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Why Microsoft Office For iOS Will Likely Never See the Light of Day 270

Posted by samzenpus
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along? dept.
MojoKid writes "It has been over six years since Apple introduced the iPhone. Millions of apps have been written for the platform in that time, with collective downloads into the billions. Apple's App Store is a thriving marketplace with a huge amount of software available, except Microsoft Office. There's a version of Office for iOS supposedly in the works, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer threw cold water on the idea when asked about upcoming events for the Office suite after launching the new Office 2013 / Office 365 products earlier this week. Revenue sharing is reportedly a major sticking point. Microsoft is trying to push people towards yearly subscriptions with Office 2013 and Office 365, but Apple requires a 30 percent profit share on sales of any app in their store. Microsoft reportedly isn't thrilled at the idea of sharing that much revenue. It's ironic — when Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac nearly 20 years ago, it was seen as a lifeline for the beleaguered manufacturer. Now, Microsoft is knocking on the door of Apple's business and Cupertino seems disinclined to answer."
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Why Microsoft Office For iOS Will Likely Never See the Light of Day

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  • wtf (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yincrash (854885) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @01:42PM (#42778659)

    It's ironic — when Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac nearly 20 years ago, it was seen as a lifeline for the beleaguered manufacturer. Now, Microsoft is knocking on the door of Apple's business and Cupertino seems disinclined to answer.

    This conclusion absolutely does not follow from the sentence that came before it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amiga3D (567632)

      The reason Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac wasn't altruism. He was at the time trying to fight off the Justice Departments charges of abusing their monopoly. Porting Office was one way to show they weren't really a big bad evil that refused to play nice.

      • Re:wtf (Score:4, Informative)

        by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @02:08PM (#42778847)
        Office has been available for mac since 1989, before it was even available for Windows. Office on mac wasn't something that happened in reaction to antitrust investigations.
        • Re:wtf (Score:5, Informative)

          by samkass (174571) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @02:19PM (#42778929) Homepage Journal

          Indeed... Microsoft Excel was refining itself on the Mac when Lotus 1-2-3 on DOS was the primary spreadsheet for the business world in the 80's. It wasn't until OS/2's failure in the early 90's (when the other office software had generally gone the OS/2 path) that Office-on-Windows really picked up steam. Each version of Word was ported to Windows from the Mac until the much-maligned 5.0 version when they tried to reverse it and failed badly. The question in the late 90's, though, was whether Microsoft would cancel the Mac version of Office entirely or keep it going. The fact that it was always profitable probably helped the decision, but in promising to do so and investing $150M they got out of a huge number of lawsuits they probably would have lost.

          • Re:wtf (Score:4, Insightful)

            by mfnickster (182520) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @02:29PM (#42779015)

            Each version of Word was ported to Windows from the Mac until the much-maligned 5.0 version when they tried to reverse it and failed badly.

            I think you mean Word 6.0 for Mac, which was ungodly slow on most machines. Word 5.1 was highly regarded as the last "good version" of Word on the Mac for many years.

        • Re:wtf (Score:4, Informative)

          by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@comcast. n e t> on Sunday February 03, 2013 @04:11PM (#42779803) Journal
          Actually at that point Microsoft had pretty much blatantly said to Apple they no longer would make Office for the mac. It was only once the Anti-trust issues started that they reverse course and finally released a new version 5 years after they had made the last version. There was a time period there where Claris was replacing Office as the office suite of choice on the mac thanks to Microsofts neglect, so much so that Apple actually bought out Claris and renamed it AppleWorks.
      • Re:wtf (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @02:29PM (#42779019) Homepage
        They never "ported" Office to the Mac; it was already there. Excel was born on the Mac, and Word for Mac was one of the early apps to legitimize it as a platform (when Windows was still a questionable alternative). What happened years later was MS promising to continue Office:Mac (and IE for Mac), a deal that gave the then-faltering Mac a safer future, and gave MS cover from abuse-of- monopoly accusations.
    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      Not only that, but Microsoft NEEDED Apple to do well in order to claim they didn't have a monopoly. Bill Gates felt no pity for Apple.

      • How come? Microsoft could have developed its applications for OS/2 (and OS/2-PPC), and proved the DoJ wrong. It could have ported them to VMS, or NEXTSTEP or (w/ more difficulty) any of the Unixes out there. In fact, the biggest evidence against their abuse of monopoly was NT/RISC. If Microsoft really wanted a 'Windows, windows everywhere' as was once alleged, they'd have been more aggressive about getting all their apps on NT/MIPS and getting Silicon Graphics to support it, as well as NT/Alpha, which D

    • Dear sir. You win! Thank goodness some people can still think here on Slashdot.
    • by Goaway (82658)

      What "conclusion"? There is no conclusion in the text you quoted. It is two contrasting statements of fact.

    • by nevesis (970522) *
      Windows 8 has a real chance at beating iOS/Android in the enterprise, which eventually makes it a challenger at home also, and this is in large part due to the ability to run Office - and *the full Office suite* at that. Why would Microsoft want to give away this advantage in exchange for short term Office sales?
      • by teg (97890)

        Windows 8 has a real chance at beating iOS/Android in the enterprise, which eventually makes it a challenger at home also, and this is in large part due to the ability to run Office - and *the full Office suite* at that. Why would Microsoft want to give away this advantage in exchange for short term Office sales?

        Because if it is phrased like that, anti trust authorities in many countries would take action: Using a monopoly/dominant position in one area (office software) to expand market share in a different area (mobile devices) is not considered a good/legal thing to do.

      • Re:wtf (Score:5, Funny)

        by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @02:46PM (#42779187)

        Windows 8 has a real chance at beating iOS/Android in the enterprise, which eventually makes it a challenger at home also, and this is in large part due to the ability to run Office - and *the full Office suite* at that. Why would Microsoft want to give away this advantage in exchange for short term Office sales?

        <Homer Simpson voice>Mmmmmmm.... Kool-Aid....</Homer Simpson voice>

        • by smash (1351)

          Actually, he's right. I'm currently trying to run an iPad as a VDI client for view, and you know what? It sucks. Bluetooth keyboard support is abysmal (various key combinations including many used in passwords simply do not reliably get sent through the VDI client and into windows), mouse support is non-existent and performance on current generation iPad hardware is "meh" (I have a 4 and a mini on my desk right now for eval).

          Apple / VMware need to pull their finger out to solve those problems (not sur

    • It's ironic — when Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac nearly 20 years ago, it was seen as a lifeline for the beleaguered manufacturer. Now, Microsoft is knocking on the door of Apple's business and Cupertino seems disinclined to answer.

      This conclusion absolutely does not follow from the sentence that came before it.

      Not only that it's COMPLETELY wrong!

      • As pointed out below in the comments Office wasn't ported to the Mac for altruistic reasons, it was ported due to DOJ monopoly investigations
      • Uhhh, which company is beleaguered today???? Oh yeah, NEITHER!
      • "Prior to packaging its various office-type Macintosh software applications into Office, Microsoft released Mac versions of Word 1.0 in 1984, the first year of the Macintosh computer; Excel 1.0 in 1985; and PowerPoint 1.0 in 1987.[62] Microsoft does not include its Access
    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Yeah, IIRC, the choice of Office suites for Apple users was typically ClarisWorks. Office was there, but hardly the thing that drove Mac sales - those who wanted mainly that could get Windoze.
      • Back then Office wasn't as entrenched in the business world, either. It was one of several competing systems. Businesses *depending* on Microsoft Office is something that sorta developed gradually in the last 15 years. (Document sharing over the net sorta contributed to that, making the need to get onto a single suite more urgent.)

  • the MS app store better not be come the only way to get windows apps as windows will lose all of it's pro apps and steam games to Linux.

  • android has more then 1 app store IOS and windows need to copy that.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      android has more then 1 app store IOS and windows need to copy that.

      Apple: Why?
      Microsoft: We'd love to get a cut of most app sales.

      Why do we need app stores that make software 40%+ more expensive (assuming a 30% cut, to make $10 you must charge $14.29)? Can't people sell their own software like on Windows and OS X today?

    • Windows 8 already has 3 major apps stores that I can think of off the top of my head:
      1) MS App Store
      2) Steam
      3) Any website

      Also, the MS App Store lets you get Desktop Apps direct from the vendor. They don't even demand a cut of the action. The Windows 8 app ecosystem has everything going for it in spades better than iOS (easily) or even Android's openness.

      If you don't go with a Metro App from Microsoft's storefront, you can still use the style elements and as I recall you can still hook into WinRT. You ju

      • by adamstew (909658) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @03:02PM (#42779315)

        Apples and Oranges. You are comparing Microsoft's desktop operating system with Apple's mobile operating systems. If you compare Apple's Desktop operating system (OS X) to Microsoft's Desktop Operating System (Windows 8) then you still have the same 3 options: Apple's App Store, Steam, and any website.

        If you compare Microsoft's MOBILE operating systems (Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone) to Apple's mobile operating system (iOS), you end up with the same comparison: You are able to get apps from the sanctioned app store of the vendor.

        • When Apple realizes the market they managed to get consumers interested in is taking off in a new direction and decide to offer the full OSX experience on their tablets, then that would apply.

          For the moment though, they are keeping the platform too walled off to be as nimble as Windows 8 and Android are becoming.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Play and Amazon both take 30% so what benefit is there to Microsoft (who also takes 30% from their store sales) and Android is the worst because Google basically makes you open up your phone to vulnerabilities just to add legit sources like Amazon.
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      I love the fact that Android allows side loading, and thus the existance of alternate app stores, but they really need to make an AppStore API. Currently if you use an alternate app store, you have to enable side loading from anywere. You should be able to load an app as an "AppStore" application, and from that point forward, the OS should treat it as a trusted repository. This way we could all turn off load from "unknown sources".
  • Look at the direction office is going now. Cloudy.

    They won't *need* a native iOS version: A bit more work and most of it will be able to run as a web-app. It'll need extensive tweaking for each browser to manage such a complicated interface, but MS can manage that.

    • Re:Obvious. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sarten-X (1102295) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @02:47PM (#42779189) Homepage

      It'll need extensive tweaking for each browser to manage such a complicated interface, but MS can manage that.

      Right, just like OWA [wikipedia.org] works fully on all browsers. After all, it's been out for a decade already and it's been redesigned several times...

      Microsoft will never even try to "manage that", because it goes against Microsoft's core business model. While most companies accept that customers want tools that do the job well, Microsoft only makes tools that do the job well only when paired with other Microsoft products. This is why the term "Microsoft shop" is so much more common than an equivalent "Adobe shop" or "Oracle shop", or even an "Apple shop" - at least when referring to more than a single tool.

      Despite Apple's alarming growth and nasty business tactics, I just can's seem to gather as much hatred for them as I can for Microsoft. Apple's tools are smooth. My iPad will easily work with anything else, whether it's connecting to OS X, Windows, or Linux (though Linux has some issues still). Using iTunes on Windows doesn't leave me looking for missing features, like I usually do when trying to use OWA from Chrome.

      On the other hand, I expect that Office will never have an iOS app or a full WebKit-compatible interface. Microsoft can still bring its monopoly power to bear, and use its Office market share to promote its floundering Surface tablets. Some companies (probably including my current employer) will be interested in using tablets, but they need Office more than they need any feature of iOS, so they'll buy Surface tablets out of necessity, not choice.

      Office documents are the last monopoly Microsoft has. Even its hold on the desktop OS market is breaking, as alternatives are becoming more viable with every new OS-agnostic cloud offering. Since Microsoft's main tactic has been to use its monopolies to force ancillary products on customers who just want things to work, I think we'll soon be seeing more extra "features" dropped into each new version of Office, just to force competitors to waste resources and maintain the all-important market share.

    • by bmo (77928)

      >Look at the direction office is going now. Cloudy.

      Yeah, sure, and do you trust a third party with all your data? Consider your GP, who might keep documents in the cloud. Do you think that your GP would like to be on the end of a federal prosecution and eventual civil lawsuits because of the release of medical records he/she could no longer control?

      Seriously, we see private data companies lose their clients' data far too often.

      HIPAA is a bitch and the "cloud" is not an option.

      --
      BMO

  • Funny (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drolli (522659) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @01:48PM (#42778729) Journal

    Apple should probably pay MS to port MS Office to iOS and preinstall it on ipads.

    That could tilt the movement to Android back in their direction.

    just my 2c

    • That's a pretty high valuation of MS Office, which I doubt would really pay for itself, ever. Also, I don't see a *mass* migration of Android that Apple should be worry about. Yes, people are moving to Android but people are also moving to Apple. Yes the direction is greater in the Android direction, but that's to be expected in a duopoly. Highs and lows, that kind of stuff wouldn't make a serious company change any kind of course, because it's part of the normal model.

      Office doesn't offer a ton in th
      • by drolli (522659)

        I am not sure in which worl you live in, but in my world i have to fill the forms from the administration in excel or word. Its sad but true.

        And most office packages break compatibility with office documents. So a thing which could be two minutes (e.g. fill in a number of hours) requires me to boot my laptop, start windows, start word/excel, wait until it send/receives email (unless i am in the train at a location without mobile network). Takes much longer than on my mobile phone. which inform me when it ge

    • by caseih (160668)

      The last thing MS wants is to help iOS adoption. Balmer is fixated on his own answer, Windows 8 RT. There's no way he would undermine that with a deal like this. Plus he's also fixated on this office in the cloud bit. If you could run an nice slick interface to the cloud version of MS Office in Safari, I think that might be better for MS.

    • by perpenso (1613749)

      Apple should probably pay MS to port MS Office to iOS and preinstall it on ipads. That could tilt the movement to Android back in their direction.

      For infrequent office document use, Apple's Pages and Numbers mac apps seem to have good Word and Excel compatibility, at least for the basic documents and spreadsheets that I have created and/or received. The Pages and Numbers ios apps are able to share documents with their mac counterparts via iCloud, admittedly I have not done much work via an iPad, just minor edits and emailing of documents.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @01:49PM (#42778741)
    MS isn't being creative enough is what it sounds like.

    Offer the ability to create / edit documents via a free MS Office suite on the iDevice.

    Offer a subscription service to be able to save/open those files off the device.

    Apple isn't forcing Netflix to hand over 30% of their revenue, because they give up the App for free.

    But boo hoo, MS has to pay what everyone else does to Apple for the service.
    • by alen (225700)

      Amazon doesn't pay anything either along with all the other enterprise software makers that have apps in the App Store that require subscriptions

      You just have a login screen and can't mention anything about signing up or any links for the user to follow. Like amazon does

      Amazon even sells kindle books via their iOS app with no revenue sharing with apple

    • by bazorg (911295)

      Offer the ability to create / edit documents via a free MS Office suite on the iDevice.

      Offer a subscription service to be able to save/open those files off the device.

      Then someone would find a little app that works around this limitation of where the files can be saved and MS would have given away a product that is really important for their overall sales. Giving discounts and freebies is really difficult to undo.

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      I could be wrong, but Apple only tries to take 30% when its in app purchase, its why skydrive was yanked off the app store as it had in app purchase for more space and apple wanted a cut.
    • by Spykk (823586)
      Right up until Apple decides that it competes with their own software and removes it. Now Microsoft is out all of the money it spent developing an iOS version of Office because they foolishly trusted an environment where a direct competitor dictates what can and cannot be sold, plus they marginalized the only upside to their own mobile OS. Staying out of Apple's walled garden is the only move that makes sense.
  • by ewieling (90662) <(gro.sdronf) (ta) (cire)> on Sunday February 03, 2013 @01:58PM (#42778795)
    Sounds like a perfect opportunity for OpenOffice or LibreOffice to be ported to iOS.
  • I find it incredible that anyone still feeds this monopoly when viable alternatives have existed for years; It doesn't exist on Android set to overtake windows this year; Is stupidly expensive for a piece of software with no new compelling features for years; Written documents rarely done in Word...more likely email.

    Ballmer is probably right Google Docs is likely to win on the new dominant platforms, personally though I find it insane that Microsoft would intentionally hurt its Monopoly in Office Suites.

    • by n6kuy (172098)

      Except for certain managers where I work. They write their plain text emails in Word, then attach the Word file to the email...

    • I think it will all be over for MS of they port Office to iOS and Android.

      Think 10 years from now what will be available? Clouds, managed service providers, outsourced IT, HTML 5/6 apps in browsers and applets. Where does Win32 sit in there? It doesn't. Doe the managers today want ugly Metro bulky laptops or sleek sexy IPADS?

      Hell, today Citrix makes software as a browser plugin where you can run your IE 6 shit apps on a remote Windows 2k3 server just fine. It is all secured, locked, and works in many differ

  • Look at Netflix - a very tiny minority of users subscribe to Netflix through AppleTV using their iTunes account.

    Very few people would also subscribe to Office365 through an iDevice. Most will subscribe through other means and download the app for free.

    I call hogwash.
  • by hemp (36945) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @02:07PM (#42778835) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft shipped Excel for Apple OS in 1985, a few years before shipping a version for Windows.

  • This is an interesting story, despite the terrible summary.

    For work & family, I have to juggle documents across Linux, Windows, BBerry, Apple and Android devices.
    Probably the same for many people here.

    First of all, there's no need for this, since Apple (and others) already offer perfectly adequate apps for viewing, and even editing, MS Office documents on iPad and iPhone. But having tried it, I guarantee you'll only do it once. Sticking rusty nails in your eye is probably less painful.
    Well, OK, at lea

  • Back them Gates was struggling as well. So it was a mutual thing. Today, only MSFT has anything to gain from office on the iOS platform. On an iOS device the ONLY useful app is really powerpoint, and Apple has Keynote that is vastly superior to powerpoint in every way. Why would someone want to downgrade to powerpoint on iOS?

    No sane person would want to work on spreadsheets on a tablet. Same for everything else in the MS OFFICE lineup outside of PowerPoint.

    MS office is losing. It is losing slowly bu

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Spreadsheets on tablets make complete sense. Particularly if you are talking about a 10" tablet. Buy a ClamCase http://clamcase.com/ [clamcase.com] for your iPad, and saying that spreadsheets on a table make no sense is the same thing as saying spreadsheets on a laptop make no sense.

      Office applications on tablets is down right inevitable because tablets replacing most laptops is inevitable.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        You say this but have you actually watch this in real time? I have. I watched two of our sales people try and use the microsoft tablet to work on a spreadsheet and it took them 3X longer than if they just used the laptop. Both of these guys do nothing but fight with these things, plus the intranet apps DO NOT work on the Internet Explorer that is on the MS tablet. They do work with chrome on the ipad and the android tablets.

        I keep hearing from people that the tablet is the "PERFECT" platform for of

  • Maybe there's an Excel port of Farmville 2... or maybe Angry Words or Temple Run Powerpoint.
  • Great office for iOS, who cares! There are many equally good open source packages that actually bring a more powerful office experience to the user. Personally I'm a big fan of Libre Office and I find it bring more to the table as a great office suite, minus Excel you really don't need office in a given day. So even if Office never see's iOS I don't see a lot of people caring.
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      um no

      maybe for the home user using a shaky msoffice 2003 clone is ok for grocery budgeting or the church newsletter, but it falls in the real world

      for example, go and try to open a spreadsheet in libre with more than 1024 columns

  • Surface (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iceborer (684929) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @04:23PM (#42779875)
    If you put Office on the iPad, the only real reason to buy Surface goes away.
    • Maybe the Surface RT. The Pro has much of what power users wanted out of the iPad, but which Cupertino has decided isn't part of their base, i.e. file access, stylus input, full applications. If MS smacked Intel around enough to get a low power / dual mode chip that let them slim the chassis down to within 10% of the iPad weight/thickness and still get 8+ hours of battery life in surfing/work processing mode, and threw in an LTE chip, people would start wondering why you even need an iPad.

  • So MS is forgoing revenue altogether over this cut? Seems unlikely. I think giving their own mobile offerings a market advantage and the existing competition on iOS probably have more to do with it. After all, the sell software retail and a lot more than 30% goes to retailer and distributor in that model.

  • My guess that will come via Office 360 or whatever the online version of MS Office will be. They'll do their best to support iOS and Windows devices at the expense of Android just has Microsoft has with their Azure platform and mobile services. As much as Apple and Microsoft may not like each other, they are both in the position of needed each other for the time being against Google & Android.

    I've gotten by the past couple years just fine with what used to be called iWork for Mac and iOS. Recently th

  • Slashdot is quickly losing any clout it had gathered in the last 10 years thanks to these new editors in the past few years. I'm all for providing a critical analysis of companies, such as Apple or Microsoft, but this summary was just stupid. Microsoft has been making Office for Mac for YEARS prior to the investment they made in Apple in the late 90's, which was a token gesture to show good faith to the Justice Department because MS was under *criminal* review. They made a significant investment in Apple an

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