamstew (909658) | about a year ago | (#42779315)

Apples and Oranges. You are comparing Microsoft's desktop operating system with Apple's mobile operating systems. If you compare Apple's Desktop operating system (OS X) to Microsoft's Desktop Operating System (Windows 8) then you still have the same 3 options: Apple's App Store, Steam, and any website.

If you compare Microsoft's MOBILE operating systems (Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone) to Apple's mobile operating system (iOS), you end up with the same comparison: You are able to get apps from the sanctioned app store of the vendor.

Re:android has more then 1 appstore IOS and window (1, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#42778909)

Play and Amazon both take 30% so what benefit is there to Microsoft (who also takes 30% from their store sales) and Android is the worst because Google basically makes you open up your phone to vulnerabilities just to add legit sources like Amazon.

Re:android has more then 1 appstore IOS and window (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779215)

Its funny how you manage to turn a postive into a negative. You don't even have the option of installing other legit sources on iOS or Windows Phone/RT.

And enabling "unknown sources" doesn't open your phone to vulnerabilities unless you are an idiot, even with that box ticked you'll still get prompted when you want to install apps, so its not like anything can sneak itself onto your phone without your permission, if you stick to Amazon's app store you'll likely be just as safe as you would with Google's play store.

Re:android has more then 1 appstore IOS and window (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#42779191)

I love the fact that Android allows side loading, and thus the existance of alternate app stores, but they really need to make an AppStore API. Currently if you use an alternate app store, you have to enable side loading from anywere. You should be able to load an app as an "AppStore" application, and from that point forward, the OS should treat it as a trusted repository. This way we could all turn off load from "unknown sources".

Obvious. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42778725)

Look at the direction office is going now. Cloudy.

They won't *need* a native iOS version: A bit more work and most of it will be able to run as a web-app. It'll need extensive tweaking for each browser to manage such a complicated interface, but MS can manage that.

Re:Obvious. (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#42779189)

It'll need extensive tweaking for each browser to manage such a complicated interface, but MS can manage that.

Right, just like OWA [wikipedia.org] works fully on all browsers. After all, it's been out for a decade already and it's been redesigned several times...

Microsoft will never even try to "manage that", because it goes against Microsoft's core business model. While most companies accept that customers want tools that do the job well, Microsoft only makes tools that do the job well only when paired with other Microsoft products. This is why the term "Microsoft shop" is so much more common than an equivalent "Adobe shop" or "Oracle shop", or even an "Apple shop" - at least when referring to more than a single tool.

Despite Apple's alarming growth and nasty business tactics, I just can's seem to gather as much hatred for them as I can for Microsoft. Apple's tools are smooth. My iPad will easily work with anything else, whether it's connecting to OS X, Windows, or Linux (though Linux has some issues still). Using iTunes on Windows doesn't leave me looking for missing features, like I usually do when trying to use OWA from Chrome.

On the other hand, I expect that Office will never have an iOS app or a full WebKit-compatible interface. Microsoft can still bring its monopoly power to bear, and use its Office market share to promote its floundering Surface tablets. Some companies (probably including my current employer) will be interested in using tablets, but they need Office more than they need any feature of iOS, so they'll buy Surface tablets out of necessity, not choice.

Office documents are the last monopoly Microsoft has. Even its hold on the desktop OS market is breaking, as alternatives are becoming more viable with every new OS-agnostic cloud offering. Since Microsoft's main tactic has been to use its monopolies to force ancillary products on customers who just want things to work, I think we'll soon be seeing more extra "features" dropped into each new version of Office, just to force competitors to waste resources and maintain the all-important market share.

Re:Obvious. (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42779533)

>Look at the direction office is going now. Cloudy.

Yeah, sure, and do you trust a third party with all your data? Consider your GP, who might keep documents in the cloud. Do you think that your GP would like to be on the end of a federal prosecution and eventual civil lawsuits because of the release of medical records he/she could no longer control?

Seriously, we see private data companies lose their clients' data far too often.

HIPAA is a bitch and the "cloud" is not an option.

--
BMO

Funny (3, Interesting)

drolli (522659) | about a year ago | (#42778729)

Apple should probably pay MS to port MS Office to iOS and preinstall it on ipads.

That could tilt the movement to Android back in their direction.

just my 2c

Re:Funny (1)

slack_justyb (862874) | about a year ago | (#42778881)

That's a pretty high valuation of MS Office, which I doubt would really pay for itself, ever. Also, I don't see a *mass* migration of Android that Apple should be worry about. Yes, people are moving to Android but people are also moving to Apple. Yes the direction is greater in the Android direction, but that's to be expected in a duopoly. Highs and lows, that kind of stuff wouldn't make a serious company change any kind of course, because it's part of the normal model.

Office doesn't offer a ton in the way of content creation on mobile devices. Trying to use Office RT is just a waste unless you really have the little snappy keyboard and at that point, I rather be using a laptop than a mobile device. Unless something seriously changes in the Office UI department that can make the software more usable on a mobile device, I'll stick to the free stuff on Android (which granted, Google is seriously fucking up on delivering anything above pure shit on the Android platform for office documents) or iWork on Apple devices (which thus far has been the only serious productivity software for mobile devices, which is a shame because it's feature set leaves a ton lacking.)

I'm not saying that there is no need for productivity software on mobile devices, just saying that every vendor thus far has yet to produce something that is really going to be the tipping point that says, Damn it! I've really got to get MS Office/Google's Paid Office/iWork on my phone!!!

The most common thing I see is mobile users relying on desktop users to build the sheets from ground up and mobile users, adding bits of information as they go. If a large amount of information is needed in a read-only environment, convert to PDF is the number one thing I see desktop users do for mobile users. They can markup and annotate the PDF and send back to desktop users for review and change. Because all of this "works," there just isn't the same value for MS Office on Mobile as it has on Desktop. Hence, Apple would be at a serious disadvantage paying Microsoft to port it to iOS, they'd be getting very little in return. Someone at some point has to figure out how to give mobile users enough freedom that they don't have to keep going back to the desktop to build a document, without it taking an act of Congress to actually build.

Re:Funny (1)

caseih (160668) | about a year ago | (#42779049)

The last thing MS wants is to help iOS adoption. Balmer is fixated on his own answer, Windows 8 RT. There's no way he would undermine that with a deal like this. Plus he's also fixated on this office in the cloud bit. If you could run an nice slick interface to the cloud version of MS Office in Safari, I think that might be better for MS.

Re:Funny (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#42779223)

Apple should probably pay MS to port MS Office to iOS and preinstall it on ipads. That could tilt the movement to Android back in their direction.

For infrequent office document use, Apple's Pages and Numbers mac apps seem to have good Word and Excel compatibility, at least for the basic documents and spreadsheets that I have created and/or received. The Pages and Numbers ios apps are able to share documents with their mac counterparts via iCloud, admittedly I have not done much work via an iPad, just minor edits and emailing of documents.

Use the legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778735)

Just buy a law so they can sell it without paying the apple tax.

Summary is Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778739)

30% is only for in-app purchases. There are free apps that actually require payment to work. You pay on the developer's site and sign in inside the app. How does the submitter think Netflix subscriptions are paid on iOS?

Microsoft is just being arrogant in thinkng they should have a discount off the 30%.

Re:Summary is Wrong (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#42779279)

30% is only for in-app purchases. There are free apps that actually require payment to work. You pay on the developer's site and sign in inside the app. How does the submitter think Netflix subscriptions are paid on iOS?

Its not quite that simple. I don't think the app itself can send the user to the web site for the purchase. I believe this sort of service can only work when you have a pre-existing service outside of iOS apps, as is the case with your Netflix example. iOS apps can merely access such pre-existing paid services, not sign up for them.

There are ways around it (4, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#42778741)

MS isn't being creative enough is what it sounds like.

Offer the ability to create / edit documents via a free MS Office suite on the iDevice.

Offer a subscription service to be able to save/open those files off the device.

Apple isn't forcing Netflix to hand over 30% of their revenue, because they give up the App for free.

But boo hoo, MS has to pay what everyone else does to Apple for the service.

Re:There are ways around it (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42778801)

Amazon doesn't pay anything either along with all the other enterprise software makers that have apps in the App Store that require subscriptions

You just have a login screen and can't mention anything about signing up or any links for the user to follow. Like amazon does

Amazon even sells kindle books via their iOS app with no revenue sharing with apple

Re:There are ways around it (1)

bazorg (911295) | about a year ago | (#42778931)

Offer the ability to create / edit documents via a free MS Office suite on the iDevice.

Offer a subscription service to be able to save/open those files off the device.

Then someone would find a little app that works around this limitation of where the files can be saved and MS would have given away a product that is really important for their overall sales. Giving discounts and freebies is really difficult to undo.

Re:There are ways around it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779247)

"Finding a little app that works around this limitation" doesn't fly in the enterprise market, which is where MSFT wants to be for the office products.

Re:There are ways around it (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about a year ago | (#42779367)

I could be wrong, but Apple only tries to take 30% when its in app purchase, its why skydrive was yanked off the app store as it had in app purchase for more space and apple wanted a cut.

Re:There are ways around it (1)

Spykk (823586) | about a year ago | (#42779395)

Right up until Apple decides that it competes with their own software and removes it. Now Microsoft is out all of the money it spent developing an iOS version of Office because they foolishly trusted an environment where a direct competitor dictates what can and cannot be sold, plus they marginalized the only upside to their own mobile OS. Staying out of Apple's walled garden is the only move that makes sense.

Piss poor article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778745)

No actually information is contained in this article. Speculation about an easy to speculate topic is all you'll find.
Additionally, Office was already available on the Mac when that deal was made. It was an agreement to CONTINUE development, not "port" anything.

OpenOffice/LibreOffice (3, Insightful)

ewieling (90662) | about a year ago | (#42778795)

Sounds like a perfect opportunity for OpenOffice or LibreOffice to be ported to iOS.

Re:OpenOffice/LibreOffice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778853)

Docstogo
Pages
Quickoffice
All have compatibility issues with microsoft office

LibreOffice is not going to solve that, so I think is going to be a waste of developer time to port it

Does Not Follow (1)

sehlat (180760) | about a year ago | (#42778809)

"Cupertino seems disinclined to answer."

You expect gratitude from a CEO? You'll be expecting truth from politicians and charity from bankers next!

LibreOffice 4.0 being released this month (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42778821)

I find it incredible that anyone still feeds this monopoly when viable alternatives have existed for years; It doesn't exist on Android set to overtake windows this year; Is stupidly expensive for a piece of software with no new compelling features for years; Written documents rarely done in Word...more likely email.

Ballmer is probably right Google Docs is likely to win on the new dominant platforms, personally though I find it insane that Microsoft would intentionally hurt its Monopoly in Office Suites.

Re:LibreOffice 4.0 being released this month (1)

n6kuy (172098) | about a year ago | (#42778867)

Except for certain managers where I work. They write their plain text emails in Word, then attach the Word file to the email...

Re:LibreOffice 4.0 being released this month (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778943)

Except for certain managers where I work. They write their plain text emails in Word, then attach the Word file to the email...

Use Polaris Office.
That's what I use on Android, have no need at all for Microsoft Office.

Would be much less than 30% (1)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about a year ago | (#42778823)

Look at Netflix - a very tiny minority of users subscribe to Netflix through AppleTV using their iTunes account.

Very few people would also subscribe to Office365 through an iDevice. Most will subscribe through other means and download the app for free.

I call hogwash.

Excel has been around since 1985 (3, Informative)

hemp (36945) | about a year ago | (#42778835)

Microsoft shipped Excel for Apple OS in 1985, a few years before shipping a version for Windows.

Re:Excel has been around since 1985 (1)

udittmer (89588) | about a year ago | (#42778955)

Yep. PowerPoint was also first on the Mac. Word for Mac also happened in the mid-80s. Granted, calling it "Office " happened much later, but there wasn't much more to it than bundling the individual apps.

Re:Excel has been around since 1985 (2)

macs4all (973270) | about a year ago | (#42779675)

Yep. PowerPoint was also first on the Mac. Word for Mac also happened in the mid-80s. Granted, calling it "Office " happened much later, but there wasn't much more to it than bundling the individual apps.

Yep, check out these 1.0 version screenshots [bink.nu] for Mac Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Note the dates. In fact, Microsoft Word was CHARACTER-BASED for FOUR YEARS after it was a GUI app on MacOS, DESPITE having two Xerox PARC engineers as it's core [wikipedia.org].

Visual BASIC (although not an "office" app) was ALSO developed as "Microsoft BASIC for Macintosh" for THREE versions before they inexplicably did NOT port it to System 7. Here is the only screenshot [macgui.com] I can find.

Then, the very next year, Visual BASIC for Windows (only) came out. Mac developers recognized it as their "denied" Mac BASIC.

Same thing with Access: Both MS Access AND FileMaker started from "Microsoft File", which was a Mac-Only database (unfortunately, I can't find even a single screenshot, but trust me, anyone who has developed in, or used Access or FileMaker would recognize it immediately). I still have a 3.5" floppy with the application on it. Then it simply "went away" on MacOS. Curious that MS has NEVER seen fit to release an "Access" for Macs, though.

So, you might say that Microsoft owes NEARLY EVERY SINGLE MAJOR "OFFICE" APPLICATION they sell (except the Exchange Suite) to the development work that was ORIGINALLY MAC-ONLY.

Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778851)

Google's already got the Google Drive app on iOS. You can edit your office Docs there and have all changes sync back to your desktop

MSFT should do this..fast. But they won't (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#42778865)

This is an interesting story, despite the terrible summary.

For work & family, I have to juggle documents across Linux, Windows, BBerry, Apple and Android devices.
Probably the same for many people here.

First of all, there's no need for this, since Apple (and others) already offer perfectly adequate apps for viewing, and even editing, MS Office documents on iPad and iPhone. But having tried it, I guarantee you'll only do it once. Sticking rusty nails in your eye is probably less painful.
Well, OK, at least you can view PPT slides in (vaguely) something like their original format. But still best to send as a PDF...

MS have shot themselves in the foot by getting rid of LiveMesh, (which worked very well), and replacing it with Skydrive, which works well too, but is more complex and brings no extra benefit. Extra demerit points to the boys in Redmond for giving the web interface a Windows 8 style tiled look, which sucks. Extra, super idiot points for there being no online document editing abilities like Google Docs.

Apple's iCloud does not sync docs (why?), so Google drive, MS Skydrive, Sugarsync and Evernote to the rescue.

But there's no nirvana yet - I would love for Google to invest in the LibreOffice program...
Imagine LibreOffice on all your devices, with instant shared access to all documents. Fsuk yes!
Given iOS and Android's root, how hard could it be?

 

Why? (1)

Skiron (735617) | about a year ago | (#42778871)

What I do not understand is WHY people need to 'share' and 'edit' word processor documents or spreadsheets 'on line' anyway. Why?

Re:Why? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#42778963)

People never needed to use the Brand X tool for this. They just bought into the hype and propaganda. Now that there's something that looks like a new platform, people are willing to challenge old ideas. The notion that you need a particular brand of Word Perfect overkill is starting to look more and more silly.

No msoffice on the new shiny shiny is allowing people to realize that perhaps they never needed it at all.

Re:Why? (1)

udittmer (89588) | about a year ago | (#42778977)

To work on them collaboratively from disparate locations. Emailing document versions back and forth or having people access the document off a file server don't come close.

Re:Why? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#42779327)

I regularly work on a spreadsheets with a colleague in real-time on Google Docs. It allows us to brainstorm and generate short term work lists in a fraction of the time that we could do email documents back and forth. The fact that we can see each others cursors makes it easy to highlight and point out what text we are talking about.

We used to do screen sharing to accomplish this, but that limited us to only working with the documents when we both are online and only one of use being able to add to the document at a time. With Google's online spreadsheet, we can start on the same page, and at the appropriate time, we can split off, updating different parts of the document that the original will rely on, and then come back to the shared portion seamlessly.

So, technically, I don't "NEED" to share the document online, but much like indoor plumbing, it is way more pleasant to have.

You people aren't thinking strategically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779021)

If I were part of Apple and had the kind of cash they do, I'd acquire Corel in Canada. Not only would I have access to WordPerfect Office suite to push, I'd also have tools to keep Adobe paying attention and respecting me too. Whether I chose to not use them or not would be my leverage. Really, at this point in time, I'd go after MS on the Office front and keep the rest of Corel's software to myself for a future battle with Adobe.

It's simple.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42779071)

Back them Gates was struggling as well. So it was a mutual thing. Today, only MSFT has anything to gain from office on the iOS platform. On an iOS device the ONLY useful app is really powerpoint, and Apple has Keynote that is vastly superior to powerpoint in every way. Why would someone want to downgrade to powerpoint on iOS?

No sane person would want to work on spreadsheets on a tablet. Same for everything else in the MS OFFICE lineup outside of PowerPoint.

MS office is losing. It is losing slowly but it is in fact losing. I see more and more businesses using alternatives such as Google Docs, Libre Office, and other options. The fact that MS is moving Office online as a subscription model shows me they know it's losing the battle.

Re:It's simple.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779243)

"No sane person would want to work on spreadsheets on a tablet. Same for everything else in the MS OFFICE lineup outside of PowerPoint."

Now you sound like apple when they said noone would ever want a device between an iphone and ipad in size. They had to literally kill off their CEO to change that stance.

Your opinion that Office is losing because it has multiple companies copying it, doesnt really hold water, unless you are willing to say that Apple is also losing due to the amount of better products available.

One of the main drivers for moving Office online was to cut back on the amount of piracy. Care to guess which platform has the highest percentage of piracy?

Re:It's simple.... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#42779429)

Spreadsheets on tablets make complete sense. Particularly if you are talking about a 10" tablet. Buy a ClamCase http://clamcase.com/ [clamcase.com] for your iPad, and saying that spreadsheets on a table make no sense is the same thing as saying spreadsheets on a laptop make no sense.

Office applications on tablets is down right inevitable because tablets replacing most laptops is inevitable.

Re:Fat chance (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#42779583)

The corporate market is not going anyware. First, MS Office is the defecto standard. Nothing can compare or is 100% compatible iwth all its proprietary formats nor integrates with what they have.

Second, with Google's refusal to support IE 6 and IE 7 plus now even refusing the modern IE 8 means a no go to businesses.

Before I get bashed for calling IE 8 cutting edge, 90% of intranet apps wont support anything newer. This is new software sold right now in 2013 requires it! Sorry Google but HTML 5 is a 2021 technology when Windows 7 goes EOL, not a 2013. We wont switch and many large enterprises like Chase Bank are spending $30 million right this econd upgrading to IE 8. To these CIOs that browser is cutting edge because their +50 apps before it still required IE 6 or 7.

Third, MS wants you to use Metro for everything and if Office is on Android and IOS it means we no longer need Windows. A terrible move for them. Balmer is right and I would have killed it or at least developed them privately for MS employees only and only if Windows RT/Windows Mobile 8 fail would I release them for other platforms.

Apple won't bite because it knows it'll be a flop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779091)

Office productivity apps on a tablet/phone? Paying monthly subscription for Office?

If Office was really such a killer app, Windows phones and Surface would be selling like hotcakes now (they're not).

Microsoft should stop worrying about Apple and Android and start worrying about Blackberry.

take it (-1)

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What iPhone user knows how to use Office? (1)

cvtan (752695) | about a year ago | (#42779473)

Maybe there's an Excel port of Farmville 2... or maybe Angry Words or Temple Run Powerpoint.

Office is dead (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#42779659)

Great office for iOS, who cares! There are many equally good open source packages that actually bring a more powerful office experience to the user. Personally I'm a big fan of Libre Office and I find it bring more to the table as a great office suite, minus Excel you really don't need office in a given day. So even if Office never see's iOS I don't see a lot of people caring.
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