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Should Microsoft Put Office On the iPad? 402

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-addition-to-the-tens-of-windows-tablets-out-there dept.
theodp writes "Microsoft is working on a touch-friendly version of Office for Windows 8, writes GeekWire's Todd Bishop. But what about Microsoft Office on the iPad? 'The decision,' Bishop says, 'will say a lot about Microsoft's priorities in this new era. The company can give Windows 8 a boost if it makes Office exclusive to Windows-based tablets. But that's also a risk. The iPad's momentum not only in the home but in the workplace opens the door for Office alternatives to take hold on the Apple tablet, posing a challenge to Microsoft Office.' Over at Minimal Mac, Patrick Rhone feels Microsoft has bigger problems than the lack of Office apps for iOS and Android. 'Like the curtain finally falling from the Wizard of Oz to find just a small, frail, man pretending to be far more powerful and relevant than he really was,' writes Rhone, 'Microsoft's biggest miss was allowing the world to finally see the truth behind the big lie — they were not needed to get real work done. Or anything done, really. And that will be what ultimately kills them.' Perhaps, but BusinessInsider — which finds it just can't quit Excel — also makes a case for why Microsoft should put Office on every platform. Speaking of the future of Office, did you ever notice how people use MS-Word to convince people to use Google Docs?"
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Should Microsoft Put Office On the iPad?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:24AM (#39091967)

    No way. Typing on my iPad is one of the most awkward things I do in a day, but I don't blame the device. There are people in my same department at work that I have seen knock out multipage emails on one as if sitting at a regular computer.

    I dunno, I just can't do it so Office would be worthless. My iPad is basically a youtube, game device, photoviewer, and mastubatory aid (porn).

    I guess I'm a retard

    • by Flytrap (939609) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:53AM (#39092089)

      I have the iWork apps on my iPad (and before that I relied on documents to go).

      I rarely create new documents on my iPad, but I do a lot of editing, proof reading, and finalisation of documents that I then share, send on, present, etc. I consider myself highly productive on my iPad - even though I still have a notebook at my desk on which I will knock together complex presentations or spreadsheets, before iCloud syncs them onto my iPad where I will continue working on them or present them from using key note or numbers. In a typical day I spend about an hour or two in front of my notebook at my desk; and the rest of the day is spent on my iPad in meetings, workshops, waiting rooms, aeroplanes, etc.

      I doubt that having Microsoft Office for the iPad will change the way I work, much. I suspect that there will be less fixing and tiding up of PowerPoint or Word documents that Keynote or Pages mangled during the conversion process. But I will still spend more than half my time on the iPad reading, editing, changing, commenting on spreadsheets, presentations and documents in collaboration with others and am unlikely to change the volume of material authored from scratch on the iPad itself just because I now have Office for the iPad.

    • by Phrogman (80473) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:54AM (#39092091) Homepage

      Despite all the spite and screaming against Apple that will populate this thread, I thought I would point out that people are *still* judging the iPad as if it were a laptop.
      Its perfect for what it is: a tool that is great for certain uses, and not for others. I wouldn't do programming on one, its not suited to it - even if you use a keyboard - in my opinion but if I want to view images, watch TV off the net, use Netflix, its a perfect tool. Its well designed, performs well, seems fairly bug free, easy to use, quite portable, has good if not great battery life etc.
      All that said, my wife bought an iPad, and stopped using her netbook entirely at the same time. It is serving all her needs - including writing (using a keyboard mind you) quite well, and I have yet to hear a complaint.
      If I had a need for one, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one myself. I am however a desktop person. I hate laptops, netbooks etc. I might get an iPad at some point but I will most likely never buy a laptop or netbook.

      • by postbigbang (761081) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @10:22AM (#39092221)

        It's a media consumption/review device. Office readers would be great. Office is such a pig for resources otherwise, that compositional tools would be plainly insane to port to iOS.

        The question itself if a fishing attempt to find feature interest. Office is coming to Windows 8 in one form or another, so do they bother to port it to iOS? Same chipset (ARM) same form factor (tablet) same profile of consumer (please, no sandals vs loafers arguments).

        • It's a media consumption/review device.

          But it's not *only* a media consumption/review device. People who say things like that really just sound arrogant.

          Office readers would be great. Office is such a pig for resources otherwise, that compositional tools would be plainly insane to port to iOS.

          The iPad runs iWork apps just fine. And there are Office-compatible apps for the iPad. And MS Office ran on significantly inferior platforms for many years just fine. The iPad has more than enough RAM, CPU, and storage for Office. The OS can handle it (it's based on Nextstep).

          The question itself if a fishing attempt to find feature interest.

          The question has been asked since the day the iPhone was announced. People have wanted Office on all their devices since

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Then buy a bluetooth keyboard for when you have to do hardcore typing.

      Problem solved.

    • by dimeglio (456244)

      Since you can VNC or RDP over to any computer, I've used Excel and Work on the iPad and it's not bad at all provided the RPD/VNC app can make the touch-screen emulate mouse functions properly. This however, will also be a challenge for MS' version of Office.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      No way. Typing on my iPad is one of the most awkward things I do in a day, but I don't blame the device. There are people in my same department at work that I have seen knock out multipage emails on one as if sitting at a regular computer.

      What you need to be able to do is dictate to the iPad, and simultaneously use a pen/stylus to make any corrections/adjustments on screen.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:25AM (#39091977)

    I guess I can see the attraction of running powerpoint presentations from the iPad, but Office in general, is there a point?

    I can't imagine you'd want to be doing a lot of text input on it, would you?

    This in mind, it seems to me the whole thing is a non-story. MS is now an also-ran in the phone biz, and has no footprint at all in the tablet market. Office or no office, it doesn't seem to matter.

    • Many (most?) people don't actually create content using Office. They just read/view the results, perhaps with minor editing.

      I'm sure they would love to be able to do that on their iPads. I don't know if the iPad version of Apple's products do a very good job of dealing with Office documents or not. I do know that for important documents, I find I must use Microsoft Office if I want to make sure everything is formatted correctly for other Office users (i.e. LibreOffice is close, but not perfect).
    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @10:01AM (#39092115)

      Keynote runs Powerpoint presentations.

      (Also edits and exports them if it comes to that.)

      $9.99

      • by King_TJ (85913)

        Depends on your use case... You're right about Keynote, but it's probably the single strongest component of Apple's iWork suite for the Mac to begin with. It was developed before any of the other parts, as a program for Steve Jobs to use personally when giving his presentations and speeches, because he found it distasteful and limiting to keep using a competitor's product for the purpose.

        I happen to like Pages too, but honestly, it wouldn't be nearly as compelling if it weren't for Apple including some ver

        • by jcr (53032)

          he found it distasteful and limiting to keep using a competitor's product for the purpose.

          Incidentally, he never did use PowerPoint. He used Concurrence (which was a NeXTSTEP app from Lighthouse Designs) until he was able to switch to Keynote.

          -jcr

        • by keytoe (91531)

          For serious work with spreadsheets, Microsoft Excel has the competition beat hands-down, and that's proving to be their single strongest app in their Office suite. Apple's Numbers app is really more suitable for someone who's not even a "numbers person" to begin with, but finds him/herself with the occasional need to generate some basic spreadsheets anyway. It can produce results that look really nice, but it doesn't have the raw number crunching power of Excel (gets VERY slow with large spreadsheets), and

      • by cpotoso (606303)
        And does a tremendously crappy job at it. Screws-up the fonts, lots of other things too. Moreover, it is not just that things are visualized incorrectly, they are also corrupted in the original file.
    • by Aethelred Unread (2567841) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @10:14AM (#39092171)
      My company uses Citrix to virtualize everything. I have had office, outlook, remote desktop on my ipad via Citrix for over a year and it is great for meetings, presentations, doing inventory, and just using an excel spreadsheet as a checklist. I can log on to my machine at work anywhere over 3G and have instant access to all my internal resources over a secure connection. Text input? Are you kidding? Combine Citrix Reciever with a ZAGG keyboard, jailbreak it, and you have an extremely effective machine for basic document editing and creation, a very powerful terminal emulator for network admin (my job) and access to all those lovely legacy tools like the fax modem connected to my PC via a serial cable so I can administer the Nortel PBX. Best thing is, all the processing is done on the server at work and if you lose the connection everything is where you left it when you reconnect. All this discussion about iPads having a place in enterprise is retarded, (literally, slow minded) the tools are already out there only Apple didn't develop them in house.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2012 @10:56AM (#39092399)

        I have the Citrix receiver as well. I'd rather kick myself in the nuts than do anything other than novelty stuff or very very basic work related administration through it on a tablet. Basic things are possible but not worth the 5-10x increase in time and effort. If I'm out and about and get a call to fix something that requires me to "log into work", I'll try to call another engineer myself or I'll respond back to the support desk that I'll get back to them in XX minutes and either drive home if close by or go to my car, grab my laptop and find the nearest free AP. Yes, I still consider those much better options then using the Citrix receiver on my tablet.

        • by swb (14022) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:54PM (#39093101)

          The biggest feature lacking on the iPad for remote desktop goodness is Apple's lack of support for bluetooth mice.

          A bluetooth keyboard helps for keyboard intensive tasks, but even with GUIs that are very keyboard friendly the combination of BT + Wifi + RDP lag makes rapid tabbing or GUI widget manipulation frustrating on the iPad. Even at best, I find that a BT keyboard only adds about 25% additional ease of function on the iPad.

          With a mouse, though, it would be a pretty appealing platform for RDP work, particularly if the iPad 3 display resolution rumors are correct.

          • by dissy (172727)

            I've found that the mouse with my iPad only gets used for remote desktop and vnc, basically to control systems that are designed for mouse use.

            It is pretty funny seeing a mouse cursor on spring board the first time, but not very useful compared to the touch screen.
            I've only used the mouse about twice with the notepad app, and honestly both of those times were right after using the mouse/keyboard for remote desktop.

            My iPads keyboard is built into its case, so is already with me. The mouse generally stays in

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @10:18AM (#39092183)

      This in mind, it seems to me the whole thing is a non-story. MS is now an also-ran in the phone biz, and has no footprint at all in the tablet market. Office or no office, it doesn't seem to matter.

      But Microsoft is still a software company and MS Office is a de facto standard in most of the corporate world. Can they afford to ignore the millions of tablets that are finding their way into offices and everyday use? If a palatable alternative reigns supreme on tablets, will companies convert to the alternative in lieu of MS Office on the desktop to insure document compatibility?

      Metro is going to be a disruptive change for a lot of companies, and if they're going to go through the growing pains of changing user interfaces and how they interact with devices, would moving away from MS/Windows/Office be much more effort? In the short term, yes. But in the long run?

      • by Nursie (632944)

        Can they afford to ignore the millions of tablets that are finding their way into offices and everyday use?

        I think the question is more whether anyone will care if they do release it. I think probably not.

        If a palatable alternative reigns supreme on tablets, will companies convert to the alternative in lieu of MS Office on the desktop to insure document compatibility?

        Well this is an interesting area of thought. Some enterprises are already turning away from it now, I guess we'll see.

        Metro is going to be a d

    • by swillden (191260)

      I can't imagine you'd want to be doing a lot of text input on it, would you?

      I do quite a bit or text input on my Galaxy Tab. Mostly e-mail, but some other stuff as well, including some work with Google Docs, though Docs is pretty limited on Android as of yet. I have a Zagg folio case which includes a Bluetooth keyboard. The keyboard is small, but very usable, and when I close the case with the keyboard, the whole bundle is still small and light enough that it's more convenient to carry around than a full-sized laptop or even a netbook.

      Of course I don't use Microsoft Office, an

  • Ah, Excel (Score:4, Funny)

    by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:27AM (#39091981) Homepage
    Ah, Excel, the most abused piece of software in the world. Is there a problem for which it is the right solution?
    • Re:Ah, Excel (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SomePgmr (2021234) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:38AM (#39092021) Homepage

      I use excel for stuff all the time. Little jobs... quick, repetative, formulaic stuff. That and popping open csv's.

      The one I often saw abused was access. Horrible things happen when a shitty Access side-project ends up getting passed around an office.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You seriously never encountered someone using Excel instead of a proper database? That seems to be the most common abuse and has caused untold damages to small businesses all over the world.

        • Sure. And it was proper to use it because of the overhead of a "proper database".

          I've been IT my whole life and I've always found strange the concept of "proper" anything.

          If it works, it's proper.

          "has caused untold damages"
          And you didn't tell of them either.
          • by Tarlus (1000874)

            I've been IT my whole life and I've always found strange the concept of "proper" anything. If it works, it's proper.

            That is a very bad philosophy to have if you work in IT. With that mindset, that is how we end up with undocumented spaghetti code, relational databases that aren't actually relational (redundant columns, occupying 4x more disk space should be needed, performing in like O(n!) time) and employment of otherwise kludgey, insecure, breakable, non-scalable IT solutions. They might work, but not as well as they should.

            I know your quoted statement wasn't trying to say that and is likely a little more focused aroun

        • by pz (113803)

          I do this all the time (at least, I use a spreadsheet program to open a CSV database). Why?

          1. The spreadsheet is in CSV (read: ASCII), so when, not if, there are problems, I can fix them in two seconds in an editor.

          2. A spreadsheet program is relatively fast compared to a database program.

          3. A spreadsheet allows me to view all of my data in a relatively compact way.

          4. The output of a database program is going to be a spreadsheet-friendly table anyway, except you have to cut-and-paste it into a spreadsheet

          • Re:Ah, Excel (Score:5, Insightful)

            by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @11:26AM (#39092539) Homepage
            Everything you list is a shortcoming of the specific interface that you are using, not of the database concept itself. The way I see it, the problem is that nobody bothered to write a UI for a database that makes it look easy and simple to edit like an Excel spreadsheet. If you agree with this view, then Excel is just another database with the absurd limitation of constraining you to fit everything into one big table (data, calculations, output formatting).
    • by Urkki (668283)

      Well, if you have a simplish problem where you need to do some calculations on some data, what would be a better solution than whipping out an Excel (or equivalent) sheet with the data and the calculations?

      Well, unless you mean something along the lines of "if Excel is the right solution, then Google Docs spreadsheet is even more right solution", then I can't really argue for common desktop use case. In mobile case (like Android + Google Docs vs. WP7 + it's office apps), I haven't tried so I don't know, but

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      So what?

      Windows is just an extremely misunderstood puzzle game, but so far nobody has made it to the highscore.

    • Ah, Excel, the most abused piece of software in the world. Is there a problem for which it is the right solution?

      It is the Swiss Army Knife of the PC world.

      • by kqs (1038910)

        It is the Swiss Army Knife of the PC world.

        Brilliant! Just like a Swiss Army Knife, it's rarely the best tool for the job, but it's always handy and works well enough for most purposes. Plus, people can use it without cutting off their own fingers.

    • ... ok?

      Just call a programmer to come in and go over use and case studies with your needs instead, and wait 3 months for approval and have the IT director work with accounting in doing a cost analysis on how much return this would be to make this client/server sql app meanwhile you get fired because the boss wanted this work done in 1 week time only. ... or you open excel and just get to work? I pick Excel. Access is great for saving forms and things like that but if you have 4 or 5 people passing it around

  • Ok with Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Urkki (668283) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:32AM (#39091993)

    Office supports all kinds of scripting. Would Apple allow apps with such scripting support on it's app store? Would Apple allow the iDevice Office version access MS online services? Unless they've changed pretty recently, I'm under impression that anything like that is a big no-no with Apple, apps which even hint at having that kind of functionality simply rejected.

    If Apple would not make exception with MS, then the iDevice MS Office would be seriously crippled, so much so that MS might be right in deciding it does not want to do that. MS is trying to develop office into a broad online offering, and I could see how Apple would not accept that on their devices.

    Of course there's a different controversy of just how much scripting should office application documents support in the first place, but I'll not get into that here...

    • Would Apple allow apps with such scripting support on it's app store?

      No, that's definitely against the rules. And there's no way Apple would make an exception for Microsoft. Apple won the fight with Adobe and killed Flash as a platform for mobile. They're big enough not to have to make concessions to Microsoft either.

      Would Apple allow the iDevice Office version access MS online services? Unless they've changed pretty recently, I'm under impression that anything like that is a big no-no with Apple, apps which even hint at having that kind of functionality simply rejected.

      I have no idea what you're talking about there. It's common place for apps to work with online services.

      • by Urkki (668283)

        Would Apple allow the iDevice Office version access MS online services? Unless they've changed pretty recently, I'm under impression that anything like that is a big no-no with Apple, apps which even hint at having that kind of functionality simply rejected.

        I have no idea what you're talking about there. It's common place for apps to work with online services.

        I meant the combination of allowing scripting and allowing online data, apart from using Apple-provided HTML engine.

        (And I'm sure Apple has spent some effort trying to figure out how to meaningfully support HTML5 without actually allowing HTML5 online applications from outside it's "garden walls", but I'm pretty sure they haven't found a way, or have they?)

    • Why not?

      I think MS would be dumb to release Office for IOS as now people have no real reason to use WindowsCE and Windows Mobile anymore.

      Apple will be thrilled. Many executives who are still using Windows mobile 6.5 phones because of pocket office or blackberries can not leave these platforms and buy Ipads and Iphones.

      MS is just porting the crappy pocket versions of Office [cnet.com] which are basically just office viewer applications which allow light editing. Not idea as a full blown Office solution but they are gre

      • Apple will be thrilled. Many executives who are still using Windows mobile 6.5 phones because of pocket office or blackberries can not leave these platforms and buy Ipads and Iphones.

        If Apple was struggling to sell iPads and iPhones then that might be the case. But they're actually flying off the shelves at an ever accelerating rate. Apple has their own office apps. I think they are quite happy with that as their solution for those moving from MS Office platforms.

        If Microsoft want to put MS Office mobile apps on the iOS App Store, then Apple will of course accept them - subject to the same rules as everyone else, which means no document based scripting.

    • by jrumney (197329)
      And coming at it from the other side, would MS let Apple take 30% from every sale?
      • And coming at it from the other side, would MS let Apple take 30% from every sale?

        I never thought about that, but you're right. MS wouldn't want to give Apple 30%, and Apple probably wouldn't want to cut MS a special deal.

      • Microsoft sell Office:Mac shrinkwrap through the Apple Store (online + cricks and mortar). And Apple will be getting a lot more than 30% of that.

  • by thammoud (193905) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:32AM (#39091995)

    Witch one will ween?

  • by gr8_phk (621180) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:45AM (#39092045)

    'Like the curtain finally falling from the Wizard of Oz to find just a small, frail, man pretending to be far more powerful and relevant than he really was,

    That actually sounds like someone talking about Apple more than Microsoft.

    Truth is they just want MS Office on Apple products because tablets will continue to be irrelevant to a large part of the world unless they have those apps. Also, the people trying to use them for business think what's missing is Office, but when they get it, they'll be missing the keyboard too, and probably the mouse.

    • Missing the point, you are.

      People will continue to use laptops/desktops to create office docs, no doubt. But many will also use tablets to view/read documents.

      Right now, plenty of people have the idea that you need Microsoft Office to work with documents. But as they look for alternatives for the tablets, they may find out that the same company produces a desktop version that while it isn't as feature full as MSOffice, it's much cheaper.

      The author is saying the MS should create Office for every relevant pla

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @09:49AM (#39092067) Journal

    I remember reading about this a few months ago. The article is here [cnet.com].

    Basically it is a very dumbed down version designed just to read office files on the go similiar to the pocket Office versions for WindowsCE of the past. They do not want adoption of IOS, but the pocket versions do encourage Windows and Office on desktop computer and kills smaller companies or Apple from getting a foothold in the market which would then threaten Windows.

    MS has to be careful and walk a very fine line here. This would negate the reason to buy a Windows smart phone as the only reason people bothered with WindowsCE organizors over palm was the ability to read work documents. Now this gives a great reason for these executives and directors to buy an Iphone. Great now I can work on them too!

    Office file formats are not going anyway. I got modded down here a few times saying I can't leave Office because I can not guarantee that my resume will look the same on someone elses computer running Office if I make it under LibraOffice. For that reason it will stay forever in business and MS Office is not going anyway as suppliers and customers will think you are incompentent if you send a document that looks funny on their computer.

    So if I worked at MS I would only release Office for Windows 8 and Windows mobile and not care what Google and Apple do as I would have the ball no matter what.

    • by ddocjohn (1019028) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @10:11AM (#39092157)

      Office file formats are not going anyway. I got modded down here a few times saying I can't leave Office because I can not guarantee that my resume will look the same on someone elses computer running Office if I make it under LibraOffice. For that reason it will stay forever in business and MS Office is not going anyway as suppliers and customers will think you are incompentent if you send a document that looks funny on their computer.

      If you can't figure out how to make a pdf then maybe they're right.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Billly Gates (198444)

        If you think it is ok to send a pdf maybe they are right about you instead?

        That is a no no in business as HR and management love to highlight and edit cover letters and resumes back and forth in internal emails. Ask any job coach or HR person? Something not editable is quickly deleted. Also look around at various job sites and internal resume submission apps on corporate websites? They all want Word docs. Sometimes they will request a PDF, but almost always will require a Word doc. Some will accept plain te

    • by mevets (322601)

      MS Office is not going anyway...
      s/MS Office/WordPerfect/g

  • Until recently, most of the people I know who keep using MS Windows do so for two reasons: games and office. Yes, some people still worry not to be able to work with Office docs on a Mac, probably because a number of years ago Office was discontinued on that OS, and that ancient feeling still haunts the !geeks. But recently, many iPads and other tablets are sold and the tide has turned ; Microsoft starts to see the tsunami wave coming, finally, and has to adapt. Office on the iPad is a start. A monopoly is
  • Many companies would be more than happy to get rid of the incompatible, bug-ridden mess called MS Office and Outlook. Why can't the businessinsider folks just learn to use Numbers [apple.com] or some other app? What is so special about their charting needs? Typically, such users are just attached to Excel because they've mastered (or so they think) the shoody MS UI and find themselves unable (or unwilling) to learn anything else...
  • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

    Next question.

    Oh, you want a reason. No keyboard.

    Next question.

    • by pr0nbot (313417)

      I agree that they shouldn't, but not for any hardware reason.

      Apple no longer need to rely on killer apps like they used to in the days when PageMaker, Photoshop, Protools etc were what sold Macs. They've sidelined the companies that once made those killer apps, and even introduced competing Apple products. I don't think it's controversial to assert that their priorities are clearly Apple and its shareholders first, customers second, developers and other third party ecosystem content and service providers th

  • Maybe it's too early...

    "Speaking of the future of Office, did you ever notice how people use MS-Word to convince people to use Google Docs?"

    Could anyone explain what this means, and what the linked-to page is illustrating?

  • SlashFUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toreo asesino (951231) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @10:07AM (#39092139) Journal

    'Microsoft's biggest miss was allowing the world to finally see the truth behind the big lie — they were not needed to get real work done.

    Only on slashdot is Microsoft Office dying or not needed any more. Back in the real world; the place many here I'm sure must forget exists or something, Office 2010 is selling better than any other MS Office suite before - http://www.techspot.com/news/44268-microsoft-office-2010-turns-one-is-the-fastest-selling-version-ever.html [techspot.com].

    MSFT aren't the evil machine they used to be, kids. Move on.....move on......

    • Slashdot used to be composed of college kids a decade ago with no work experience outside of school projects and sourceforge. I guess some still have not worked in an office yet who write such things or are just hopefully MS Office dies a horrible death :-)

      I have a love hate relationship with it. I hate Word particularly. But I only use Office and not LibraOffice because I live in the real world. I support these apps for a living and need to know how they work and how to anticipate their weaknesses. Also I

    • by gtall (79522)

      MS bamboozling Android phone makers into patent royalties implies MS is just as evil a machine as they ever were. They simply have less weapons now that the hardware scene is shifting away from machines that can run their bloatware.

  • That really is the only question that need to be answered. Prove to the shareholders that it will, and they will support it.

  • Office 365 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brunes69 (86786) <<gro.daetsriek> <ta> <todhsals>> on Sunday February 19, 2012 @10:07AM (#39092143) Homepage

    Microsoft is not stupid. The future of office is not on the desktop, it is in the cloud. This is why they made Office 365, which works on any modern web browser, including the iPad.

    There is not need for a "native app" for an office suite. If anything, just do what 50% of developers already to and wrap the website in a "native app" UI so that it shows up on the appstore.

    • by oakgrove (845019)
      I'd really like to believe what you're saying here but there is just one problem. JavaScript is at least an order of magnitude slower than the equivalent native code meaning an application all things being equal has to have an order of magnitude less computational complexity to be as responsive than the same thing in js. I know I know. Computer waits on the user etc. The only thing is an a mobile application developer, I tried and tried to make JavaScript HTML and CSS work. I tried webview I tried phone g
  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @10:10AM (#39092149)

    Okay, I can understand wanting some kind of rudimentary spreadsheet viewing/editing application for tablet/mobile devices, but Excel is a particularly good example of a program that really needs a physical, full-size keyboard. There are numerous key combinations and shortcuts that are absolutely essential for efficient usage of Excel. If you're doing any kind of spreadsheet work, you need a keyboard with a numeric keypad, cursors, and Ctrl/Alt/Shift/F-number keys. Tapping an on-screen keyboard just isn't going to cut it, especially when that keyboard takes up valuable screen space that would otherwise be used to display more cells.

    In a way, Excel is like Photoshop in that regard. Keyboard shortcuts are huge. These are applications that have evolved their present UI design to suit a desktop computing environment to the point where it would be incredibly cumbersome to adapt it to a tablet device with no mouse, no physical keyboard, and limited screen size. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but if you did actually manage to accomplish the task, users would almost have to completely relearn how to use the application. Nor am I saying that one should even attempt to design a full-featured version of Excel for tablet devices. My view is that tablets really are best suited for content consumption for most kinds of quantitative or visual data. It has nothing to do with whether we're talking about an iPad or some other tablet. The essence of what Excel does, and how the user creates spreadsheets in it, is something I don't think could translate well to such a device. And in light of this, I think the question of whether some incarnation of Office should be developed for iOS seems to be besides the point.

    • by am 2k (217885) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @11:07AM (#39092443) Homepage

      Okay, I can understand wanting some kind of rudimentary spreadsheet viewing/editing application for tablet/mobile devices, but Excel is a particularly good example of a program that really needs a physical, full-size keyboard. There are numerous key combinations and shortcuts that are absolutely essential for efficient usage of Excel. If you're doing any kind of spreadsheet work, you need a keyboard with a numeric keypad, cursors, and Ctrl/Alt/Shift/F-number keys. Tapping an on-screen keyboard just isn't going to cut it, especially when that keyboard takes up valuable screen space that would otherwise be used to display more cells.

      If you think shortcuts on an on-screen keyboard are the way UIs on touch devices are done, you haven't understood how they work. On touch devices, there are no shortcuts. The on-screen keyboard is used for text entry, nothing more. If you want to select a cell, you just tap on it, you don't press some kind of arrow button. If you want to make something bold, you tap the bold button right next to the text field. With a pure software UI, you can make any special-purpose input you want. For example, take a look at the Numbers number keyboard [macobserver.com]. You just have exactly the buttons you need, and they say exactly what they do. No need to remember any shortcuts or functional correspondences.

      • Wow, how did that comment get modded 5, Informative?

        The shortcuts aren't about just moving around and selecting cells. If you think that's what this is about, then you obviously are not much of a user of Excel. It's about the ease, immediacy, and PRECISION of filling in cells with formulas based on references to other cells and automatically selecting ranges of cells based on whether they contain something. If I had to pinch and swipe and drag and double-tap my finger or fingers across a tablet every tim

  • I think this signals a fundamental change in mobile computing. Microsoft has clung to a (now outdated) model of forcing the same Windows apps on all "Windows" devices. Apple saw that there needed to be a differentiation between desktop applications and mobile "apps" in order for the mobile apps to be the best for that device. Their Tablet PCs aren't the answer. The day that Microsoft figures this out and makes a way to easily create a mobile app of some kind and separates the desktop and mobile platforms th

  • OK, so there are some uses (such as (a) being able to look something up on the internet from the sofa without wasting a few seconds walking to the always-on desktop, and (b) being able to carry all your holiday snaps around to show to people who didn't know they wanted to see them, and (c) there are some cool games for two-year-olds to play with) but none of them apply to me.

    So, I use computers for email (fondleslab no use without an add-on keyboard), web (ditto, unless you stick to read-only sites), softwa

    • by mevets (322601)

      Is it funny that my fondleslab keyboard is an add-on, but my desktop one isn't? They are physically the same keyboard, just my desktop isn't much use without it, but my fondleslab can still do a few things.

      One of them is be mixed signal scope (with oscium plugs, which I suppose are an add-on'). I knew that watching lines squiggle across the screen was a lot like watching youtube videos, so I thought it would be a nice fit. It was.

      I'm sorry to hear that software development == Visual Studio. Shell (th

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @11:27AM (#39092549) Journal

    With Microsoft's stock not performing for the last few years (a decade?) maybe Apple should just buy Microsoft with it's gigantic amount of cash ($100B and soaring!).

    Not only would it guarantee, forever, Microsoft products on Apple platforms but it would enable Apple to completely dictate the future of the PC industry. Even Android would probably crumble, what use is your smartphone if your competitor controls ALL the PCs that you'd likely use it with? As well as providing a viable alternative to Google search?

    Maybe that's why Apple's been saving its pennies. Can you think of a better use for (in a few years) a couple hundred billion dollars?

    (Ok, ok, I know the regulatory agencies in all over the world will likely have some anti-trust issues with this. But it's a useful fantasy to see what Apple's cash hoard could be used for.)

    • Microsoft's market cap is $260billion. So Apple will need at least $200billion more before they can do that (and it's also assuming they can buy a majority share.....how much do Gates, Allen and Ballmer own? More than 50%?)
  • by david.emery (127135) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @11:28AM (#39092557)

    Here's an interesting article that says Microsoft (pronounced 'Ballmer') missed the boat: http://minimalmac.com/post/17758177061/microsofts-biggest-miss [minimalmac.com] Tablets in general are proof that Microsoft Office is not 'required' to do useful work. So even if MS could jam Word into a tablet form-factor (e.g. memory and screen footprints), people are now realizing you don't need all that crap to write letters, reports, etc.

    (As someone who once spent several months, full-time, evaluating word processors, this is not a surprise to me. MS Word is a mediocre product, in true Microsoft fashion it captured and locked in the market through sales and distribution, not through technical merit.)

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:34PM (#39093419) Journal

    ...I imagine, would hear something like this:

    Exec responsible for Office sales: "An ipad port has the potential to send Office sales through the roof, especially if we price it reasonable enough to insure significant penetration."

    Exec responsible for Windows sales: "Office is one of the driving factors in Windows sales."

    Balmer: "No Office on the ipad. We will use it to drive sales of Windows 8 tablets."

    Exec responsible for Office sales: "With all due respect, the company needs a product line to rely on once Windows declines. This could be a big opportunity to be relevant this decade."

    Balmer: Throws a chair.

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