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.
Dan Knight of Low End Mac fame has a well-researched article on the abandoned Apple office suite AppleWorks, which used to be ClarisWorks.Most of it I’m taking with a bit of a grain of salt, since I know Dan is a keep-my-old-computers-til-they-rot kinda guy, but he makes a number of good points, and one very important one:
However, iWork isn’t AppleWorks. It’s not an integrated word processor, database, spreadsheet, paint, and drawing program. It’s much more like Microsoft Office, where Word and Excel are separate programs that can work together.And while iWork can open PowerPoint, Word, and Excel files, for some reason Apple has ignored compatibility with its own AppleWorks program, which is used by millions upon millions of Mac users on both the Classic Mac OS and OS X.I know Steve Jobs has a general disdain for things not created on his watch, and he’s allowed AppleWorks to languish, but if he wants Mac users to migrate to new hardware and iWork, he needs to make it easy to convert .cwk files into iWork documents and spreadsheets
An import function … that would be useful for people who have documents in AppleWorks. I know I have a few on my home computer.