Microsoft's iPad Strategy
Apple’s iPad represents one of the most powerful attacks on Microsoft’s Windows stronghold in history. And Microsoft — the world’s largest software company — is ignoring it.
Microsoft has no plans to build an iPad friendly version of its Office software, Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft’s business division, tells Bloomberg.
Elop is quoted as saying he’d take a “wait and see” approach, but he also says, “We never say never, but we have no current plans.”
We understand Microsoft’s rationale for choosing to wait — the iPad will be relatively small for years, compared to the PC and Mac markets — but it’s risky (and seems pigheaded).
There is no sign the iPad will be a total flop. Even conservative analyst predictions forecast millions of iPads being sold this year. And while Microsoft twiddles its thumbs, waiting and seeing how many people buy an iPad, Apple’s word processor, Pages, is already on sale — and in early going, it’s the top grossing iPad app on iTunes.
We wouldn’t necessarily expect Word or Excel to be available on day one, but maybe in a few months? Is that asking so much? What does Microsoft gain by sticking its fingers in its ears, and closing its eyes? If Microsoft doesn’t make its own suite of apps for the iPad, or iPhone for that matter, then someone else will. Right now, it’s Apple. Tommorrow it could be some other startup.
Google just announced that it was optimizing its email and other apps for the iPad. Google Docs probably aren’t far behind.
Microsoft’s Office empire is under attack. As we wrote earlier this week, don’t mistake the fact that the attackers are puny right now. Microsoft is not safe. It is very exposed.
Instead of giving the competition a head start on the next big platform, it should be building the best software money can buy. Microsoft has already learned this lesson with the iPhone, now developing a few apps for it. But with the iPad, it seems to be pretending nothing is happening.
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