Editorial

Is Microsoft playing with fire by bundling Office with Windows 8.1 tablets?

Today at Computex, Microsoft’s Tami Reller revealed that Outlook will arrive for tablets running Windows RT. The good news continues with the announcement that Office will also come bundled on smaller tablets running Windows 8.1 even if they are based on x86 hardware. Good news for consumers, but will the expanding scope of Office bundling have wider implications for Microsoft?

Windows RT, which comes installed on ARM based devices such as the Surface, was bestowed with Office from the get go. In many ways this was seen as being acceptable due to the lack of modern Office WinRT apps and the device-like nature of tablets like the Surface RT. As legacy apps wouldn’t run on the RT desktop and no tangible apps ecosystem launched, throwing in Office seemed like the right thing to do.

Many have complained that enterprise adoption of Windows RT has been hampered due to the lack of Outlook in that initial bundle. The good news is that Outlook will now be included so this could help ease businesses in adopting ARM devices and makes lots of sense.

While some may have seen Microsoft’s move to include the Office suite in Windows RT as being a little bit cheeky, the inclusion of Office with x86 machines might be seen as a step too far. With the advent of Windows 8.1, smaller form factor devices are to be pushed heavily and Office will come pre-installed. There is no denying such a move will help boost sales and be incredibly appealing to consumers, who wouldn’t want Office for free?

Microsoft’s announcement:

Tami also shared that new small screen x86 tablets including the recently announced Acer Iconia W3, will come with Office Home and Student 2013 right out of the box. For both businesses and consumers, we’re committed to making all Windows tablets, both x86 and ARM, great options for work as well as play.

So there you have it, Microsoft will bundle Office on devices that have 7/8” displays, and yes, this will be the Office Home & Student version. From now on all their Windows RT machines will have Office and now all their “small” x86 machines will too. Both product categories are seen as potential mass market sellers this year so these devices could make up a significant portion of total Windows sales.

Bundling could put Microsoft back under spotlight

In the past Microsoft has been the subject of antitrust oversight, more recently it was slapped with a huge fine from the EU about the non-issue of browser choice. If regulation and complaint was so harsh just for something as minor as a choice of default browser, what is Microsoft inviting by bundling their Office suite?

With regards to Office, one could argue that there actually isn’t a real commercial choice for Windows that is under threat from bundling. That said, the very notion of enhancing the value proposition of Windows with the inclusion of Office has wider implications. Forget things like bundling blog writers and photo tools, this is a full blown productivity suite we’re talking about here. The benefits for consumers are obvious, Office is a superb productivity suite and we’re not talking commercial use but are regulators going to see this as anything but bundling?

By doing this, Microsoft could once again put them in the sights of regulators when their competitors are just starting to be investigated. This could take the spotlight fully away from Google and Apple as fines and regulations are handed down to Microsoft. Questions also remain as to what will happen to Office sales as consumers start to expect these productivity apps to be included with their copy of Windows.

Limiting where Office gets bundled

The supposed restriction to only include Office on x86 tablets with smaller 7/8-inch displays also deserves attention. Who could actually use desktop Office on such meager devices with any comfort while maintaining their sanity? Of course these smaller tablets can actually be used like a normal PC, plug it into a bigger screen and it becomes a whole lot more interesting to use a full blown Office suite. If this is meant to be a restriction, it fails from the get go; why then isn't Office being made available to all Windows 8 machines for consumers?

The answer is that Microsoft is trying to tread a fine line with how much they can get away with bundling and on what. That’s to say by introducing some artificial restrictions they most likely think it will be enough to stave off bundling concerns. The problem here is that they have most probably already sounded alarm bells for regulators and that could spell trouble. What would make far more sense would be for Microsoft to simply bundle touch friendly WinRT apps instead. Touch based versions of Office would work well on small devices and potentially sidestep bundling concerns.

What many thought was going to be a minor set of updates to Windows 8.1 has actually panned out to mean this is one of the most exciting releases of Windows yet. Does Microsoft really need to throw in Office and invite unwelcome scrutiny when things are on the up?

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What the writer and all the above have failed to mention or see is, Microsoft stated these would be BASIC versions of the Office Suite that will come free on RT.

I will take a stab at what that means. It sounds like these will be very similar to other basic office suites we see on phones. Take a look at Polaris Office for Android. It is very very basic and allows for basically viewing and simple editing.

I am sure if you want the full power of Office with all the extended format capabilities, you will likely have to pay. It is likely going ot be very similar to Office online.

Think if WordPad for WinRT. Think of how the mail client is on Windows Mail.
I mean come on guys, think outside the box.

Thanks for your comments!

I'm unclear what you mean by "failed to mention or see is, Microsoft stated these would be BASIC versions of the Office Suite that will come free on RT" - Actually I did mention Windows RT came with Office installed. For clarification its pretty much standard office without Outlook (that was mentioned I'm sure of it.)

The versions that will come with the smaller tablets and Windows RT will be same as Office on Surface tablets today. They run on the desktop and are fully functional. WordPad for RT? Mail client on Windows Mail? Sorry you have lost me there.

Why is this a problem? Office comes on every PC I have ever purchase since Office 2007. You simply get to use it free for 30 days and after that you have to activate it by paying for it. But Microsoft didn't include it, the OEM's did.

I don't see what it would be any different. You still have to buy it, it isn't free.
Don't throw MS under the bus before the Feds do. Microsoft Office is the defacto standard for business. Every PC they buy comes with a version of Office installed and activated because it is paid for during PC purchase. However even if they don't want Office, the install can still be on the PC, but it needs activating. Forcing people to have to download the package as oppose to already having it installed is a huge plus.

For the people who will complain? Forget them.

Watch out consumers. A company is going to give you something for free(ish). The Government is here to protect you.

can't for the Europeans to fine Microsoft $100 billion and force them to implement this new ballot box.

option 1: Anything but Microsoft office.
option 2: Anything that Google wants me to use.
option 3: Anything with the world "Open" or "Free" in the title
option 4: Anything from any company that makes an inferior office competitor.
option 5: Microsoft office but be warned this option is not what we want you to pick.
option 6: Bailout out the Euro.

red hook said,
can't for the Europeans to fine Microsoft $100 billion and force them to implement this new ballot box.

option 1: Anything but Microsoft office.
option 2: Anything that Google wants me to use.
option 3: Anything with the world "Open" or "Free" in the title
option 4: Anything from any company that makes an inferior office competitor.
option 5: Microsoft office but be warned this option is not what we want you to pick.
option 6: Bailout out the Euro.

Or Microsoft just closes down and stops selling in Europe - let the Europeans deal with massive unemployment as a result of their stupid anti-business policies.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Or Microsoft just closes down and stops selling in Europe - let the Europeans deal with massive unemployment as a result of their stupid anti-business policies.

Can't figure out if serious here.

I think it is better if they bundle the Same office that comes with Windows RT, whatever that restriction might be. Personally, I wouldn't buy it because it has office, I'd buy it for its size and I can run Outlook and it can run an Android emulator like Bluestacks. They should only bundle Outlook, OneNote and Word, since WordPad is still crappy

google owns Quickoffice, when they start bundling it with android tablets will the same question arise or as always will it only apply to big, bad, Microsoft?

Not sure... It'll definitely add value to a Surface tablet, on the other hand. Apple is doing the same with iWork, which normally has to be purchased stand-alone. And Office is a much stronger brand than that to boot.

Its just not the same when talking about Apple, they have a tiny amount of the PC market. Microsoft are still perceived as having a monopoly over computers, especially it would seem by the EU.

TsarNikky said,
Yes. It just further reinforces the continued use of Windows-7 with Office 2010 in the enterprise/business arena.

Something wrong with 2013?

TsarNikky said,
Yes. It just further reinforces the continued use of Windows-7 with Office 2010 in the enterprise/business arena.
Can't tell if troll or stupid?!?

Trust me, nobody would complain about having Office 2013. It's, frankly, amazing.

Dot Matrix said,

Something wrong with 2013?


Adding more colours would be a welcome addition; personally I would love to get back the dark grey one.

Depending on how one uses Office, either personally or in an office setting, Office 2013 offers little to move from 2010. Power user can use whatever they wish.

TsarNikky said,
Depending on how one uses Office, either personally or in an office setting, Office 2013 offers little to move from 2010. Power user can use whatever they wish.
This article is about it coming included with the device. Granted you can uninstall and put 2010 on there, but why would you when it comes with it? They are also saying Home and Student so no Outlook.

Little advantage to migrating from 2010 to 2013? What in Ned did you spike your tea with? I can give you two major advantages (both due to Word 2013) - greater compatibility with other file formats (you can edit ODF and PDF files *directly* in Word - no conversion needed; further, Word itself is faster, as is, in fact, every Office 2013 application than the same application in Office 2010). I only recommend Office 2010 if you are running on an OS *older* than 7.

Playing with Fire? GAG!!! What kind of senseless drivel are you publishing?

MS got slapped with a LARGE FINE and in the end still is the dominant player aren't they?

Apple is doing the same thing it is because they aren't dominant they aren't being sued or fined yet.

Bundling Office is a choice that the OEM's can choose to use as a tool to promote their hardware offerings. It's a win win for both parties. I think people call that a VALUE ADD

Surface Pro with or without Office? Tell me which one you would pick?

"MS got slapped with a LARGE FINE and in the end still is the dominant player aren't they?" - depends what you mean. 1 Billion dollar fines and being made to put browser ballots on Windows 7 didnt do them any favours. For now yes but their browser share is heavily eroded as a result.

Value Add sounds innocuous enough doesn't it? Its great for consumers but will regulators see Office coming included as an unfair selling point for MS devices?

As for me picking a device with or without Office the answer is clear, that's actually the whole problem with bundling. Office is a huge thing to bundle with a device. Its never historically been free.

I would say on ARM no, Intel yes, but actually no. Since Office destroyed any meaningful competition decades ago.

While at the time I could see why people stood up against MSFT forcing IE in their OS, what is there to compete with Office really? Open/Libre/Whatever office is a nice try but far removed from Office is both quality and quantity.

IE at the time was a new player and by bundling it MSFT more or less killed of the competition while they were trying to catch up with IE. The situation with Office is quite different and, especially in the case of Windows RT/Phone there is no competition to speak of if any.

Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly within the tablet market, far from it. Windows RT's market share is almost non-existent. Until that changes I don't see how the company is "playing with fire".

Microsoft does on the other hand have a monopoly on Productivity software. Regulators could see an unfair advantage in using that to gain ground in newer markets. This is still Windows and this is still Microsoft we're talking about.

Yeah but on the other hand Google used their search engine front page to push Chrome. Like i said the antitrust law doesn't exist anymore. Microsoft is perfectly safe in north america.

Well - they got the problems with IE - no market in browser. They got the problem with media player. But they didnt get problems with anti virus and firewall. they could get problems with office - but why should tablet market not count as pc market. the browser thingy was the most desperate thing i have ever seen by EU law. they just need money because they dont know how to rule a united nation

I agree in part but Chrome and Google s productivity stuff just doesn't touch Office running on Windows. My concern is that this could provide amo for Apple and Google to take the heat off their own regulatory investigations (or lack thereof).

If Microsoft were simply bundling Metro style Office apps then I think it would be far safer than the Office desktop suite?

Robert Brand said,
Microsoft does on the other hand have a monopoly on Productivity software. Regulators could see an unfair advantage in using that to gain ground in newer markets. This is still Windows and this is still Microsoft we're talking about.

There's the bias I had a feeling that led to this article. Do you generally write all your articles with this preconception about Microsoft?

-adrian- said,
the browser thingy was the most desperate thing i have ever seen by EU law. they just need money because they dont know how to rule a united nation

North america governments were wrong to not act in this case.

"Do you generally write all your articles with this preconception about Microsoft?" - I'm not sure what you mean about "preconception about Microsoft". Are you suggesting regulators dont have pre-existing issues with Microsoft using its market dominance to move into new markets. Sorry, Im not sure what you're point is, are you saying I'm anti-Microsoft?

Robert Brand said,
"Do you generally write all your articles with this preconception about Microsoft?" - I'm not sure what you mean about "preconception about Microsoft". Are you suggesting regulators dont have pre-existing issues with Microsoft using its market dominance to move into new markets. Sorry, Im not sure what you're point is, are you saying I'm anti-Microsoft?

Your comment makes it seem that this article was written with a perceived notion that Microsoft is up to no good.

Ah, no way, far from it. I'm expressing concern that others will act upon it and use it to their advantage. I think its great for customers but as evidenced the EU has been super heavy handed with MS. This is a crucial time for them.

Robert Brand said,
Microsoft does on the other hand have a monopoly on Productivity software. Regulators could see an unfair advantage in using that to gain ground in newer markets. This is still Windows and this is still Microsoft we're talking about.

And Microsoft could easily argue that nothing stops Apple from bundling iWork with IOS or Google from bundling the recently acquired office suite with Android if they wanted to; at what point does this whole whining about bundling starts to become stupid? as long as nothing stops someone from installing an alternative then I fail to see why regulators would get riled up unless a of course said regulators care more about screwing over a US based company (see EU) than upholding the laws as they stand.

hmm interesting topic

I think anyone would be stupid to go after Microsoft for this because they can just say its a dual license for windows and office, ( oems pay $30 for the dual license I believe) so they could say the customer has paid for an office license we aren't giving it away for free. also it doesn't matter that its cheaper than of the shelf versions of office, because preinstalled (oem) windows is far cheaper than of the shelf windows.

its a bit like going after oems for bundling windows with pc's, you pay for the license as part of the pc.

the issue with ie was they where giving it away for free, e.i it was bundled freely AND you could freely download it whereas at the time people had to buy internet browsers ( I think)

I think a much bigger issue is the bundling of bing search at a system level. also it doesn't appear that you can change the search engine because it is tied into bings back end to produce 'hero's'. so you could argue that Microsoft is using its windows 'monopoly' if you could call it that, to leverage a stronger position for bing which isn't that popular.

Attiq said,
hmm interesting topic

I think anyone would be stupid to go after Microsoft for this because they can just say its a dual license for windows and office, ( oems pay $30 for the dual license I believe) so they could say the customer has paid for an office license we aren't giving it away for free. also it doesn't matter that its cheaper than of the shelf versions of office, because preinstalled (oem) windows is far cheaper than of the shelf windows.

its a bit like going after oems for bundling windows with pc's, you pay for the license as part of the pc.

the issue with ie was they where giving it away for free, e.i it was bundled freely AND you could freely download it whereas at the time people had to buy internet browsers ( I think)

I think a much bigger issue is the bundling of bing search at a system level. also it doesn't appear that you can change the search engine because it is tied into bings back end to produce 'hero's'. so you could argue that Microsoft is using its windows 'monopoly' if you could call it that, to leverage a stronger position for bing which isn't that popular.


type google.com or install google app in windows 8/RT.
search.
???
...

I don't know but Google or one of its henchman might chirp.

"You don't see us bundling our productivity suite, do you." Not Google Docs but the one on Android.

Agree.
If YES, Microsoft can offer an Office application for free as an option in the Store for specific devices ...

The RT version is a different windows therefore it should be ok for them to bundle with it whatever screen size

However on x86 smaller screen should be fine too....t least that's what I would think. Don't know what regulators would think based on what their "supporters" might want

the whole premise of your article is flawed. these are tablets,not desktop PCs. they can do whatever the hell they want to do at the moment,no one will touch them. it doesn't matter that the operating system is windows, they're competing in a totally different market they don't own,tablets.

Who could actually use desktop Office on such meager devices with any comfort while maintaining their sanity?

you must be kidding.do you know how many people would love to edit,view,print office documents on the go without having to lug round a 10+ inch device and not having to resort to using crappy 3rd party office apps? how about when doing powerpoint presentations? just plug your device and you're ready to go. you're out to lunch on this one.

Thanks for your comments, from a personal point of view I find the desktop experience on the Surface RT tricky enough. Using the desktop on 7/8 devices would be possible but really I'd want the bigger screen (which is okay, I could just plug one in).

Regardless of how easy or useful Office would be on these small form factors the central point revolves around bundling.

Leave it to Neowin to cause drama...

The reason I bought a Surface tablet was BECAUSE I needed Office. If anyone has an issue with it, tell them to go shove it, a) You're NOT required to use it at all, and b) options ARE available.

What drama? Only drama if people make it to be (and I am sure it people will)...not because of an article that was posted.

Edited by techbeck, Jun 5 2013, 1:05pm :

Dot Matrix said,
Leave it to Neowin to cause drama...

The reason I bought a Surface tablet was BECAUSE I needed Office. If anyone has an issue with it, tell them to go shove it, a) You're NOT required to use it at all, and b) options ARE available.

Neowin aren't 'causing' anything other than pointing out that Microsoft competitors might get a bee up their backside and whine to the DOJ or EU about 'unfair bundling'. It is a risk but IMHO I think it is one worth taking given that it gives Microsoft an opportunity to crush Android in the enterprise especially with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement by so many companies these days.

techbeck said,
What drama? Only drama if people make it to be (and I am sure it people will)...not because of an article that was posted.

So far this morning, I've seen the Office news posted to Neowin, ZDNet, and the Verge. Neowin is the only one posting about bundling concerns. It's causing drama because WIndows tablets are a different breed. They have such a minute market share so far, that it's not a concern. Don't want Office? Great, no one is forcing you to buy it.

Dot Matrix said,

So far this morning, I've seen the Office news posted to Neowin, ZDNet, and the Verge. Neowin is the only one posting about bundling concerns. It's causing drama because WIndows tablets are a different breed. They have such a minute market share so far, that it's not a concern. Don't want Office? Great, no one is forcing you to buy it.

So because Neowin has different stories, different opinions...they are causing drama?

Again, drama is caused by the individual. Like what you and I are doing going back and forth like this.

I happen to agree with you, I think its a risk worth taking. Great to see MS leverage their assets to bring a compelling product. I just worry its going to their competitors a stick to beat them with. Free Office! Bring it on!

Dot Matrix said,

So far this morning, I've seen the Office news posted to Neowin, ZDNet, and the Verge. Neowin is the only one posting about bundling concerns. It's causing drama because WIndows tablets are a different breed. They have such a minute market share so far, that it's not a concern. Don't want Office? Great, no one is forcing you to buy it.

At the same time: don't want to read an article? Great! No one is forcing you to!

The only issue here is decreasing the value of office with the bundling.

With Microsoft no longer the dominant player in Operating Systems (and everyone else bundling applications/services into their products) I dont see how regulators can single out microsoft.

Nero3000 said,
The only issue here is decreasing the value of office with the bundling.

With Microsoft no longer the dominant player in Operating Systems (and everyone else bundling applications/services into their products) I dont see how regulators can single out microsoft.

I see some people like to drink the kool aid. there are 100 million tablet users and 500 million smartphone users currently in the world. windows pcs alone has 1.4 billion users. not only is Microsoft still the dominant player, Microsoft is just getting started. the others have already played their hand. and if you want,lets count XBOX too,since what the hell,we're counting everything that has a chip in it and runs an OS,as you want to include smartphone figures. You guys only use numbers to what suits you,which is comical. I love this Microsoft envy,show how hurt some of these people really feel.

^
What are you talking about? Because someone voices their opinion/thoughts they are envious of something and drinking the "kool aid"?

Nero3000 said,
The only issue here is decreasing the value of office with the bundling.

With Microsoft no longer the dominant player in Operating Systems (and everyone else bundling applications/services into their products) I dont see how regulators can single out microsoft.

But the version included with Windows RT removes a whole heap of legacy which off sets the cost of maintenance so in the long run I could see them eventually get to the point where legacy support becomes a non-issue for most. Add to that cloud computer, subscription etc. the focus isn't just on 'one off sales' but also ensuring that there is re-occuring revenue that allows gradual improvements released rather than trying to make big splashes in the marketplace every few year with users less and less interested in upgrading.

Microsoft is still dominant, for now . . .

For the first time since Windows became dominant there is serious competition from Android and iOS. This is largely because the rules of engagement have changed - competitors have managed to subvert Microsoft's monopoly on conventional PCs by dominating on other computing platforms.

Microsoft are unlikely to ever dominate like they did in their heyday, but that doesn't mean they won't be huge in a multi-platform market.

In my view that can only be good - Windows/Android/iOS (and maybe others) will drive each other to improve.

vcfan said,

I see some people like to drink the kool aid. there are 100 million tablet users and 500 million smartphone users currently in the world. windows pcs alone has 1.4 billion users. not only is Microsoft still the dominant player, Microsoft is just getting started. the others have already played their hand. and if you want,lets count XBOX too,since what the hell,we're counting everything that has a chip in it and runs an OS,as you want to include smartphone figures. You guys only use numbers to what suits you,which is comical. I love this Microsoft envy,show how hurt some of these people really feel.


600M vs 1.4B (a lot of that 1.4B are pirated windows).
I don't see how they are in a dominant position anymore.

vcfan said,
no,for stating deliberate false information or false information gathered from blogs and biased tech sites.

Depends on what market you are comparing. And how do you know the info is grabbed off of blogs. People are miss informed at times...and thats why there are discussions like this. And I have seen a lot of non biased tech sites that post false info...or incorrect info. Happens all the time.

Edited by techbeck, Jun 5 2013, 2:31pm :

Crimson Rain said,

600M vs 1.4B (a lot of that 1.4B are pirated windows).
I don't see how they are in a dominant position anymore.
FALSE. Microsoft announced not that long ago that they had 1.3Billion known users. They are users who are REGISTERED legal Windows users who either bought PC with volume licensing or bought retail boxes. If you ad the pirates of XP, you might get a few million, but you can't really guess the number.

If you think of it in terms of Office as the dominant productivity suite (which it is). Google could complain that Microsoft is using Office to increase sales of Windows 8 devices. Then again I could be wrong.

Crimson Rain said,

600M vs 1.4B (a lot of that 1.4B are pirated windows).
I don't see how they are in a dominant position anymore.

its so desperate when people want to count phones as proof that Microsoft is not dominating in computing,as if phones are or do replace PCs. that is illogical and moronic. if you want to count phones,you have to count the hundreds of millions of consoles, the billions and billions of embedded systems with custom software, the billions of vehicles with on board computers, tvs, etc... even comparing tablets is sort of pushing it,especially those POS tablets like the ones they give you when you switch your bank account that can barely open a web page.

techbeck said,
I dunno...they got in trouble for bundling IE with Windows. I am sure someone will have a problem with it.
The difference here is about position. When you're the dominant force in the PC market and use that position to cut out competition, there's a problem. In the tablet market, MS is playing catch-up to Apple and Android based tablets. Currently tablets running Windows account for a much smaller number than those that run something else.

It's difficult for the FTC to make a case here like they have in the past. There's insufficient evidence that bundling anything on a Windows tablet is going to hamper competition given their current market share.

I see no problem here.

Maybe the FTC should go after Apple for bundling Safari? Since they dominate tablet sales...

Edited by ahinson, Jun 5 2013, 1:13pm :

techbeck said,
Its Microsoft...someone is going to have a problem with what they do more often than not. Its a given.
Circa 2000 I'd agree with you. Today however, the landscape has changed and the powers have shifted.

What got microsoft into trouble with IE wasn't bundling per se. It was using their x86 monopoly to strong-arm OEMs into not including other browsers with new PCs as part of their licensing agreements.

I don't think simply including Office is going to be much of an issue in the US. The EU, however, has always gone well beyond reason around this issue so who knows what will happen there.

Also, keep in mind that the only other real productivity suite option is OpenOffice and Microsoft can make the case that they competed with that product long before Office was included in Windows...and won. I don't see there being a repeat of the anti-trust issues here in the US with this.

Just being sarcastic.
Anyway, most people will use Office sure. If they starting to bundle it, it's doesn't matter. You can always go and do a uninstall to get rid of it. But IE wasn't allowed to be uninstalled, sure you can also uninstall via Add/Remove Features, but it give you a big nice warning that will ****s up your PC!

Also there are many office suits i'm aware of. But most of them can't do what MS Office can do. Some of them will mass up the layout. I don't think here in AU people will have issue.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,

Also, keep in mind that the only other real productivity suite option is OpenOffice and Microsoft can make the case that they competed with that product long before Office was included in Windows...and won. I don't see there being a repeat of the anti-trust issues here in the US with this.

It's good to keep in mind that Office is the only tablet-ready productivity suite in the Windows ecosystem, though. OO.o/LO would take eons to catch up to even the mediocre touch support of Office 2013. They just plain move too slowly.

Docs might get there. Google has done a shoddy job of implementing touch support in Chrome so far, but it's a million miles closer than OO/LO, and they certainly have the resources and incentives to get their webapps to where they need to be.

Tablet-readiness isn't the issue, this time. As much as everyone on IT Planet hates the idea, Office and its applications are the meterstick by which productivity applications and suites are judged - even outside of Windows. And in the small-device space, Microsoft is playing catch-up. Android is smacking everyone around due to price - therefore, Microsoft needs to add value to offset that advantage.

PGHammer said,
As much as everyone on IT Planet hates the idea, Office and its applications are the meterstick by which productivity applications and suites are judged - even outside of Windows.

Why would everyone in "IT Planet" hate the idea? I love Office, so while you may hate it, I most certainly don't, and I'd argue, the overwhelming majority on "IT Planet" also don't share your view.