Microsoft is braking out of its PC based software mould. The company recently launched Office for iPad and Android devices.
With the sales of PCs declining worldwide and the converse surge in popularity of tablets and smartphones Microsoft has realised that it is essential for it to move with the times or they could find themselves squeezed out by the new paradigm of technology.
By launching Office on the iPad Microsoft has acknowledged that the iPad is no longer just a ‘toy’ or a ‘fad’ but has in fact become a serious business tool that has the potential to dethrone the laptop as the preferred mobile business device.
Microsoft’s strategy however goes deeper than trying to tap back into a market that was leaving it behind. The Office for iPad ties directly into Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud software services, Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage, and, Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite for mobile device management (MDM).
Cloud services are in fact said to be driving force behind Microsoft’s new strategy, combined with a drive to get more people using Microsoft services across every device.
Microsoft’s Office for iPad app suite, which echoes the integrated-suite-vs-best-of-breed debate, is a compelling one for CIOs, given the pervasiveness of Office, the rapid rise of the iPad and the fairly commoditized third-party cloud storage and MDM services.
So far the move has been a great success with more than 12 million people downloading Office for iPad in the first week, even though Office for iPad requires a $100 per year subscription (R599.99 in South Africa) compared to iWork, which is free on newer Apple devices.