Analyst: Microsoft can "start printing money" if Office for iOS arrives

There have been rumors for years that Microsoft has plans to release versions of its Office software for iOS and Android. The most recent scuttlebutt on this topic has an iOS client coming in February or March, and for Android in May, for free to read documents, with a subscription to Office 365 needed to write and edit files.

Naturally, Microsoft has yet to comment on its Office plans for these two rival mobile operating systems. However, Computerworld.com reports that Bob O'Donnell, an analyst for the research firm IDC, thinks that Microsoft could be very happy with the results ... if they launch Office in a timely manner.

O'Donnell states, "The day they introduce Office for iOS and Android, they'll start printing money. But if they wait too long, they risk people finding alternatives, or workarounds." In fact such workarounds already exist in the cloud-based services of CloudOn.

So what's the rush? O'Donnell thinks the rise of the seven inch tablet could hurt any iOS or Android port of Office, which he thinks would work best with a 10-inch tablet. He states, "We think that 10 inch tablets peaked in 2012. And Office will be much less important on 7 inch tablets. So if they don't move soon, they risk giving up this golden egg."

O'Donnell has one more prediction. He thinks that the launch of Office for iOS and Android could kill off Microsoft's Windows RT OS. He says, "The operating system battle is a lot harder for Microsoft to fight than the office productivity battle, so if I'm (Microsoft CEO Steve) Ballmer, I would put more of my bets on Office."

Source: Computerworld.com | Image via Microsoft

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Microsoft is a software company, it only makes sense to sell Office on as many platforms as possible. Obviously, hardware is an important component as well, e.g. xBox, but... their profits are software reliant.

It IS stupid if they come out with it for iOS. Its the very thing that could drive people to their own tablet if that is the only choice.

jd100 said,
It IS stupid if they come out with it for iOS. Its the very thing that could drive people to their own tablet if that is the only choice.

Ever heard of Wordstar?.....

Cash cow - rubbish!

This rumour is just wishful thinking of the people who are invested either emotionally or financially (or both) in those platforms. The only version of office MS would release on those would be Office 365 because it is the main driver for Windows desktops. The exodus to other OS platforms away from Windows could decimate a massive revenue stream for them.

Especially as MS has stated time and time again it is a devices and software services company, imagine what Office on the iPAD would do to intel PC OEM's and the Surface tablet as well as any Windows Phone momentum.

This is all just rumour generating stories by those that hope if they say it enough times it will come true.

I totally agree. The news rumor probably has been spread by Apple fanboys, because they want what they can't have.

Again this is where ignorance of technology allows an analyst to dream impossible dreams.

If iOS or Android offered the functional frameworks or APIs to create a product like Word or Excel for them, you would see Word and Excel copycats running on them. Instead you see RAM and API limited functionality products that hit the limits of what the OSes can possibly achieve.

Windows RT is freaking Windows 8, all the frameworks, all the technology, just compiled for ARM. This is where Microsoft has a significant advantage in the Tablet world right now, and will continue to have an advantage, as even WinRT applications can be more complex and advanced than anything on Android or iOS.

When Office for iOS and Android hit, expect a products that look more like Office for the Web than Office 2013. (Android and iOS just cannot handle larger more complex applications of this scale or functionality. Go look at Numbers on iPad, even as tiny and limited as it is, notice how freaking slow it is compared to Excel on Windows RT.)


Strange isn't,
Microsoft has made Office for Macintosh System7 & Mac OS 8 which powered by 68K or PPC CPUs which notably a LOT weaker and far less impresive RAM than what used in iOS or Android device nowdays.

what the **** is this supposed to mean

He thinks that the launch of Office for iOS and Android could kill off Microsoft's Windows RT OS

why would it kill windows rt? windows rt is windows 8 for arm,without x86 desktop apps. most windows 8 metro apps work just the same on windows rt. As windows 8 gets apps and games,they will work on windows rt.

Windows RT runs on arm,so that means cheaper devices. Intels are still pricy. Again,why would having office on other platforms kill Windows RT???

Sounds to me like another dumbass analyst. When will some of these idiots shut the hell up? I read a few weeks ago some other analyst predicting macs taking %42 marketshare this year. Turns out mac sales dropped %20 last quarter.

vcfan said,
what the **** is this supposed to mean


why would it kill windows rt? windows rt is windows 8 for arm,without x86 desktop apps. most windows 8 metro apps work just the same on windows rt. As windows 8 gets apps and games,they will work on windows rt.

Windows RT runs on arm,so that means cheaper devices. Intels are still pricy. Again,why would having office on other platforms kill Windows RT???

Sounds to me like another dumbass analyst. When will some of these idiots shut the hell up? I read a few weeks ago some other analyst predicting macs taking %42 marketshare this year. Turns out mac sales dropped %20 last quarter.

Realize people in Apple reality only see value in Windows RT and Surface because it offers Office.

They don't understand that it is a full OS implementation running faster on the same hardware as Android and iOS, two OSes that Office cannot fully be developed for EVER....

It's ridiculous to say that Windows is the only 'real' OS. iOS is running the Darwin kernel, and beneath the pretty UI you'll find a streamlined Unix system that is, indeed, highly extensible. If you think that something has to have a legacy desktop interface to be a 'real' OS, then sure, iOS isn't a 'real' OS. But believe me, it meets every technical description of an OS, and it can be built upon to run whatever applications are needed. There's nothing wrong with focusing on a few usage scenarios without trying to be anything and everything to everyone.

Open Office & Libre Office can't venture to iOS due to fact that Apples hates GPL on their Walled Garden ecosystems.

So yeah this is MS chance to cash in from iOS users.

They should just sell Office 365 subscriptions outside of the App Store and have free apps on iOS and Android available for people who have a subscription.

Then it would be stupid if Microsoft allowed Office on ios, they would have to share 30% of the profits. Apple already denied there plans to offer a subscription service meaning that Apple wants the revenue office would be making. Microsoft should just make office available for platforms that will give them all the profits not split them.

cris178 said,
Then it would be stupid if Microsoft allowed Office on ios, they would have to share 30% of the profits. Apple already denied there plans to offer a subscription service meaning that Apple wants the revenue office would be making. Microsoft should just make office available for platforms that will give them all the profits not split them.

Well, if you develop an app and sell it on marketplace for W8 or WP8 you would pay a percentage to MS, in the same way if MS wants to sell an app to the IOS devices they pay a percentage to Apple. Of course they could refuse to do it but they would loose income.
A different thing is say no because they are afraid to jeopardize sales of their own Tablets.

cris178 said,
...share 30% of the profits....

What's 30% of $0.

If they offer basic functionality which is already available on office365.com as an app for free, they will keep supremacy in document formats, which at this point is still as important as OS and Productivity Suite.

It'd be a good idea and a bad idea.

just depends what ms is willing to lose: huge amount of ios/android customers for office or lose the attractiveness of their surface tablet/windows os devices with office-exclusivity.

aviator189 said,
It'd be a good idea and a bad idea.

just depends what ms is willing to lose: huge amount of ios/android customers for office or lose the attractiveness of their surface tablet/windows os devices with office-exclusivity.


Agreed. When marketing WP as having Office, it does nothing but help that it's exclusive. LOL

Given the fact that they want to be a devices company, it's more of a bad idea ATM, coz they need to have a popular devices brand, which would be hurt with this.

I know it's good money for them in the short run to put office on to ios/android, but in the long run this could be bad for Microsoft's Surface division. Office is Windows RT's killer USP!

Couldn't agree more that it would drive away Surface (Win 8 in general) sales. Also the majority of hipsters with an iPod are using it for a fashion accessory / maybe checking email / playing words with friends.

djdanster said,
I know it's good money for them in the short run to put office on to ios/android, but in the long run this could be bad for Microsoft's Surface division. Office is Windows RT's killer USP!

I wouldn't call it killer. Who does that much productivity work on a tablet? Not to mention no Outlook.

The idea is that the Surface (any windows 8/RT tablet) is supposed to be a PC replacement, so yes you would get productivity done on it.

Yes granted Outlook's absence is awkward for MS but, maybe it'll come in time. All they have to do is push it through Windows Update!

djdanster said,
I know it's good money for them in the short run to put office on to ios/android, but in the long run this could be bad for Microsoft's Surface division. Office is Windows RT's killer USP!

Exactly. As long as the Surface RT is only able to run Microsoft signed binaries on the desktop, then Office on the iPad will destroy its sales. The rumor that Apple is unwilling to budge on the 30% cut on Office sales is the luckiest break Microsoft has hit, if it's true. Apple would solidify itself as the tablet platform to buy with Office, as no one yet recognizes Surface RT as a worthwhile tablet. Just take a look at the people poo-pooing the Surface Pro as being somehow inferior to the iPad, even though it competes with ultrabooks.

With Apple's recent history with their competitors, they might even be inclined to "delay" the release of any valuable release of Office when it suits their own apps. There really aren't many positives beyond short term profits.

Clearly the iPad is on a pedestal, and giving it Office will only solidify it for another few years. Microsoft would be wise to heed the warnings. I just hope that the chance for short-term stock increases do not beat common sense.

Edited by pickypg, Jan 26 2013, 5:42am :

I can't understand why anyone would use office on a tablet.
RDP/ssh on an ipod is bad enough -> small screen and you've got your fingers over it plus half of the screen is taken up by the keyboard itself.
It'd drive me mad having half a screen for a basic office app

For my original iPad I had the stand and the Apple keyboard. You could set it up on your desk and it worked, sort of. Pages is only slightly better WordPad, but it had basic word processing. I never got a new stand for my iPad 3 (since they did not fit different models), so I never used it for typing.

On my Surface you can pull out the kickstand and use any keyboard and since it has real Office, it works quite well.

You obviously don't do heavy authoring like this, but if you are on the go and you *need* to make edits right there, it's indispensable. The most valuable of the office apps though is powerpoint. I've used it on my tablet for presenting, and it's much more useful than on a laptop, especially with presenter view and a stylus. Even if you don't do any editing like this (and I have ad to do that at 4:00am stranded in an airport) it's still very useful to use as a presentation tool.

My first venture into the Mac world was a Mac Plus. The screen size on the Mac Plus was nine inches, thus a ten inch iPad is not all that bad. Also remember the first Macs came out in the med eighties; this simply means that the iPad are at least twenty times better if not more.