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Revenue explosion from iPad for Office fails to ignite

Gregg Keizer | Aug. 6, 2014
Contrary to some experts' expectations, Microsoft hasn't been "printing money" since it launched Office for iPad in March.

As it is, Microsoft's consumer rent-not-buy software plans are currently at an annual revenue run-rate of more than half a billion dollars.

Because Microsoft does not disclose data for Office 365 plans sold to businesses — those plans range in cost from $5 per user per year ($60 a year) to $22 per user per year ($264) — it's impossible to tell what impact, if any, Office for iPad may have had on the commercial side, where many figured the apps' would be most used.

And the number of downloads Microsoft has crowed over, said Dawson, doesn't translate into as many new customers as it wants people to believe. Because Microsoft counts each app download, and there are three core apps, four if OneNote is included, the number of customers who grabbed Office for iPad is probably one-fourth or one-third the 35 million, or 8.7 million to 11.7 million.

And most of them could be using the apps in free mode. "It has value as a free product," Dawson said, referring to the apps' ability to display documents for viewing and reading.

Microsoft has promised, but not yet delivered, the touch-enabled Office apps for Windows and Android. The latter is expected to appear before the end of the year, while the former may not be released until the spring of 2015, when Microsoft will likely launch the next iteration of Windows, code named "Threshold" and pegged as "Windows 9" by company watchers for now.

The Office for iPad apps can be downloaded from Apple's App Store.


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