Microsoft was hoping the exclusive availability of “real Office” would be enough to give their Surface tablet an advantage. It turned out that wasn’t enough and, after a year of sluggish (non-existent) sales, Microsoft had to write off almost a billion dollars in inventory that they couldn’t sell. Recently, they slashed prices to try to get rid of as many Surface RT devices as they could dump at the last minute before Surface 2 hit the shelves. Their silly TV ads may show iPad weakly saying “this is not gong to end well for me” but in reality it is quite the opposite; it’s Surface for whom it has not ended well.
And now, with Surface 2 out, Microsoft is sitting there with Office. What do they do? Here’s the catch-22:
If they make Office available on iPad, why would anyone buy a Surface tablet?
If they don’t make Office available on iPad, people will get used to life without Office, without Microsoft
In the InformationWeek article Microsoft’s Office For iOS, Android Dilemma, Mike Feibus notes:
The dilemma for Microsoft with its Office decision is that versions for iOS and Android would weaken Windows’ market position
We must not forget that Microsoft still makes significantly more money than Google, $78B vs. $48B annually, the lion’s share of which coming from Windows and Office software for PCs.
If you were Microsoft, what would you do?