Microsoft signs its death warrant – with an iPad

“A leaked report claims Microsoft intends bringing Office to Apple iPads — but not until 2014,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “Meanwhile IDC informs us that PC sales have slumped to a 20-year low. Microsoft’s refusal to follow trend means it has signed its own death warrant… Neither IDC not Gartner (who also published PC market figures yesterday) account for tablet sales as PCs. A third analyst firm, Canalys, does do this, and believes tablet sales will eclipse notebook sales by 2014.”

“The IDC and Gartner figures also confirm that Windows 8 has failed to ignite the PC market, and, indeed, has served to slow that market,” Evans writes. “Microsoft, with its anachronistic worldview, believes that by making Office software unavailable to users of other mobile platforms [Apple’s iPad, in particular], it can leverage this lack in order to create future demand. This isn’t going to work… By adopting this path, Microsoft is signing its own death warrant.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s iPad and iPhone are already firmly ensconced into the Fortune 500 and SMB market without Microsoft’s bloated morass of insecure spaghetti-code and nobody’s buying Windows-based tablets. The world is rapidly learning that it can live without Office and, by failing to pollute iOS devices with their crapware, Microsoft is spreading the news better than anyone. Heckuva job, Balmy, heckuva job!

Related articles:
Report: Office for Mac coming spring 2014, Office for iOS due in autumn 2014 – April 10, 2013
To stellar CEO Steve Ballmer, Office without iPad support makes ‘a lot of sense’ – January 30, 2013
Microsoft still unsure about when, or if, they’ll release Office for iPad – June 7, 2012

58 Comments

    1. I don’t even think consumers have to become aware – the majority of tablet buyers seem not to consider Office as being relevant to that device, thus the failure of Surface to catch on.

      I think the desire for Office on a tablet is a “tiny minority” and that those that really need Office (Excel, Word, and Powerpoint) are likely to use a laptop or desktop and not a compromised hybrid. That number is probably going to hold steady. For those people, I don’t believe the tablet is a replacement for the computer. Yes, they want to be able to view those files or edit them in a pinch, but it won’t be the workhorse. For those people that view tablets as computer replacements, the vast majority do not need Office. The tradeoffs in weight and battery life, ie mobility, of a surface are not necessary to most consumers, nor do they buy computing devices for work.

  1. “A source close to the North Korean regime reported that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is furious about the Windows 8 problems and is considering a number of options, including declaring war on Microsoft.”- Borowitz

  2. Introduction of the crappy Ribbon was the end for me. I will continue to use Office 2008 until it just won’t run any more. I’ve started using Pages and Numbers but am not up the learning curve on them yet, but they look capable enough to do most anything I would be doing.

    1. In the early days, I held off on Pages for a while because of differences. Then a friend took just a few minutes to show me a some basics. I rapidly found Pages to be much cleaner, easier to use, enormously more stable, and with some capabilities that Word doesn’t have. I’ve never looked back.
      I’m told Numbers doesn’t have the power of Excel, but the vast majority of users don’t need the power of Excel, just like most people who need to do a little image manipulation don’t need the professional tool of Photoshop.
      As I did, you might keep Word and Excel around “just in case” — and then maybe find it’s a surprisingly long time since you used either.

        1. WKRP…. I love that show!

          Ballmer is the Less Nessman, a clueless happy go lucky oaf.

          Turkey’s crashing into parked cars and people, yep Microsofts plan for total destruction. … Of itself.

    2. I have used nearly every version of Word on MS-DOS, then the Mac, then in Windows. (Word was originally written for the Mac and ported to Windows two years later.) I drew the line at the ribbon, which takes up too much vertical space. The ribbon also orphaned all expert users. I switched to Pages. I now have several thousand Pages documents, one of which is over 1,200 pages long. Pages is easier to use than Word and just as capable.

      Numbers allows more than one table on a worksheet, which is a vast improvement over Excel (designed for the Mac and ported to Windows two years later). It has fewer functions, but if you are not an accountant, you’ll find everything you need.

      I suspect the real reason why there won’t be an iPad version of Office until 2014 is because their developers started late and aren’t very competent.

    3. Don’t fear change. The ribbon is the best thing that ever happened to Office. Before the ribbon, menu items were hard to find, buttons were tiny and cluttered.

      The ribbon brought the interface closer to the Mac’s interface.

      I bet you stuck with System 9 until you had to change, too.

      1. The problem with the ribbon wasn’t really the ribbon, though there are so many ribbons and toolbars and bows and barrettes, that there’s a significant loss of vertical space. The real problem was the abrupt removal of the menus.

        I was in a position to call Microsoft and talk to a human, so I did. I said, “You have orphaned all expert users!” and they did not care. They were forcing the change on purpose and the lack of a transition was on purpose. I told them that I didn’t think learning the ribbon was a good use of my time, because I didn’t have any, and because my experience with Microsoft Money had taught me that when Microsoft attempts to innovate a UI, it changes with every release. They had no answer to that.

        I was a technical writer working on a half-dozen projects and producing documents right and left. There wasn’t time. I had IT take Word 2007 off and put Word 2003 back on so that I could remain productive.

        Is the ribbon the best thing that happened to Office? Microsoft TOLD me outright, on the phone, that they didn’t care about me, or the impact of major changes to the UI on my productivity, so why should I care about them?

        People tend to repeat behavior. Microsoft will do this again.

        1. Agreed 100%. When I refer to the “Ribbon” I refer to the functional abomination that it became when they did away with the menus we knew and replaced them with commands with different names and scattered them willynilly all over that horrid Ribbon.

        2. Ken nailed it. MS knows better than users — they’ve got the very common IT disease thinking that because they write software they know better how to do what I need to do.

          The last time I used Word to write a book was in 1988. I left Word behind then and have never regretted it. What I do regret is all the memos from administrators that are really just text which *always* come as docx attachments. Fortunately QuickLook saves me there…

      2. BS. The ribbon takes up way too much space and it doubles or triples the number of clicks required to tunnel down to most commands.

        User-customizable toolbars are the only acceptable interface for any software with this many different commands.

    1. Actually, Microsoft has 3 cash cows – the third is their Server & related software (I only know this as i have a friend that works for them). There are still millions of companies using a PC based server, running Windows server/database software and the bigger companies have an “IT” department more or less in bed with MSFT. Lots of MSFT “account managers” “servicing” those departments.

    1. I agree with you in general. Microsoft does have some pretty capable software that Macs and iPads lack that make it possible I might reconsider. I’m specifically thinking of Streets & Trips. I like it because the entire map database resides on the device, not in the cloud and it allows multi-stop planning and route optimization. None of the current iPad or Mac offerings have that kind of power. But, they have shown no learning toward making that title available. Microsoft just sits there, waiting for the past to come back.

  3. If Apple would just improve Pages and Numbers to be fully compatible with Word and Excel, and at least major feature compliant, Apple could keep Office off of iOS devices forever and eventually kill off the entire Office suite.

      1. Apple behind MS????? are you serious? MS has been scrambling for 10 years to try to figure out how to compete with Apple , realizing that nearly everything that Apple was doing was a hit, and other than XP and Win7, MS has been a bust.

        1. For desktop OS, you may be right.

          However, iWork is NOT even close to as powerful as MS Office, and Apple doesn’t offer anywhere near the comprehensive enterprise services and products.

          No matter how much MS screws up its consumer software, its cash cows will keep it alive and well. Apple is missing a great opportunity to take on MS, but it refuses to do so.

          Who in their right mind thinks that vintage ’09 Apple productivity applications are cutting edge? You can’t be serious.

          1. Mike,
            I’m thinking you are probably not a provider to or consultant for enterprise. The VAST majority of computers I see in clients’ offices are used for very simple tasks — usually things like email, extremely basic word processing, and data input/retrieval with databases and invoicing software that is many years old. “Cutting edge” is utterly irrelevant.

            What the computers are actually used for is often forgotten when talking about small or large businesses. E.g. SO many businesses hanging on to XP. There is simply no reason to go further until they are forced to by a new purchase or by Microscum.

            1. I think you are using personal generalizations instead of verifiable facts. Neither your personal survey of how computers are used, nor mine, can possibly be an accurate indication of the diverse duties for which people and businesses design their computing infrastructure.

              Microsoft’s own sales estimates show that a version of MS Office is installed on about 70% of Macs. Sorry if that’s not what you want to hear, but it is reality.

              MS Office, despite a dramatically worse user interface since the introduction of the “ribbon”, continues to add collaboration, reviewing, versioning, and other powerful tools that enterprises large and small enjoy. iWork apps have been stagnant since 2009, giving new computer users little reason to even think that Apple’s stale software suites could offer better value. How the hell does Cook think Apple will chip away at software market share if he doesn’t roll out new features once in a while?

          2. Agreed about MS Office being a more integrated and advanced suite than iWork. Apple never has seemed very serious about putting together a business suite like Office. I don’t think anyone is going to displace MS Ofiice in enterprise. I know that management doesn’t like paying for Office, but it’s so far entrenched in business, the costs of switching to something cheaper plus the capability of Excel alone is enough to keep it that way. More Macs, iPads and iPhones are making it into business, but there’s no way MS Windows and Office get dumped in enterprise.

  4. Micro$oft was so busy protecting their position they didn’t realize they were outflanked by Apple and then Google.

    Pride was the final nail, cause Micro$oft could have done what Google did and use Linux to generate a mobile OS, but no, they had to port windows and it’s legacy code to mobile. Big strategic mistake.

  5. Microsoft Office 98 works just fine for me.

    You can put it on multiple computers owned by many different people.

    It does almost everything the latest iteration does. There are work arounds to use newer docs and spread sheets.

    There is no ribbon.

    You can run it on a Mac if you can stomach Windows.

  6. … and just when the money looks like starting to dry up, Microsoft is rumoured to be introducing a 7″ version of Surface. They obviously don’t feel that they’ve thrown away enough money yet and are keen to find another pointless project to waste their money on.

    I’ve often said that developing an iPad rival is a trap for the unwary. Withe the exception of Apple, all the other tablet manufacturers have failed to make money on their ventures. You could possibly forgive newcomers for thinking that it might be different for them, but Microsoft already has two failed tablets, with their Surface and Surface pro. They are clearly going for a hat trick of failures.

    1. At least give MS credit that it is unveiling a full family of devices. That’s what Steve Jobs did with the iPod.

      Tim Cook, slow on the uptake, waited until competitors offered multiple sized devices before offering an iPad family. And he still hasn’t woken up to the fact that customers want a family of iPhones with different price points and capabilities. Apple under Cook has become very slothly too.

  7. I’ve of two minds whenever I read stories like this. On the one hand, I want to see Microsoft humbled after the years of damage they have inflicted on Apple and the computing industry in general. On the other hand, I want to see Android destroyed. If Microsoft can just Hang In There and take on Google in their race to the bottom, that would be the best of both worlds.

    1. it’s not amazing at all. Based on Steve Ballmer’s track record, we should never expect him to make a good judgment call. Whenever he predicts industry trends, the opposite happens. (Remember his assessment of the iPhone?) Take him with you to the track and bet on whichever horse he says will lose, and you’ll rake it in.

  8. Microsoft had a take-over-the-world mentality long after it was appropriate for the company’s size. That led to anti-trust proceedings, which took them by surprise. They reacted by working with their erstwhile accusers as partners. They changed their focus from the users who use the software to the partners who sell it.

    They are obsessed with databases. Vista was delayed because they tried to make a file system that was a database, which was a bad idea and never worked. Vista became a rush job (I was a beta tester.) It was designed to benefit hardware manufacturers by coercing users into buying new technology, but the new technology didn’t appear in time. They had to butcher Vista for the low end and the whole thing went downhill from there.

    Decisions at Microsoft are made by relatively low-level managers. Designers don’t make design decisions, which explains their awful color choices and UI gaffes.

    Microsoft does performance reviews on a sliding scale, which means in every group, someone must fail. Employees do not collaborate, they spend too much time undercutting each other in office politics.

    A friend of Ballmer’s told me that he’s really a soft-spoken family man, which is why his attempts at being dynamic come across as buffoonery. It’s not his native style. He is an alien from Bizzaro World, living in an eternal Opposites Day.

    Microsoft is a patchwork quilt of too many acquisitions. It has acquired, not developed, most of its products. It has a clash of corporate cultures, a network of fiefdoms, decisions made on the wrong level by the wrong people, and focuses on sales instead of users. I remember when I could casually pick up the phone and talk to a friendly person at Microsoft. Now only Partners can do that.

    Microsoft is like the cartoon cat who doesn’t know his tail is on fire until he looks. Executives don’t know and cannot know that the company is dying or why.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.