Microsoft probes Apple’s iPhone for profit opportunities

“For a little more than a week, a team of Microsoft’s Silicon Valley software engineers has been examining the iPhone software development kit (SDK for short), a set of tools Apple released this month that let outsiders build software for the iPhone and the iPod touch. Microsoft executives aren’t sure yet whether they’ll find worthwhile opportunities to sell iPhone software – but they seem eager to find out,” Jon Fortt blogs for Fortune.

Fortt reports, “‘It’s really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone,’ Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Specialized Devices and Applications Group, told Fortune on Monday. ‘To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we’re actually in the process of trying to understand that now.'”

“The Mac unit’s work certainly isn’t charity – it delivers millions of dollars in profit for the company with its Mac version of the Office productivity suite,” Fortt repots. “Microsoft doesn’t break out exact numbers, but we can extrapolate: Gibbons said the Mac Business Unit provides about a third of the revenue for the Specialized Devices and Applications Group, which also includes Windows Embedded, Microsoft Hardware, the Automotive Business Unit and Microsoft Surface Computing; the whole group did more than $1 billion in sales last year. So it’s reasonable to guess that the Mac unit provided about $350 million – and since Gibbons said the Mac group was one of the group’s more profitable units, it’s possible that Microsoft made somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million in profit from Mac software.”

Full article here.

Why doesn’t Gibbons get his crack team of spaghetti coders to “try to understand” why they dropped Outlook for Macintosh, just can’t seem to code and release a new one, and can’t deliver feature parity on any of their other products? We’ll save them the effort: It’s because Microsoft wanted to force businesses to keep buying PCs instead of Macs; not on their own merits (because they lose badly), but by creating artificial lock-in. It’s the Microsoft way. And it worked — until Steve Jobs executed an end-around with Intel-powered Macs that could slum it with Windows when necessary.

So, same as with our Macs, we’ll install intentionally-hobbled Microsoft bloatware on our iPhones as soon as infinity rolls around, thanks.


  1. If they were SMART (I know, that’s a mighty BIG IF), they would simply pay Apple to develop whatever they “think” Office users need.

    A microsoft product for the iPhone is guaranteed to break UI conventions, slow down the entire phone, and may very well introduce macro viruses to the iPhone (like they did with Office for the Mac in the 90’s).

    The virus thing might even happen intentionally. I’m sure Microsoft engineers have been looking into that for over a year, now.

  2. There are those who accuse Microsoft of copying Apple’s ideas and features in their operating systems.

    It makes you wonder if they are looking at Mac OS Mobile with a view to their continuing development of Windows Mobile 7, due out in 2009.

  3. As much as I don’t want it on MY iPhone – enterprise users will want as many Office capabilities as possible on their iPhones. And Apple obviously cares about iPhone in the enterprise.

    The only reason Microsoft wouldn’t develop iPhone apps is if they want to cut the iPhone off at the knees. This will just leave the opportunity for someone else to develop software that edits Office docs on the iPhone.

  4. Thank God, Apple will vet all software through the App store! And if MS does manage to come up with something decent, Apple will receive a 30% cut!
    Apple wins both ways. Keep the crap out and make money off anything good. In any event, it won’t have anything to do with WinCe. Who knows, maybe they’ll come out with a great version of Solitaire or something.

  5. I run my own business and I do it without one single Micros**t product of any kind.

    I decided to put my money where my mouth was and remove all traces of Micros**t from my life. My website has a notice on the back page. It reads, “Micros**t free company. No Micros**t product was used in the production of this site.”

    It can be done. I recommend everyone at least try.

    You are a Mac user and you use Micros**t? Cut the cord.

  6. Would love to cut the chord, but Pages choked when I threw it a biig text file, and Numbers choked when I threw it a biig spreadsheet. I have to get my work done… without wasting too much time. Had high hopes for Pixelmator too, until I threw it a biig scan… etc. Maybe in a few years… when the capabilities surpass that of the established bloatware corporations, I can leave them “behind” – [MW].

  7. Its great that Microsoft, with its resources, will develop software for the iPhone. MS has name brand recognition and people will flock to buy the numerous different apps that MS can quickly produce in response to consumer wishes…..and Apple will make money off of it.

    OK Zune Tang….here is the text you asked me for….

  8. Apple should ban them.

    Many many people will buy the program because its Microsoft Office for the iphone. They will write BAD CODE that will clog up your beautiful iPhone. This will make you think there is something wrong with it and ditch it.

  9. Hey hey… arn’t we here to encourage creativity and focus.

    We should let microsoft find it’s true image, it’s zen… maybe they’ll make something good, after the vista flop, they really are trying hard to keep their software firm…

    Maybe the iPhone is their answer…

  10. MS has a history of punishing Apple when it decides to compete on what MS has decided is its territory. The latest, of course, is pulling the macro capability from the new version of Excel. Idiots! I would have upgraded to Office 2008 had they not crippled Excel, but I have to stick with ’04 version for the macros. As far as the SDK goes, MS is looking at it not to build applications, but to get clues on copying the iPhone OS. Plain and simple, that’s what they do.

  11. picture the scene form 2001 where the hairy apemen are surrounding, grunting and screaming (kinda like Ballmer!) at the monolith (iphone resembles it a bit eh?) and you get the idea of what research is like at MS.

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