Big question: Microsoft on the iPad

I’ve been wondering lately what Microsoft will do for the iPad.

As everyone knows, Microsoft is one of the major software developers for Mac … Office being the most obvious example. They’ve also dabbled in iPhone applications.

But now we have the iPad. And now mobile apps have an opportunity to be more and do more than ever before. And … Apple has thrown down the gauntlet by developing special (and cheap!) versions of its own office applications for iPad – the iWork suite.

iWork includes Keynote (PowerPoint), Pages (Word), and Numbers (Excel). How is Microsoft going to respond?

Putting their own apps on iPad is a big, big move, from a lot of perspectives:

  • It would require huge redesign (lots of work)
  • It would implicitly be blessing Apple’s new semi-mobile platform (both annoying and strategically dangerous)
  • It would be at a much lower price point than desktop office … iWork is about $15 on iPad, versus about $100 on a Mac (also strategically dangerous and very financially risky)

And yet, to not do it risks being left in the starting gate as the race for mobile software really starts taking off. Above all else, after all, Microsoft is a software company.

What will they do? My guess: not get in until it’s too late, then jump in with both feet.

By then, Microsoft risks becoming irrelevant.


2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hello,

    It is interesting to know, for example, if the new iPad implements support for ISO OpenDocument documents. Given the popularity Apple has among non-technical users, this would greatly enhance the public awareness on ODF.

    In 2007, I was very disappointed by the fact that Nokia (which is extremely popular in my country, Romania) made no attempt to offer OpenDocument suppport on the high-end Nokia E61i mobile phone. Given the fact that Symbian and Maemo are Free Software, I hope the N900 and others will change this…