Office no longer an iOS must-have

Derek Kessler:

Had Microsoft launched Office on the iPhone and iPad early on, they could have furthered the impression that Office was a must-have for anybody serious about anything, even on iOS. But they let years pass, and now Microsoft’s flagship applications aren’t so must-have anymore and Apple isn’t overly eager to accommodate them. It’s easy to imagine that four years ago when preparing to launch the iPhone App Store Apple may have been more willing to negotiate with Microsoft to get flagship apps like Word and Excel on the smartphone. But today? Apple’s doing just fine without them.

Spot on.

  • Dan

    This is true. As much as Microsoft would have you believe, the fact that in 5 years there has not been any outcry for Office, and with the iPads entering enterprise, just proves that Apple doesn’t “need” it badly. Sure its nice to have, but not at the cost of Apple alienating its entire developer community by bending rules for Microsoft. I hope it doesn’t, or if it does, it should for all developers. But I dont think Apple will budge. Its not Apple’s job to change its systems to placate MS. Maybe Apple would have if there was a serious need to have Office but as it stands no.

    MS is the one losing out IMO. In squabbling over the 30% its not focusing on the 70 it will get. If MS wants, it could jack up the prices. Basically, I just dont think Apple will or should bend

    • Canucker

      Microsoft isn’t even on Apple’s Christmas card list anymore. Asking for an exemption on app pricing policy shows just how out of touch the company has become.

      • dan

        All these articles popping up just look like PR manipulation in trying to force Apple to make a deal by painting them as the bad guy. Its very easy to paint Apple bad. But then people have been painting Apple bad without strong reasons since kingdom come and it has not affected their stance

    • Couple of things: they would have to jack up prices for everybody based on Apple’s policy. That wouldn’t allow them to remain competitive with competitor’s (Google) offerings. It’s not unreasonable for them as a company to take, say, 20% profit margin. That can’t be sustained in the App store with Apple taking 30%. They would have to have like 50% on top of production costs. A little much. It leaves them in a position where they can’t profit from iOS and have their prices be competitive at the same time.

      Secondly, none of that would be a problem if they just left out the subscription option from the app as per Apple’s previous stance on these issues. However, the source of all these articles is that apparently Apple are now requiring (or at least for Microsoft) that if the submission can be used in the app the app must make it available. We can’t be positive, but that is the entire point of the original The Next Web article that made the rounds, so let’s take it as true for arguments sake (accepting that if it isn’t the case Microsoft can just leave subscriptions out and it’s no big deal).This leaves Microsoft with a completely bullshit problem. Pay Apple a massive cut in perpetuity with no way of getting around it, or don’t serve those users (and by the way, a lot of people use, want and need office. That will be true for some time. I couldn’t do without it on my Mac. I wish I could.) It’s affecting other companies abilities to provide good alternatives to Apple’s frankly lackluster services (skydrive is being blocked currently for example). If they enforce this for everyone, dropbox will be affected too. It is pretty anti-competitive. What’s more, the “Apple is providing the users” argument is crap. Way to treat people like meat bags. Yes, it is their store and they can do what they want, but that doesn’t mean we can’t criticise them for being greedy.

      But all of that said I hate Office. I think it’s a bad product, so it doesn’t personally bother me that it might have difficulty reaching iOS users. I just think many Apple bloggers are skirting round the whole point of the original story which is that Apple are apparently requiring subscriptions to be made available, through them, if the app can use them which for everyone except Microsoft is a chump change affair. It’s nothing to Apple, but everything to dropbox. It feels to me like a Mafia Don skimming 30% of everyone’s ‘paycheck’ just because he owns the area and wants it out of respect, even though the poor guy can’t afford it and it’s nothing to him. But again, Apple can obviously do whatever they want.

      • JohnDoey

        No, they do not have to jack up prices on anybody if they add an iOS MS Office product. The customers they GAIN through Apple will increase the profitability of MS Office, even if Microsoft has to pay a 30% acquisition fee. Acquiring a new customer typically costs more than that.

        Something like 40% of iPad users have neer owned another PC except iPad. These are the only customers in the world that can grow MS Office. Windows PC sales are down 20% and all the Windows users who are going to buy Office have already bought it.

        What is not yet fully understood by Microsoft and Adobe is that all of the growth in PC’s is happening on iPad, except for about 10% growth on the Mac. If you don’t sell iOS PC software, your PC software sales will be static or shrinking, which is what is happening at both Microsoft and Adobe.

        Would you rather have 70% of a million dollars or 100% of nothing? That is the question for Microsoft and Adobe.

        Shipping on CD/DVD costs more than 30%. Shipping as Web downloads costs more than 30% just in piracy.

  • Canucker

    And the new updates to the iWork apps include better interoperativity with MS Office such as preservation and export of tracked changes in Word. Another reason I won’t be paying for the iOS versions of Office.

  • PDFs

  • Winski

    Another GREAT set of reasons why Apple should continue to say back to Microshaft – 30% – the rules is the rules.

    Have a nice day.

  • JohnDoey

    If you have ever watched a long-time MS Office user use iWork for the first time, it is like Christmas. They can’t believe how easy it is just to get their work done. It’s like a runner who has been running in a 3 piece suit and leather dress shoes and you suit them up in running clothes and shoes and turn them loose.

    • lucascott

      I agree. If you are talking about Keynote (either version) or Pages on the Mac. Numbers and pages on iOS still need a bit more work in my opinion to be truly perfect.

      And regarding the Mac versions, a switch to an inspector etc more like the iPhoto sidebar wouldn’t hurt. Those popup windows are a bit of a pain to mess with.