Office on the iPad signals the start of the Nadella Era at Microsoft
By Jim Lundy
Microsoft Office on the iPad is coming. With one of the applications that is part of Microsoft Office, OneNote, being released on nearly every Apple platform, Microsoft has signaled that it is ready to eat humble pie, and monetize its Office franchise by making it available on the iPad and other mobile devices. This blog post is about the imminent move by Microsoft to add Office on the iPad and our prediction that Office on the iPad will signal the beginning of the Nadella Era at Microsoft.
Office on the iPad on March 27th
Microsoft has sent out invitations for its San Francisco Event on March 27th in San Francisco. The invite is cryptic, but it is clear that with the timing of OneNote being released for the Mac, all signs point to an Office on the iPad announcement. If this is indeed what will be announced, it signifies the beginning of the Nadella era at Microsoft.
Ballmer – All Microsoft
It was only two years ago, in San Francisco, that Microsoft celebrated the announcement of Office 2013 and the enhancements to Office 365 with updated subscription capabilities, including Office 365 Home Premium. We were at that event and Apple devices were not mentioned a single time by then CEO Steve Ballmer during the live Press Conference. On top of that, despite having flown in press from all over the world, no questions were taken. Office on the iPad was certainly discussed at the event, but only privately.
That was also the time of the Surface and Surface RT rollout. Things didn’t go that well with those launches and that is probably the biggest reason Microsoft has a new CEO. It is now Sayta Nadella’s watch. He is calling the shots and it is his turn to make the right calls in mobile. It is clear that Mr Nadella is allowing staff at Microsoft to talk about Office on the iPad. In fact, the PR move that Microsoft has made is trying to portray themselves as the underdog.
Office on the iPhone
Microsoft has done different things to give the impression that Office on the iPad might be coming. It has had Office on Mobile that was available only on the iPhone. Early versions received poor reviews. I have used Word and PowerPoint on the Office for iPhone app. Microsoft Word works fine, but you have to have an Office 365 subscription or you can’t use the app. PowerPoint on the iPhone isn’t really there. You need Office on the iPad – and the PowerPoint app to really display presentations and to also create them.
Office on the iPad – The March Begins
Despite lack of movement by Microsoft, the world did not stand still. The iOS and Android march continued and enterprises began to deploy fleets of tablets. With those tablets came a variety of Office Editors, including Evernote and the iWork Suite from Apple. Despite all that, Microsoft Office is still the dominant editing suite for Knowledge Workers. Office on the iPad will be a surefire hit – in fact many think that it could signal the beginning of a new Microsoft.
Office on the iPad will also raise the bar for other iPad apps. There are many other presentation tools that are available. Slideshark from Brainshark was one of the most popular tools. Given that many may want to do more with presentations, demand for Slideshare could go up. For other tools that focus on creation, they will need to do more than what Microsoft has done. Google, for example will clearly need to do more, since Office on the iPad at Launch to us feels more intuitive than Quick Office from Google.
The future of Office is Mobile and now that it appears that Microsoft will embrace it, it means that a more open and more flexible Microsoft may be emerging. The biggest thing that Office on the iPad signals is that Microsoft still makes money primarily on Software. Office on the iPad will mean a big boost for Office 365 subscriptions.
Note: Since we wrote this post Office on the iPad has had over 12 million downloads. That is in less than 8 days. So, if there is any proof that a small move by Microsoft would help them change and move faster, this is it.