After the multiple rumors about the soon to be released Office for iOS by Microsoft, I started to wonder why Microsoft kept denying the actual release.
My initial guess was that they weren’t technically ready the release. But I thought this was too simple and there must be other reasons behind this.
So there are mainly two other options :
1. They are waiting for a better time to release
2. They won’t simply release anything
Basically, those two options are correlated in some way. Indeed, Microsoft should not release its Office Suite applications for iOS, at least for the moment (and in my opinion, they should never release it).
This can be explained based on two reasons :
1. Windows 8, RT and Windows Phone 8
Microsoft is clearly challenging Apple on the mobile market. Its new OS, Windows 8, is focused on touch interface and mobile usage. Windows RT was designed for Tablet and Windows Phone 8 is challenging iOS on smartphone market. Besides Windows operating system, the main power of Microsoft remains in its Office which is widely used over the world and its integration with other Microsoft services (Exchange, Sharepoint,…) is really interesting for companies. And the overall quality of Office is great and on the point of view of functionalities there no real competitors on the market. Of course, some glimpse of competition through Open Office or iWork suites but nothing really relevant in my point of view.
With theirs new operating systems, Microsoft is integrating a huge change for users and making a big bet on market evolution (hybrid format of computer and tablet). They are taking a risk that they should mitigate as much as possible by garanteeing that people and companies will use Windows as the OS for all their devices (PC, Tablet, Phones). The key success factor is Office as iTunes and iCloud were the key for Apple’s success. RIM’s defeat has left a big opportunity for a major player in Entreprise market.
2. Office Web App
Microsoft has just finalized its new Office Web App which tends to compete with Google Docs. Web Apps are browser oriented and therefore creating an App for Office will decrease the incentive to use the Web App service. Office is only one part of its Online offer. Skydrive, Outlook.com and well integrated with the web apps and the added value of Office Web Apps can benefits the use of the other online services from Microsoft. Positioning Office Web Apps as the cross platform tool for mobile and collaborative users may be a good idea and would be consistent with its challenger position on Mobile Market.
Do not hesitate to give your opinion on this… I would be interested to discuss it with you.