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Put Office on the iPad for tablet success, analyst advises

Gregg Keizer | July 29, 2013
It's apparent Microsoft doesn't have a hit in the Surface RT; what's stopping the company from finally releasing Office for the iPad and scoring some tablet success?

What else have you got?

Others have recently called on Microsoft to focus less on Windows and more on other parts of its portfolio, including Office, in light of last week's 6 percent decline in Windows Division revenue, the $900 million Surface RT charge and the continued slide in PC shipments.

"Documents remain essential and ubiquitous to all of the world outside of Silicon Valley," noted Ben Thompson, until earlier this month a partner marketing manager in Microsoft's Windows app team. Thompson now writes on his Stratechery website. "An independent Office division should be delivering experiences on every meaningful platform. Office 365 is a great start that would be even better with a version for iPad."

In Microsoft's recent corporate reorganization, however, Office will not be an independent division-it is, more or less, in the current structure-but will instead be within the new Applications and Services Engineering Group, which will include Office, Microsoft's Bing search engine and Skype.

The company may well decide to continue resisting the potential of new Office revenue to keep Windows afloat. In the quarter that ended June 30, the Microsoft Business Division (MBD), whose biggest money maker is Office, recorded revenue of $6.43 billion, 1.7% more than the same period the year before, largely on sales to enterprises and in the face of a dismal quarter in PC shipments.

Microsoft may think the at-hand revenue is the smarter choice than more money accompanied by the risk of damaging Windows 8's tablet chances. But that would be a mistake.

"By ceding ground to competing [productivity] apps, Microsoft is encouraging users to investigate other platforms," Gownder said.


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