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Microsoft Could Earn Billions From Office For iOS

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the only-if-they-knew-how-to-play-nice-with-others dept.

Microsoft 188

Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft is leaving billions of dollars on the table by not porting Office to the iPad, according to a new analyst report. That analyst, Morgan Stanley's Adam Holt, believes that Office for iOS would sell to approximately 30 percent of all iPad users; priced at $60 per copy, that comes to a grand total of $2.5 billion per year — minus Apple's cut of the revenues, of course. But does Microsoft actually want Office for iOS out there? It's not necessarily in the company's best interest to rush such a platform to market, even if billions of dollars potentially hang in the balance — it's too busy pushing Office as a cloud-based, OS-agnostic platform. And Microsoft has another reason, aside from pushing the cloud version of Office, to de-emphasize the prospect of its productivity software on iOS: In a bid to draw more customers to its new hardware, Microsoft preloaded its Surface RT tablets with Office; offering the software on a rival touch-screen would take a major selling point off the table."

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Again with this shit (5, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911541)

TFA is riddled with retarded assumptions. Too many times have I seen things like "I think 30% of all people would buy it", based on muddy facts or even no facts at all. GAAAH!

Re:Again with this shit (3, Funny)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911589)

about 1% would buy it... maybe they'd get more subs to office 365 or something..

but even with 1%.. if you count ios selling forever then they're losing an infinite amount of money!

Re:Again with this shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911941)

the $2 billion 'estimate' is based on 30% sales to every ipad sold.. which is a bit over 120 million worldwide.

i think most ipads are used mainly as toys (games, email, browsing, chatting, facebook and twitter shit, etc), not for actual 'work'.

imho, your 1% is a little low, that 30% is way high. perhaps 10-15% of ipads in north america and europe, and other "first world" (for lack of better term) markets.. but NOT globally.

they might be able to hit 30% of ipads *using* office for IOS if it were included with purchase of microsoft office for the pc or mac.

either way, microsoft is making a huge (potentially billion-dollar) gamble by using office as the primary leverage for surface tablet sales.

Re:Again with this shit (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911993)

Then let's consider Microsoft could actually produce office tools which make the best use of a Tablet or Smart Phone. I find their tools to be a challenge even with a keyboard and mouse - too much feature bloat.

Office apps on touch-only devices are a bad idea (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912691)

Office-type applications will never be a good fit for tablets and smartphones. The applications are primarily used for content creation. The devices are primarily useful for content consumption, and suck at content creation in almost every conceivable way, starting with having tiny screens and having no fast, accurate way to input data.

Look at iWorks as a better guide? (1)

Webcommando (755831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912079)

the $2 billion 'estimate' is based on 30% sales to every ipad sold.. which is a bit over 120 million worldwide.

i think most ipads are used mainly as toys (games, email, browsing, chatting, facebook and twitter shit, etc), not for actual 'work'.

imho, your 1% is a little low, that 30% is way high. perhaps 10-15% of ipads in north america and europe, and other "first world" (for lack of better term) markets

To build on your point, I think looking at the sales numbers (if such can be found) on the iWorks applications from Apple would at least give a better baseline than the guess they are making. If you could make a reasonable assumption on business's adoption of Office instead, then you would have a guess based more on facts.

I have an iPad I use at work every day. I use iWorks to review documents sent to me and it does an OK job as long as long as the documents are fairly standard. Unfortunately, the default MS fonts and our business's custom one cause Keynote to render PowerPoint files fairly poorly when it tries to find a font close enough.

Moral of the story: I would gladly download a copy of Office for iPad

I applaud Microsoft for this. (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911681)

I applaud Microsoft for this. Using Office as a stick to try to force people into buying a tablet they don't want is a much better strategy than selling Office to people who actually want to buy it.

Re:I applaud Microsoft for this. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911895)

Businesswise, it may well be. Office on iPad could make a lot of money, true. But a successful alternative to the iPad, controlled by MS with an MS app store? That's a lot more money. If Microsoft are to rival Apple they need ever advantage they can get, and Office exclusivity is a big advantage.

Re:I applaud Microsoft for this. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912237)

More profitable than making a tablet that people would want to buy even if Office was available on iPads?

Re:I applaud Microsoft for this. (3, Insightful)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912621)

Businesswise, it may well be. Office on iPad could make a lot of money, true. But a successful alternative to the iPad, controlled by MS with an MS app store? That's a lot more money. If Microsoft are to rival Apple they need ever advantage they can get, and Office exclusivity is a big advantage.

And according to a recent /. article, if I could snare an asteroid, bring it into earth orbit and mine the sucker I'd be able to pocket $195 billion, if, if, if. Here's a few bit more supposition: Microsoft is not going to make a dent in Apple's share of the mobilem market much less Google's Android OS empire just like that ** snaps fingers **. The bigger threat is Google so another option would be to accept this reality and make tons of money backing Apple against Google by releasing MS office for iOS but not Android. That would hurt Google/Android in the enterprise market since you'd instantly have a cloud enabled Office suite that is cross platform over Windows, Windows Phone, OS x and iOS with native and web apps but not on Android. Google is the bigger threat, business is war, war creates odd alliances.

Re:Again with this shit (5, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911717)

Sixty dollars per copy. By Deus! It's full of nonsense.

Re:Again with this shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911947)

Why nonsense? Buying Numbers and Numbers for iPhone comes in at 30 dollars. Buy that and the rest of the iOS/OSX office suite from Apple and you're looking at 90 dollars for something that really isn't as robust as MSO. Granted, I think the market share numbers are a tad bit high but I can see it being a serious software package and work the 60 dollars. I think they'd have much higher market share if they'd match the iOS/Apple office suite prices. But in the end I think it would be a good move for MS even at the 60 dollar mark.

Re:Again with this shit (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912549)

Why are you including the OS X iWork apps in your figures? This article is just about a potential iOS version of Office. If you want to include OS X apps, then you have to include Office for Mac, which costs a minimum of $90 by itself.

For the record, though, I think that $60 would be a reasonable price, so long as it has full compatibility and the majority of Office's desktop features.

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912161)

Should software be free?
I'm going "By Deus" on software going for $0.99
Or the ones going for free. Only because money is hard to come by in *my* life. I completely support (in spirit, not monetary contributions) free and open source software.

I can't afford to contribute several hundred hours of my time right now because I have monthly student debt to pay back.

Re:why? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913101)

Not saying it should be free or $1, but that's way out of the tablet software price range. And it probably won't be feature equivalent with the desktop one.

MS's rumoured plan to give it away a part of Office 365 subs makes sense. Remove that sticker shock.

Re:Again with this shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912349)

Not nonsense. I would pay the going rate of $150 or whatever MS charges for a desktop version. It would be such a productivity enhancer for me at work I can't even quantify it. I wouldn't even think about paying $60... I'll offer it up front to subsidize development for god's sake.

Re:Again with this shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912409)

Think about how much money they are losing by not offering it for $500 a copy!

Re:Again with this shit (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912545)

...And then you disappear into the void :)

Re:Again with this shit (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911787)

TFA is riddled with retarded assumptions. Too many times have I seen things like "I think 30% of all people would buy it", based on muddy facts or even no facts at all. GAAAH!

Not only that, but the article positively reeks of Apple fanboism. That said, yes, I do have Apple hardware but it is strictly utilitarian. I don't believe any one technology is superior to the other. Surface, Android, and iPad have upsides and downsides. For me, the decision came down to the accuracy of the on-screen keyboard and Apple won that battle. The trade off for having a keyboard well suited to my fingers is a locked down, walled garden. For others, this is not as important.

Re:Again with this shit (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911897)

Well, gosh, I know that I'm TOTALLY going to pay $60 for an "office" application on a device that I can only type a couple dozen words per minute on, rather than at a desktop or laptop, where I can type 100wpm.

I think a lot of people would simply view anything you need a full blown $60 office application for as something you need more than a small screen with a touch-screen-keyboard that takes up 50% of the screen for, too.

Re:Again with this shit (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912113)

This might make sense if it was an Android tablet. MS could include this as part of licensing and gain revenue from every tablet that a firm owns. More likely, however, it would be a rear guard action, insuring that users continue to use the MS products as they do more editing on mobile devices.

As far as iPad goes, MS Office for iPad would just be a profit center for Apple(30%? of sale price goes to Apple) and would solidify the iPad as The Tablet, something that MS clearly does not want to happen given the Great Surface Hope.

Honestly Pages, Keynote and Numbers pretty much do everything I need to do, for a price of around $100, not connected to a single machine, not subscriber, not subject to MS coming in and auditing my machines if they feel they need more cash. Google Docs is working better on mobile, and of course there is always the open Office Applications. All of these deal with most files better than MS.

Which leads to people who need Outlook, Project, OneNote, and other stuff. Both iOS and Android seem to not have a problem with Outlook email and calendar, so that is not so much an issue. The other stuff is what most people think when they think MS Office. So I would think MS needs to get MS Windows 8 up and running and try to move MS Office to Surface. They are going to have enough trouble moving to a single machine/subscriber model when the rest of the consumer world is moving to free or much more open licensing.

Re:Again with this shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912123)

I've found such claims are correct 76% of the time.

Re:Again with this shit (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912905)

Do 30% of desktop users even buy Office? I can't remember the last time I saw a home computer with it on, instead of Open/Libre Office or whatever kludge comes preinstalled with an OEM Windows install. I'd guess that the number of desktops and laptops with Office installed is roughly identical to the number of machines used for business purposes, plus the number of people who are easily talked around by the salesman with a special offer in Currys.

Re:Again with this shit (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913351)

...Or those who pirate it :)
But I get your point though, here we're talking about legally installed suites, and yes, you're right.

Proactive respose (5, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911551)

Surely the proactive response is to market the current generation product, while synergising a coordinated strategy towards pushing market share towards the new market paradigm?

I just gagged a little writing that.

Re:Proactive respose (1)

TechieRefugee (2105386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911753)

I just murdered two CEOs after reading that.

Re:Proactive respose (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911769)

It's supposed to be 1 per buzzword, you still owe me some.

Re:Proactive respose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911827)

I still sort of wonder if SlashdotBI is just a very elaborate prank.

People still buy Office? (0, Flamebait)

Piata (927858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911553)

I've been using Open Office / Libre Office for at least 5 years now. It does more than I would ever need it to. Honestly... it has too much. So I don't see how there's even a market anymore for Microsoft Office, cloud or not.

Re:People still buy Office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911697)

Next you'll be asking "People still buy Visual Studio?", right?

Re:People still buy Office? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911747)

I've been using Open Office / Libre Office for at least 5 years now. It does more than I would ever need it to. Honestly... it has too much. So I don't see how there's even a market anymore for Microsoft Office, cloud or not.

I can see why you'd say that but, believe it or not, some of us have IT departments larger than our mom's basement.

Re:People still buy Office? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911867)

I've been using Open Office / Libre Office for at least 5 years now. It does more than I would ever need it to. Honestly... it has too much. So I don't see how there's even a market anymore for Microsoft Office, cloud or not.

I can see why you'd say that but, believe it or not, some of us have IT departments larger than our mom's basement.

Has "mom's basement" replaced "Library of Congresses" as the Slashdot standard unit of measure (SSUoM)?

Here's one datapoint: my last company had an IT department about the size of my mom's basement to support 1000 users. And we're using MS Office - almost half the company is on Mac's and they use MS Office too.

Re:People still buy Office? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911815)

I've been using Open Office / Libre Office for at least 5 years now. It does more than I would ever need it to. Honestly... it has too much. So I don't see how there's even a market anymore for Microsoft Office, cloud or not.

A lot of people can certainly use OpenOffice and any of its derivatives, but a lot is still using Microsoft Office. It's also very popular in businesses, often in connection with other Microsoft products like Microsoft Sharepoint. Microsoft Outlook and Exchange alone is a big reasons why businesses stay with Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office is far away from dying, it's not even close. And truth be told Microsoft Office is certainly not a bad product. It works seemingly well and has a decent price.

Microsoft Office is Overpriced (4, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912067)

I had a little look at what office would cost me. £220($340) for the crippled version £389.99($605) for the full version. I have used LibreOffice(originally openoffice) and it even has advantages over Microsoft Office its not just bad value. Its insanely overpriced.

Re:Microsoft Office is Overpriced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912143)

Well, you could also subscribe to it. Then the full version is $120 per year. That's a lot better than the $605 that you quote. Of course it depends on what life cycle you have for your apps. Many people keep an app for a long time, others upgrade with every version. If you do every version the $120 a year is cheaper by far. It also gets you access to office on 5 machines - which isn't bad.

Re:People still buy Office? (1)

Amouth (879122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912283)

Outlook + Exchange + Active-sync is the big ticket. i want someone to please show me a true drop in replacement that doesn't cost nearly the same amount.

Re:People still buy Office? (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911845)

We just switched from Open Office to MS Office 2010.
1 - It's generally more user-friendly for the tasks most of our users need to do
2 - It looks better, the interface is more aesthetic (surprisingly important when dealing with non-technical users)
3 - Easier to push out updates
4 - Better compatibility with outside vendors
5 - Better support

Re:People still buy Office? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911883)

Business is still the big market. No manager wants to risk their big presentation on having not-quite-perfect compatibility, so everyone making really important documents wants Microsoft Office. That means everyone else in the company needs Microsoft Office too, so they're all compatible and nobody's at risk of being "the guy who broke it".

As long as businesses send documents, they'll want their precious real-deal software to work on them. That lock-in is Microsoft's cash cow. Sure, the minor differences like a slightly-different word wrap are trivial to casual users, but enterprise users are picky about such things... and Microsoft will happily continue to tweak features to keep LibreOffice one step behind.

Once everyone needs Office, then everyone needs Windows, too. If they need a tablet, they need Surface. Once they're on Windows, they need Windows Server to manage everything, and that means they need Exchange and Lync for collaboration. Sure, there's alternatives, but the Microsoft reps will be quick to point out how much more difficult the integration is. With much-vaunted "compatibility" as the bait, Office is just one part of Microsoft's vicious hook.

Re:People still buy Office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912473)

Which really, is the same thing Apple does. They just focus on home users instead of business users.

Microsoft is wise to hold Office exclusive to the surface if they want Surface to succeed. However there's a good chance surface will fail anyway and then they've given Apple breathing room to make iWork better which may end up being a mistake. Only time will tell.

Re:People still buy Office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912017)

I've been using Open Office / Libre Office for at least 5 years now. It does more than I would ever need it to. Honestly... it has too much. So I don't see how there's even a market anymore for Microsoft Office, cloud or not.

Because solipsism means never having to admit you're a fringe case, nor having to understand why you are in the first place!

Re:People still buy Office? (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913037)

It does more than I would ever need it to. Honestly... it has too much. So I don't see how there's even a market anymore for Microsoft Office, cloud or not.

Microsoft positions the MS Office suite as part of an integrated office system that scales to an enterprise of any size. with solutions for the client, the server and the web.

Microsoft Office 365 for Health Organizations [microsoft.com]

It's a given that the small business accounting program and any other productivity app or resource the clerical worker or professional needs will integrate smoothly into the MS Office environment.

Broken anyway (1, Troll)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911557)

I have to say, the more they update and revise Office, the more broken it seems.
Wouldn't it be nice if they fixed bugs and made it work better with each iteration, instead of worse?

Why is it that iOS users would buy Office? (2)

Kenja (541830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911585)

There are already office suites for iOS that can read Microsoft files, including one from Apple with cloud syncing and other "stuff". So what is it about Office that would attract iOS users? It cant be the Microsoft brand, its not going to be file compatibility, so what is it?

Re:Why is it that iOS users would buy Office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911737)

There are already office suites for iOS that can read Microsoft files, including one from Apple with cloud syncing and other "stuff". So what is it about Office that would attract iOS users? It cant be the Microsoft brand, its not going to be file compatibility, so what is it?

Presumably, the same thing that makes Windows user buy Office even when there are free office suites for Windows that can read Microsoft files.

Re:Why is it that iOS users would buy Office? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911751)

I've read that they basically intend to give it away with Office 365, rather than sell it as a set of standalone apps.

Re:Why is it that iOS users would buy Office? (3, Informative)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911791)

I'm on Android, which offers several quite good Office suites as well, and use MS Office for work. 2 main issues with the Android office suites, probably the same as on iOS:

1- Features. I'm always missing something such as style sheets, smart headers/footers, outline mode, ... let alone macros which I don't use that much
2- Compatibility. Importing/exporting files always results in a few issues, not only for unsupported features of course, but also for supported ones that are just a bit off. As soon as you need to shuttle docs back and fort between true MS Office and some clone, headaches happen. Unluckily, the clones don't have a Windows version.

Re:Why is it that iOS users would buy Office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912561)

It is the brand and file compatibility.

The rest of your point is invalid due to stemming from an inaccurate assumption.

Re:Why is it that iOS users would buy Office? (1)

mikestew (1483105) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912809)

I think that's a problem Microsoft may have run into by waiting to release on iOS version of Office (if they ever do): some have learned that they don't need Office at all. In our household the one machine with Office is the Windows laptop my wife uses for work. Everything else gets done in Apple's iWork on either a Mac or iOS device. We own several copies of Office for Mac, but I eventually just quit installing it on new machines. We get along just fine.

The inertia of businesses is the only decent-sized market I see for Office for iOS. Everyone else has probably already found a solution, or never needed one to begin with.

Dads one question (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911625)

Why can't I get office for iPad.

Re:Dads one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911819)

You can - kinda [vmware.com] . It'll require a real computer to run the software though.

Re:Dads one question (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911905)

Why can't I get office for iPad.

Who'd seriously want to use Office without a keyboard?

There are plenty of ways to read or display Office documents, charts, etc on iPads without having Office itself.

Re:Dads one question (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911983)

He has a keyboard for it, even if he didn't the on screen keyboard works okay and even with out it he just wants it.

Re:Dads one question (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913301)

Who seriously still believes you cant use an external keyboard with ipad?

Balmer must go (1, Troll)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911675)

Only two MicroSoft products are making much money, And Balmer is strangling one of them by ignoring a huge market. Bill G & Steve J had a nice deal to port Office to Macs right after Steve returned.

Timothy D. Cook must go (-1, Troll)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911971)

Bill G & Steve J had a nice deal to port Office to Macs right after Steve returned.

...that was when Apple was weak. Apple has a short time frame while it is dominant in the tablet space its market share already below 50%], before it moves into irrelevance. Apple with its large stockpiles of Cash...with no new products, reinventing the tired PC market...and that should have included an Office product, but it seems like Apple is content to let its whole company [and its brand] wither away on incremental improvements to its dated electronics products.

In context to your quotes by the measure of a CEO its share value, Ballmer is doing an awful lot better than Cook

Actual stock price comparisons (2)

sjbe (173966) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912595)

In context to your quotes by the measure of a CEO its share value, Ballmer is doing an awful lot better than Cook

Have you actually looked at the stocks? Apple [google.com] has gone from $7.50 in 2003 to over $464 at the time I write this. Microsoft's [google.com] stock over the same period is essentially unchanged. It was around $25 in 2003 and still is. Cook has been in charge for roughly one year [google.com] and the stock had a huge run up during that time but is now basically back to where it was when he started as CEO.

Frankly Tim Cook hasn't been on the job long enough to really tell how he is doing. We'll have a better idea in another year. Balmer has a long track record at this point and the price of MSFT has gone nowhere during his tenure. Why MSFT shareholders aren't calling for his head is something that eludes me.

Re:Balmer must go (1)

hodet (620484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912179)

As a user I want to see the product on as many platforms as possible. Can't argue that. As a company Office is one advantage that this Surface turd may actually have. Best to see how it fares before killing any chance of success by making it available to the tablet leader and just making Apples life easier and their stronghold stronger. The payoff could be huge compared to the 2.5B the could get from IOS Office. (they pulled that # out of their ass right DNRTFA).

Cloud v. Native (3, Insightful)

Sabah Arif (830070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911679)

Microsoft would make a mistake by not providing some sort of native client for popular platforms. Accessing Office through a browser is fine for some but it requires a constant internet connection and can be less responsive than native code. If Microsoft forces iPad (and other tablet users) to use Office 365, they will be making a big usability sacrifice on behalf users that don't need or want it. Better to canibalize your own sales than to leave yourself exposed to competitors (ala iPod v. iPhone.)

Re:Cloud v. Native (0)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911743)

Office 365 includes downloads of the native clients for each platform. The browser is just a convenient fall-back.

Re:Cloud v. Native (2)

Sabah Arif (830070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912019)

Not for iOS or Android. Symbian and Windows Phone are the only mobile platforms supported.

Re:Cloud v. Native (1)

6ULDV8 (226100) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912075)

That's what we were promised, but I had to shell out money for the client platform.

Locked Ecosystem (3, Insightful)

fufufang (2603203) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911731)

Well, porting Office to iOS would potentially reduce the sale of Microsoft Surface. I reckon Microsoft want to have a firmer control of their users.

Re:Locked Ecosystem (1)

joh (27088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911931)

This is economically stupid though. Office is about half of MS in terms of profit. Damaging their Office business just to support selling Surface (which seem to not sell that good anyway) would be totally silly. And for Windows the writing is on the wall anyway. They won't ever get back into those good old 95% of the market times.

MS should have come with MS Office for Android and iOS long ago. THIS market still is solidly in their hands.

Re:Locked Ecosystem (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912009)

Well, porting Office to iOS would potentially reduce the sale of Microsoft Surface. I reckon Microsoft want to have a firmer control of their users.

Ya, but if someone's gonna eat your lunch, it might as well be you.

Full of assumptions... (4, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911733)

One of them is that someone would pay $60 for an iOS version of Microsoft office when there are capable software better suited for the iPad for around $10 per application and they are compatible with Office. Microsoft knows this and wisely licenses its file API instead of diminishing their brand.

Re:Full of assumptions... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911901)

I'd pay $10 for MS Office for a mobile device if it contained Word, Excel and PowerPoint because that's what I see a lot of other full fledged office suites going for. I might even go in for $15 but I would have to consider it. $20 would be an absolute maximum unless I was using it very heavily every day.

Re:Full of assumptions... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911995)

That would be too low of a price. $30 for the three programs seem reasonable. There isn't a demonstrable need for Office on iOS unlike Microsoft Surface.

Re:Full of assumptions... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912085)

I don't know many people that would pay $30 for them when I can get another suite that's compatible for less money. Software, like most things, is only worth what people are willing to pay.

Re:Full of assumptions... (1)

hodet (620484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912101)

Are you serious? It cost more to have lunch at Mcdonalds with the family. If you are using it heavily, at $60 it would pay itself off in no time. I don't have a tablet but i did purchase the Home Office edition 2010 and I have long since forgotten about that $100 bucks or whatever it was. If it has value to you why would $20 be some magic cutoff point? The free alternatives are there for everyone anyway. If the free versions don't do what you need and you really "need" that functionality the difference between $60 and $20 is trivial for most people.

Re:Full of assumptions... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912827)

A lot of business customers would buy the official MS Office app because none of the alternatives are 100% compatible. 95% maybe, but they often lack important features like change tracking that businesses make extensive use of. The cost of the app is far less than the cost of wasted time dealing with incompatibilities and limitations.

Re:Full of assumptions... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913009)

That is true. However you need to consider that Microsoft would do this at the expense of their Microsoft Surface tablets. I think Microsoft would want to use Office as a asset to get Surface in the enterprise.

iOS is not a good platform for keyboard programs (1)

rs1n (1867908) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911771)

Unless everyone using an iOS device also has an external keyboard and mouse, an office suite (whether my MS or Google, or ) just does not work. No one is going to type up any sort of real-world document using their two thumbs on their iPhone. Even with a large screen on the iPad, typing is much more efficient using a keyboard. Navigating neighboring cells in a spreadsheet is quicker with the arrow keys than pointing with one's finger. I could go on and on about the ergonomics of doing office-application work on iOS. And then there's the isolation of every app inside their own sandbox that makes importing objects between applications a bit more difficult.

I think the reason that all these tablet devices do not have true office suites is because the current means of inputting data are best left for devices with real keyboards.

Re:iOS is not a good platform for keyboard program (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912031)

If the task is going to take a few minutes or less then an iPad seems to work just fine. If the task is going to take longer than that then an external bluetooth keyboard makes it quite practical to use an iPad for lightweight word processing and spreadsheet needs. As your normal day-to-day work environment, no, but when you are out and about I think it can be quite practical for some. This opinion is based on use of Apple's Pages and Numbers apps for Mac and iOS.

Re:iOS is not a good platform for keyboard program (1)

rs1n (1867908) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912325)

You're correct on all points. However, those external keyboards aren't cheap. On average, they even cost more than the suggested $60 for the office suite. (Most of the ones I'm seeing from both Google and reviews average around $100.) Let's just say the total package is somewhere between $100 and $150 for both keyboard and office suite. If you compare that to the total cost of using any one of the popular apps on iOS devices, it doesn't seem so appealing. I'm not saying that it can't work for some. However, I don't think that it will amount to billions of dollars.

Re:iOS is not a good platform for keyboard program (1)

rs1n (1867908) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912359)

Just wanted to also add that if the task is only going to take a few minutes, it seems really hard justifying the $60 pricetag for something you are only going to use for "just a few minutes." And if you had lots and lots of tasks that each only take "just a few minutes" then wouldn't you be better off using "the real deal" (i.e. an actual computer with the full application suite)?

Re:iOS is not a good platform for keyboard program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912493)

iOS doesn't even have a concept of a cursor (mouse pointer) so it would be difficult to use a mouse with say Word on iOS.

I think Porting to Metro would be higher priority. (1)

guidryp (702488) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911811)

Let's revisit after they have a port for their own mobile GUI, before we start thinking they are going to port to Apple (or are holding back doing so).

Such a port to a radically different GUI paradigms is going to be a major re-write. It will take years. It isn't simple a case of recompile for new architecture.

Re:I think Porting to Metro would be higher priori (1)

Sabah Arif (830070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912049)

iPad apps don't have a single UI paradigm. I don't see why Metro wouldn't work fine for MS apps.

Why bother? (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911899)

I predict the iPad (and all tablets for that matter) are little more than a fad. I know people who bought them(iPad as well as Samsung Galaxy). They were a fun toy for a couple of weeks and now they collect dust (except for when the kids play an occasional game). These same people who bought them are back to using their laptops and full-sized PCs. The rumors of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912215)

More importantly, when the full-OS (or rather the dual/touch aware full-OS) tablets come out, and you no longer have to buy two devices - a tablet for consumption and a laptop for heavier work - the tablets will decline in value. Their advantage is a 1.5lb screen-only device that is quick and easy for small tasks. Now that full intel tablets are going into sub 2lb territory, the only thing left is the App market for full/dual OS (like Metro) and the longer battery life. The former will get fixed with time and maturity (remember the Android market 3 years ago?), the latter is mostly a matter of optimization and better power management. If Intel can dual-pipeline their i series to allow either an on-die Atom which allows the main processor to throttle off, or another method of reducing near-idle compute demand power draw, you can drive down the average draw rate to the screen, active memory, and comm devices. At that point, tablets don't have a power efficiency advantage. Laptops with fixed keyboards will be somewhat rare, in favor of the convertible.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Re:Why bother? (1)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912333)

I have been using a galaxy note 10.1 for a couple weeks and that's really useful in my job. Reading and annotating articles on it is a breeze. I can easily provide annotations simply for collaborators on the other side of the world (or just not in their office right now) without having to print the document, annotate it on paper, scan it and send it back by email.

It is definitively useful to me. Of course, reading, writing and annotating takes a significant portion of my time. I understand it might not be everyone's case.

Re:Why bother? (2)

jerk (38494) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912465)

Your observations do not reflect mine. I've stopped taking my laptop to and from work because I find that the tasks I want to do at home (browsing, email, and streaming video) are better suited to the iPad. I'd much rather wake the iPad (near-instant) than use the laptop which takes more than two seconds to wake from sleep (first-world problems). The iPad is far less awkward to use in a casual setting like a couch or big, comfy chair and is more comfortable to read on, too (I have several digital magazine subscriptions in Zinio.)

My father has replaced his laptop with an iPad, my mother and grandmother now rarely use their very capable desktop computers, and my tech support requests from all of them are almost non-existent.

Rush? (1)

minasoko (710100) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912011)

It's not necessarily in the company's best interest to rush such a platform to market, even if billions of dollars potentially hang in the balance

Rush? You've had an SDK for "iOS" since 2008. If a version of MS Office ever appeared, I think you could call MS' reaction positively glacial.

It breaks MS commandment #1 (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912105)

This would violate MS commandment #1; Thou shalt never do anything that could threaten the MS desktop monopoly.

Re:It breaks MS commandment #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912407)

Like release office for os x?

Re:It breaks MS commandment #1 (1)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912775)

Like the xbox ? The fact that microsoft "freed" gaming from the windows desktop, resulted that I could say my windows box farewell and still game :)

Re:It breaks MS commandment #1 (1)

Darth Twon (2832799) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912921)

Or commandment #2: Thou shalt not do anything that could benefit Apple.

why not Android they can sell it on there own with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912127)

why not Android they can sell it on there own with 0% cut to Google or any other store.

Quickoffice for Ipad is better (1)

jaygatsby27 (894445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912139)

And owned by Google. Have you tried editing Google Docs recently? It's better than Office 365.

I'm sure many would buy it (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912295)

All Microsoft would have to do is offer better functionality than Apple's offerings do. I upgraded Numbers both on my iMac & my iPhone to the tune of $30 so I could take advantage of the new iCloud features, but I'm sorely disappointed. The iPhone app is atrocious. Spreadsheets just sort of float on the screen. You'd expect them at least to be anchored to the top & left like most other spreadsheet programs I've downloaded are. If I would have known it was that bad, I would have passed on it.

How to become an analysts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912323)

Employer: What makes you qualified to be an analyst?
You: I have an opinion.
Employer: YOU'RE FUCKING HIRED!
You: HELLS YEAH!

Customer Lock-in Mechanisms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912341)

What MS should do is port Office and provide the IOS version for free to users.....outside of the app store. This would provide incentive for many IOS users, who would not have otherwise, to finally jailbreak their devices, decoupling from the Apple "ecosystem" which is the main detractor to true competition in this space. Apple's App Store isn't the only "ecosystem" customer lock-in mechanism, but, it is certainly the most pervasive. These tech companies are starting to look more and more like the cable/telephone/internet companies all the time; three year contracts here we come. Of course MS and others are trying to replicate this, but, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Apple Office (1)

ehiris (214677) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912417)

Why isn't Apple writing good spreadsheet and word programs? I mean Steve Jobs claimed to have invented fonts. Sure wouldn't be that big of a deal to use some open source code for it like they did for their OS.

Sure, a possibility exists that their Spreadsheet would make you bankrupt but it's still an easier bet than Apple Maps.

Off by a few factors? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912735)

I would say the numbers would be much more likely to look like this. 3% of iOS users would buy it for $6.

Some idiot thought all our management needed iPads, one month later and 90% of the managers don't even touch the device while at work. It's not a productivity tool and a high priced productivity app is not going to be popular when everyone already has laptops with full features and function.

It is actually Apple that loses the most (1)

muser8 (201526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912777)

My friends in the iOS app business see much smaller margins than vs desktop. Now consider that Apple takes 30% of the purchase price. This means that of the $60 cost Apple walks away with a handsome $18 leaving MSFT with $42. Unless the profit margin is such that there is a 60% mark-up on software MSFT stands to make *less* than Apple.

Office CAN NOT be ported to iOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913053)

Microsoft can _just barely_ get Office on to their own surface tablets. Even then it doesn't really work all that well. Porting to iOS? Forget about it.

Nonsense (1)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913111)

No, they are not leaving money on the table.

Claiming that selling office for iOS would bring them more profit ignores all the side-effects and especially that the only reason MS is as rich as they are is monopoly rent.

Basically, they are drug dealers who would NOT profit from selling their customers a "brew at home" kit, even though such a thing might seem like a great idea with massive revenue potential.

30%? at $60? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913201)

30% at $10, I could believe
5% at $60, I could believe

Either way, I'd be much more conservative... about 1/6 of what the author estimates. But $400 million/year is still nothing to sneeze at, considering it wouldn't cost nearly that much to build.

And the premise I agree with... Microsoft should become more interoperable and would make more money doing so. That is why Google is winning.

Remember when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913251)

"Hi, I'm a Mac. That's PC. Hi, there, PC... I'm sorry I passive aggressively bullied you for years. Gee, that Office sure made a great flotation device when I started sinking a few years ago. How about you throw me another just in case my tablet starts to drag me under?"
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