iPad generation shuns Microsoft Office; one of Microsoft’s biggest squandered opportunities

“It may be one of Microsoft Corp’s biggest squandered opportunities,” Gerry Shih and Bill Rigby report for Reuters. “Tired of waiting for Office to be optimized for their mobile gadgets, a growing contingent of younger companies is turning to cheaper, simpler and touch-friendly apps that can perform word processing and other tasks in the cloud.”

“Take Artivest Holdings Inc, a New York-based financial services startup that sells alternative investment products. The New York-based company uses an app called Quip, which combines word processing and messaging, to handle all but the most sensitive legal and financial files,” Shih and Rigby report. “‘There are no more Microsoft Word documents being circulated. If someone emails me a Word document, I’ll tell them to put it in Quip,’ said Artivest Chief Investment Officer David Levine. ‘If I’m walking to and from home, or going to an appointment, I can review or edit on my iPad. Not being tied to my desk, that’s a big pro,’ he said.”

“Microsoft already has a full iPhone and iPad version of Office ready for release, the sources said,” Shih and Rigby report. “The only question is when Chief Executive Satya Nadella, who took over in February, will pull the trigger.”

MacDailyNews Take: Take your sweet time, Mr. Wrong-Hire.

“Activist investment firm ValueAct Capital, whose president Mason Morfit sits on Microsoft’s board, has more recently voiced misgivings about Office’s continued mobile absence, sources familiar with the firm said. According to one analyst estimate, Microsoft is giving up $2.5 billion a year in revenue by keeping Office off the iPad, which has now sold almost 200 million units,” Shih and Rigby report. “Some analysts say it may be too late for Microsoft to win back the iPad generation, even if it introduces a mobile-optimized Office suite in the next few months, as expected. ‘Look at the applications that are on the rise to support mobile. It is not Microsoft OneNote or Word. It’s Dropbox, or Evernote,’ said Ted Schadler, an analyst at tech research firm Forrester.”

“The rapid rise of apps such as Quip, Haiku Deck, Prezi, Paper, Smartsheet, Good and Evernote, not to mention Google Apps, is nibbling away at the Office franchise. That is particularly true among mid-sized and smaller companies, which tend to be more frugal and less dependent on legacy Office documents or spreadsheets,” Shih and Rigby report. “Companies are increasingly allowing employees to work on their personal devices – a trend the IT industry has dubbed “bring your own device” or BYOD. That is the true danger for Microsoft, said Adam Tratt, a former Office executive who is now chief executive of Seattle-based Haiku Deck, an iPad-based presentation app. ‘Microsoft rose to dominance in an age when the CIO (chief information officer) really held the keys to IT decision making,’ said Tratt. ‘Over the past five years, BYOD has really eroded the level of control that many CIOs have.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For some reason, this all sounds so familiar.

• iPad and iPhone are already firmly ensconced into the Fortune 500 and SMB without Microsoft’s bloated morass of insecure spaghetti-code. 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.MacDailyNews, January 30, 2013

• The more people who learn the fact that they do not need Office and the quicker they learn it, the better. For all we care (being 100% Microsoft free for as long as we can remember) wait until you’re dead, Microsoft. The world would be a better place without you and your ilk.MacDailyNews, March 1, 2013

• There’s nothing worse for workplace morale than enlightened employees handcuffed by intransigent IT doofuses.MacDailyNews, April 19, 2013

• The longer Microsoft dithers, the more people wake up to the fact that Office is not necessary. iPad is taking the enterprise by storm. No Microsoft Office needed. Take your time, dummies.MacDailyNews, April 10, 2013

• Microsoft had a chance to preserve one of their cash cows by making Office for iOS and Android. That window of opportunity is closing, if it hasn’t already. The world has or soon will realize that, no, actually you do not need Microsoft Office to word process or create spreadsheets and presentations. The failure to create Office for iOS and Android in a misguided push to sell tablets and phones running Microsoft OSes will be looked at as one of, if not the, biggest mistake Microsoft made during their ill-fated attempt to recover after being repeatedly, unmercifully steamrolled by Apple’s Steve Jobs with the iPhone, iPad, iCloud, App Store and the rest of the formidable iOS ecosystem.MacDailyNews, July 12, 2013

• Get ready IT doofus, whether you like it or not, your little insular world is about to be turned right-side-up from the outside in.MacDailyNews, January 5, 2013

• In our experience, the number one prerequisite for holding a job as an IT doofus is the ability to execute “perverse land grabs for relevance or job security.” That’s why they wedded their hapless companies to less-productive, less-reliable Windows PCs over Macintosh in the first place. That they continue to try to block out Apple’s iPad is hardly surprising. The good news is that they are being replaced by new blood as you read this, so IT-retarded/Microsoft-handicapped businesses are exiting, or about to exit, the dark ages and get a lot more productive!MacDailyNews, September 9, 2011

• Mr. IT Doofus: Lead, follow, or, finally, GTF out of the way. Luckily for world productivity, many of the most myopic IT idiots are retiring or soon will be. Here’s to the disappearance of entrenched, unreasonable IT morons dedicated to erecting walls to progress!MacDailyNews, November 11, 2010

• Shouldn’t IT people be out front, trying new things, pushing the envelope in order to drag their companies kicking and screaming into the future in order to boost productivity? Unfortunately, they’re all too often the complete opposite: erecting artificial barriers built on shaky or nonexistent foundations, resisting change at every turn…MacDailyNews, March, 17, 2010

• One device, Apple’s iPhone, is far more evolved than anything else on the market today. The IT dinos will be — gasp! — forced to accommodate the employees; a rarity, we know, but watch and see… The IT guys are in for a rude awakening and the iPhone is only the beginning. They will have to accommodate the iPhone. Too many important employees will demand it and IT won’t be able to stem the tide. The fact is that business people will decide which device they want to carry and their businesses will adapt to it. Just as they did with “Microsoft-incompatible” Research In Motion’s Blackberry. Apple’s iPhone will be a success with business users whether the IT guy wants it or even whether AT&T and Apple tailor marketing to businesses or not.

Note to CEOs: Who runs the company, you or the IT guy? It’s your job to make the decisions and it’s the IT guy’s job to implement your decisions that relate to technology. Just as with Macs, you need to educate yourself instead of relying on someone with their own, possibly hidden, agendas to make extremely important technology decisions for your company. Most of you could be saving a LOT of money right now, but you aren’t because you’ve delegated an important part of your company’s decision-making to people who, frankly, in our experience, aren’t capable of making good, sound, strategic, long-term decisions. Most IT guys (and we know many) are not open-minded enough to be able to consider new, better, more efficient, more effective options that would benefit your company. In fact, most IT guys we’ve met will throw up road blocks and repeat myths until they’re blue in the face in order to avoid change. Especially change that might make their department less critical or smaller. Bottom line: most of you CEOs have given the IT guy way, way, way too much power. It’s time to take it back.MacDailyNews, June 16, 2007

• Note to CEOs: your IT department should not be making final hardware and software purchasing decisions. They should be supporting your company’s technology needs. You should get independent viewpoints (find people who recommend Macs and make them explain why) and retain the decision-making role for yourselves. Don’t settle for Windows-only shackles. A marked increase in productivity and reliability for your company is there for the taking. You can get Macs and seamlessly integrate them into your business – even if all you do at first is run Windows on them. You can explore Mac OS X and better ways of doing things according to your own timeline (hint: start by using Keynote instead of PowerPoint for your presentations and watch your audiences perk up). Just don’t expect your IT people to ever recommend Apple, as they may have ulterior motives for sticking with Microsoft.MacDailyNews, January 1, 2007

Related articles:
Microsoft’s OneNote for Mac coming to Mac for free this month; Office for iPad due soon, sources say – March 12, 2014
Gartner: Apple’s U.S. Mac sales surge 28.5% as Windows PC market drops 7.5% – January 9, 2014
Hey, Microsoft-clinging IT doofus: You need to let it go already! – April 19, 2013
Microsoft partners say Windows 8 caused ‘millions of customers’ to switch to Apple – April 18, 2013
Stick a fork in Microsoft’s Windows, it’s done – April 17, 2013
Steve Jobs’ revenge – April 12, 2013
Microsoft’s stock takes beating after putrid Windows PC shipment reports – April 11, 2013
Apple Macintosh on the rise as Windows PC market plummets – April 11, 2013
Apple’s revolutionary iPad presents quandary for resistant corporate IT doofuses – January 5, 2012


  1. Squandered opportunity? I don’t think so.
    For there to be an opportunity, there would have to be people who actually wanted Office on their iPads and iPhones. I doubt many of those people ever existed.

    1. Attorney’s demand it! Office is used in every law office. Secretaries who are trained in Office staff every doctors and dentists office, every accountant, every non-profit organization – it is the primary tool of print journalists because all newspaper and magazines use MS Word. Authors need MS Word because that’s all publishers accept.
      All these people EXIST!

      1. Not too long ago, WordPerfect was the standard in law offices. I guided three attorneys’ offices through the transition to MS Office. Everything used to have to be on 8 1/2 X 14 paper, too.

      2. @Tflint,

        The problem with that kind of thinking is that Authors aren’t looking to write and submit to publishers using an iPhone (or even an iPad). Same goes for everyone else.

        I need MS Office and I was someone who would’ve paid $100 or more for an iOS version of it (see my other comment), but I had/have realistic expectations of what an office suite would be used for in a mobile environment (especially on a phone). Pretty much what people like me want is the ability to be away from our computers and receive a document, spreadsheet or presentation and be able to view it, make light changes, and send it back.

        I’m not going to ever write a novel, do a detailed financial report of a company, or prepare a SWOT analysis on an iPhone.

        So it’s about developing an app that’s primarily focused on being able to view these documents, make notes on them, send them back, and then lastly the ability to edit with compatible formatting for the receiver.

        There are numerous apps on iOS that meet my needs and the needs of people like me now.

    2. ‘Most people’ don’t change so they do look for Office, but when they can’t find it they will look for something else. Once they switch the inertia for Office leaves. Welcome ‘most people’ to Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

    3. There were plenty of those people, especially as the iPad became more mainstream in the public and private sectors. Office was probably one of the biggest reasons people suffered with Windows, and not bringing it out to the iPad was a HUGE miscalculation for them. People will find alternatives and they have. With iWorks now free why would I go with Office now? When Office does eventually arrive on the iPad it will not see the uptake it would have if it was released 2 or more years ago.

      1. I’d say both a huger miscalculation than even the article asserts AND a huge mis-execution. The fact that Windows 8 came out with not a single one of MS’s own key productivity apps – and over two years later still lacks Office and more – is likely as much the reason the OS is far from meeting sales expectations as the fact that it’s such a departure from “all the Wins that went before” – i.e., a burning of bridges that leaves all the loyalty to “old Win” squandered.

        So ALL users are now going to be choosing a post traditional-Win OS: Mac OS, Chrome, Linux, Android, iOS or the one from MS that was going to be called Metro but now has no name other then “Modern.” (And I know they’re backtracking to bring their old Desktop back, but good luck with integrating the two-headed beast Sinofsky/Ballmer left them with.)

        And meanwhile, if they can’t even get a version of OFFICE optimized for mobile, touch/voice-centric devices out on their OWN operating systems, it follows they’ve also had trouble doing so for iPads.

        So – even if they’re about there – and the iPad version was ready a few months before the Win version – those months of “sitting on” the iPad version until they have their own release ready won’t make much diff to the product’s uptake on iDevices, but would impact the future of their own Win 8 – both on the Surface models and OEM models alike.

        That is, think of the irony of “New Office” (or whatever) being available on iPads but not on any Windows devices.

        Quite the corner they’ve backed themselves into here. And perhaps fittingly ironic that MS is likely to become the next IBM – since they’re the company that sundered the public’s connection to IBM and sent Armonk solely back into the plumbing of the enterprise (the occasional guest appearance on Jeopardy notwithstanding)…..

    4. Key word “wanted” (past tense). I’m one of them. Then I discovered that I can do anything I need to do in Pages, and export as .docx for use by my coworkers. I’ll take the native app, already optimized for the iPad over an app that is a mishmash of compromises. Yup. I USED TO want Office on my iPad. Not any more.

      1. The real problem isn’t exporting to Word, but *importing* from word. When a coworker gives you a document to work on and much of the formatting is lost because of features Pages doesn’t support, you’re kind of hosed. Especially if you have to return that document to the coworker after some edits.

        Would love to get rid of Word. On the Mac it constantly hangs up on me (losing unsaved work) and it has lots of other stupid bugs. Alas, the people I work for can’t work with Pages files (exported to .docx or otherwise).

        Someday, we’ll be free of this albatross. We’re not quite there yet.

    5. I’m definitely someone who wanted MS Office on my iPhone and iPad. I even posted here that I would be willing to pay $100, maybe even more if Microsoft released Office for iOS.

      Now, I doubt that even if MS Office were free and ad-free that I would use it because the alternatives have gotten really good and I doubt that MS Office could match them in terms of features, functionality, UI, UE, and ironically even in terms of MS Office compatibility.

      Microsoft totally blew it because those of us who needed mobile Office compatibility, really needed it and were willing to pay pretty much anything.

      Years later, we’ve made it work. We’ve bought cheap apps that have gotten better and better over the years.

    6. But 5 – 6 years ago, people still thought they needed MS Office to survive. Now, hundreds of millions of mobile users gotten along just dandy for way too long.

  2. Considering that I get people sending me letters produced in excel, people clearly don’t know how to use the apps they have, so as long as it can produce text they’ll cobble something together. Microsoft had ubiquity going for it and threw it away by thinking that they their dominance was based on quality. Ultimately, if they have to do something people will figure it out, and when given alternatives they’ll choose the best for their requirements.

  3. Folks, Mac fans, I am so excited to announce that MS Office will be coming to the iPad and iPhone in the spring. I have asked the Office development team to rigidly follow iOS 7 design guidelines.

    You’ll love it when you see it. The Office icons will be flatter than a pancake, be drier than the Sahara, have more colors than a grey moth, have fonts that are more transparent than a jellyfish in the ocean and have text that is thinner than a stick insect.

    In fact it’ll have all the attributes you Macheads love about iOS 7. I’m sure it’ll be really well received. Don’t you just love the iOS 7 flat icons? I do. Innovation at its finest. Well done Tim. You’re the best.

  4. it was a huge missed opportunity . i personally would never run that garbage on my iPad but have any of you seen how many iPads are in use in corporate environments? they’re slowly taking over in enterprise (at least for tech companies).

    microsoft missed the boat again like usual.

  5. We existed. There was a time I wanted Office on my ipad because i had it everywhere else and I wanted something transferrable. unfortunately, microsoft dragged their feet, so i bought pages and learned how to use it. now that I use pages, why would i go back, particularly since microsoft has a habit of completely changing the user interface when they release new products (not to mention they usually have bugs).

    1. No. They just won’t be able to pass documents back and forth without formatting ‘problems’, because everyone will be using *their favorite* version of something different. Problem solved.

  6. Why do I need Office on my iPad?

    I use office for things I would not want to do on a touchscreen interface. As long as I can occasionally read a word doc on my iPad I’m good to go.

  7. I became upset about the contemp of Microsoft for Macintosh owners when they had the nerve to offer a long awaited new version of Excel for Macintosh from which the macro function was absent. In so doing, Microsoft proclaimed that Macintosh users were second rate users and clients. To us, it was a powerful signal that the time had come to switch to other software. It took us almost two years to identify replacement software for Word, Excel and PowerPoint and a few other softwares then running on our Apple and remaining Windows machines. All our desk and portable computers are now Apple brand and we never felt the need to look back.

    We have clients in close to a dozen countries on three continents, most of which rarely set foot in our offices if at all. Until recently our visitors were often surprised to see that we did all of our work on Macintosh computers. Now, no one ever notice that.

    Today, even if Microsoft offered us free software and free computers for all our employees and partners, their offer would be turned down with no hesitation.

  8. Don’t need MSOFF on iOS devices as Apple’s iWork suite produces major portion of what Office does plus you can open Office docs & save back to Doc format. iWork & Acrobat are all that we need. MSOFF is pre mobile era when PC’s ruled. Legacy.

  9. There’s no guarantee that if MS released an iPad version of office that it would be fully compatible with the desktop version. I regularly split my editing time between Pages for Mac and Pages for iPad and they’re not fully compatible yet. As careful as Apple is about the end user experience, especially when compared go MS, I don’t see how MS would ever develop an office version for iPad that would be full compatible.

  10. Most people haven’t the faintest idea of how to use Word properly. I once spent nearly three months reformatting around 500 technical documents because people were too damn lazy to use something as basic as styles properly.

    Laziness and inertia are the two biggest problems with migrating people off Word. I just wish that Numbers had feature-parity with Excel, which is still the weapon of choice for those requiring very serious number-crunching. Pivot tables are a glaring omission from Numbers.


    1. A bit harsh! I was never offered training where I work for either Word or Excel. What abilities I have were largely acquired trial and error, and I don’t know all the layout / formatting capabilities of Word. I can do rudimentary charts, but that’s it. BTW, I’m not lazy, but rather hard working. I was handed tools without adequate instruction. I suspect most software users are in the same boat.

    2. That’s because most people’s eyes glaze over when confronted with MS Windows. It’s equivalent to watching a bum take a crap in a street waste bin. It’s hard to get motivated when that’s what you get to look at all day.

    3. You hit the nail on the head with Pivot Tables. If the iPad is all about consumption, Pivot Tables should be a top priority for Apple. Not necessarily creating them, but viewing. The other problem with numbers is cell and worksheet protection on iPad. Creating transparent boxes over key data to keep users from altering formulas is a huge oversight. Numbers just seems like crayons and construction paper, even on the Mac. I welcome what ever Microsoft has to offer for iPad.

  11. News Corp Australia is ditching Office for Google Apps – probably because the high rate of iPhone and iPad adoption among staff has made life without Microsoft conceivable.

    1. I personally don’t see how anyone who doesn’t have to collaborate online and (the decreasing number I guess) who care about understanding how their work will look in print would ever use Google Docs.

      So primitive.

      But for just getting words online where they can be pounded on by groups, whatever. Welcome to the future. Not everyone has to like everything about it…..

  12. I would say the exodus from MS started well before the iPad. A major milestone was the introduction of Mac OS X in 2002. Until then, whenever a MS program crashed, it would bring down the whole system and the user would never really know what happened or why. After Mac OS X, however, whenever MS Word (or other MS program) crashed — the Mac OS would remain up-and-running and would notify the user something like this: “MS Word just crashed; what do you want me to do now?”. It was beautiful, because now everyone could confirm what they always suspected — most problems were due to piss poor MS programming; they were not Apple’s fault. So I would say Mac OS X was an important step in waking people up to the mess that is Microsoft. While highlighting the superiority of Mac OS X.

    Apple also did a great job with Pages, rendering MS Word unnecessary for many people, including me. I have not used MS Word (or Office) in about 10 years. I used to develop large, technical documents with a many data tables and graphic elements for corporate clients — all of whom insisted on working only with MS Word files — and I did this seamlessly from Pages, exporting to MS Word, and importing back again into Pages. All “editing” features worked seamlessly, too. The only thing I found that was really different in Pages and MS Word was the use of a “line” element as a graphic element. (In Pages, a line in a header, for example, must be inserted as a graphic element, not as “underlined” blank text.) So I just changed how I formatted this element in Pages, so there would be no issue when “exporting” to MS Word. No big deal. It was easy enough to find a suitable work-around.

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