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Microsoft IOS Software Technology

Microsoft Could Earn Billions From Office For iOS 188

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-if-they-knew-how-to-play-nice-with-others dept.
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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Microsoft Could Earn Billions From Office For iOS

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  • by war4peace (1628283) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:38PM (#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!

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:40PM (#42911589) Homepage Journal

      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!

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:46PM (#42911681) Homepage

      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.

      • 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.

        • by Joce640k (829181)

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

        • by theVarangian (1948970) on Friday February 15, 2013 @01:51PM (#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.

          • by the_B0fh (208483)

            You're trying to make sense to monkey boy. Ain't gonna happen.

            If it doesn't have a start button, it doesn't work. Look at the damned button migrating to all Microsoft apps (that damned ribbon shit with the nice shiny big round button). Hell, they love that shit so much they made it take over the entire screen with Windows 8!!!

        • by snadrus (930168)

          That's the mindset, but it doesn't work that way. The rest of the tablet ecosystem makes documents that work together, outsells Windows laptops, and is growing fast while another failed MS tablet adds a reason to avoid MS Office on Windows desktops. De-Facto standards aren't guarantees, see: DBase & Lotus products.

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:49PM (#42911717)

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

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

    • 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.

    • by fermion (181285)
      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

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      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.

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

    • by Tarlus (1000874)

      Well, they say that 89% of statistics are pulled out of somebody's ass.

    • Did you know mobile gaming is going to be bigger than everything? It's true, any day now. Everyone should be into it.
  • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:38PM (#42911551) Journal

    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.

  • 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?

  • by Kenja (541830) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:40PM (#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?
    • by Sockatume (732728)

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

    • by obarthelemy (160321) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:55PM (#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.

    • by mikestew (1483105)

      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 ma

  • Magic numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OzPeter (195038) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:42PM (#42911617)

    Didn't we just have a "Magic Numbers" article yesterday about how much OO is worth?

    Think of the planet .. recycle the comments from the previous article:
    OpenOffice: Worth $21 Million Per Day, If It Were Microsoft Office [slashdot.org]

  • Why can't I get office for iPad.
    • by 1u3hr (530656)

      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.

      • by Murdoch5 (1563847)
        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.
        • by 1u3hr (530656)

          he just wants it.

          Well, that pretty much shuts down any rational debate.

          • by Murdoch5 (1563847)
            it has nothing to do with rational, some people just want the software they want for no real reason.
      • Who seriously still believes you cant use an external keyboard with ipad?
        • You can use a keyboard with a ipad, but the combination may negate some of the ipad's form factor.

          • There are a TON of options, one has but to look. Everything from full sized desktop keyboards to integrated keyboard/case systems. The only thing lacking is imagination. Anything with a built in keyboard ALREADY MAKES COMPROMISES IN FORM FACTOR, so its no different if you add one later.
            • I just feel sad for people that purchase a tablet but end up rebuilding the laptop.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      so that they can sell their metro ui crablet.

      with the perk that it has office.

      non-metro office.

  • by peter303 (12292)
    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.
    • by hodet (620484)
      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sabah Arif (830070) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:46PM (#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.)
  • Locked Ecosystem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fufufang (2603203) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:50PM (#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.

    • by joh (27088)

      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.

    • 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.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:51PM (#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.
    • 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.

      • 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.
        • 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.

      • by hodet (620484)
        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
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      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.

      • 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.
        • by khallow (566160)

          I think Microsoft would want to use Office as a asset to get Surface in the enterprise.

          Alternately, they could just drop Surface and probably make more in the process. I think going OS and hardware agnostic is probably the best for them long term. It'll mean that they have to acknowledge that they're going to take a big drop in profit though. That'll hurt their near future stock price more than pretending that they have a viable business model for the next ten years.

  • 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 wor
    • by perpenso (1613749)
      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.
      • by rs1n (1867908)
        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,
      • by rs1n (1867908)
        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)?
        • by perpenso (1613749)

          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)?

          Sometimes I prefer to travel light. Lets say a 5 hour flight. If I am only going to work on documentation and not do any coding I may prefer an iPad plus Bluetooth keyboard over a laptop. Lets say its just a lunch time meeting where I had only planed on presenting info but the other party would like to make a small change (or I had noticed a small error), I may prefer only the iPad and just use the onscreen keyboard. It all depends on the job at hand, different tools for different jobs.

  • 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.

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

    • 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 a

    • by godrik (1287354)

      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 e

    • by jerk (38494)

      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 s

    • by Spectre (1685)

      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.

      If laptops get their bulk down to tablet-level and their battery life up to tablet-level, then maybe. Laptop battery life is roughly the same and possibly worse than it was 20 years ago, though, not better (granted, the laptops have much better displays and cpu power these days - but it ate up all of the advances in battery tech).

      When I spend an entire day in meetings with sub-teams on a large project, I can carry only my tablet from meeting room to meeting room, use up less than half the battery during th

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday February 15, 2013 @01:18PM (#42912105)

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by Tom (822)

    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.

    • by spacepimp (664856)
      If Microsoft does not make Office software available on the platforms that people are using, those users will find other offerings. The document is not the king of the hill it once was. The more people use an alternative the less relevant the file type becomes. When the .doc .xls hegemony is broken then Windows and Office are directly less relevant. MS could push office all it wants, but if the world wants Linux or Mac or iOS or Android, office is no longer enough reason to change or shift platforms.
  • How soon will our iOS devices be riddled with Malware and viruses after they release their app
  • Calling Microsoft Office "productivity software" is hilarious. I know we've all spent hours trying to do the simplest things with Office. I recently spent nine hours including querying a forum and Googling trying to figure out how to get Word to number equations. Nine hours, and all I got was a clumsy work-around. And I know this is the "right answer" and that I didn't miss something.

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