Making iPad a Lean Forward Machine: It Won’t be Software That Does It
If Microsoft started to develop apps and productivity Office software for the iPad, would that be a signal that Microsoft is willing to cannibalize some of its own product suite and go for the innovation? And even if it was, is Microsoft targeting the right innovation in order to disrupt its own sales for more profit?
I think they are having a forest for the trees moment here.
Microsoft will be bringing all of the software we know and love to the iPad, according to this TechCrunch report. Up till now, you have not been able to do much real office work on an iPad. It’s a consumption device, meant to trigger sharing of links, or the viewing of video when you are flying from point A to point B. It’s a handy e-book reader. It’s a lean back machine. I see people using them on the subway all of the time. I’ve only seen one person using the iPad like a desktop. A flight attendant searching for flights to book last minute opened her iPad cover on the desk of a ticket agent at an airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, and revealed a spring-loaded keyboard, which she used to type in URLs.
And come to think of it, I talked to another guy on a flight from St. Louis to NYC, who said that he never bought an iPad because he could never find any ergonomically satisfying keyboards that would attach to it.
Therein lies the disruptive problem within the disruptive architecture of the iPad. I don’t think that adding a Microsoft Office Productivity suite to it will help, because the problem with the iPad and its gaps in consumption is not software, it’s hardware.
It’s a great machine, but people want it to do something it’s not doing, but they can’t get it to do that thing. They don’t like the keyboard on the touch screen, so they normally don’t use it for that. When they do use it, they have to put another keyboard attachment to it.
The Daily has a little more information on the move.
In addition to an iPad-ready version, a new edition of Office is expected for OS X Lion sometime next year. The current version of the desktop package, Office 2011, officially supports iOS versions up to Snow Leopard. A Lion version, likely available via the Mac App Store, is widely expected. Windows, too, is due for an update, with Office 2012 currently in beta form.
It’s assumed that both of these would work with Office 365 as well as mobile versions, such as Windows Phone’s Office Hub. Because it would be compatible with these full suites rather than as stand-alone apps, the pricing will most likely be significantly lower than existing Office products. In fact, it’s likely the cost will be around the $10 price point that Apple has established for its Pages, Numbers and Keynote products.
Microsoft already has numerous popular — and some not so popular — apps available for the iPad. They include Bing, MSN Onit and MSN OnPoint. There are even more available for iPhone, including Microsoft Tag, Windows Live Messenger and Wonderwall.
Re-Wired Group member Chris Spiek saw things a little differently than I did in a chat with him about it.
I think it’s an opportunity to provide a great solution. If they can ensure that .xlsx, .docx. and .pptx files open and display formatting correctly on the iPad, that will be huge for iPad users.Right now, you can open those files in the Apple-equivalent programs on the iPad, but formatting is always terrible, so editing/enhancing is limited.