Last week, there were lots of articles saying Microsoft is losing $2.5 billion dollars by not making the Office suite available on the iPad. Whether or not the figure is accurate, it is interesting to note the stand taken by Microsoft in this regard. Technically speaking Microsoft is not actually losing any money because they have not even released the Office suite for iPad yet! However Microsoft is definitely missing an opportunity to milk its cash cow. So why is Microsoft doing this?
Windows OS and the Office suite are the bread and butter of Microsoft and drives a major part of the revenue. Naysayers may complain and whine about it but there is no denying the fact that these two software are almost a de facto standard for many. So it only makes sense that Microsoft should make the Office suite available on as many platforms as possible. The rationale behind Microsoft’s move to not release an iPad version is to give a competitive advantage to the Surface tablet. Windows 8 being a new OS has few apps and needs at least one killer app to even make people consider spending around $600 (for Surface RT and upwards of $1000 for the Surface Pro that can run legacy applications). But I think this strategy won’t work because the sales of Surface tablets have not been great and perhaps Microsoft should take a leaf out of Google’s book.
For long Google has made its services available on multiple platforms especially on Apple devices. In fact, Google has even been panned by Android fans for launching better versions of Google apps first in the iOS platform 🙂 When Apple removed Google Maps during the launch of iOS 6, Google soon came out with its own app and it soon topped the charts and refuses to come down. Apart from Maps, other Google apps like the Chrome browser, Google Drive, Youtube and GMail are used by a majority of the Apple users. While Google had the chance to leave the Apple users in the lurch and instead provide these services only on the Android platform, Google went ahead and gave beautiful apps to iOS users in turn tying them more to the Google ecosystem and act as a subtle reminder to users to check out the Android platform to get all the best goodies. It is a good move by Google; they not only get to cash in demand but also grow their user base.
Maintaining an aura of exclusivity worked for Apple because people were emotionally connected to the company and its founder Steve Jobs but when it comes to Microsoft, not many are smitten by Steve Ballmer’s on stage antics 😛 For Microsoft’s (and his) own good, Steve Ballmer should come out of his dream that Surface will be a runaway hit like the iPad and instead make some money while people still care about the Office suite and should not end up coming late to the party like the Windows Phone.
This article has been reproduced from Sridhar’s blog.