Apple iOS Users Continue To Wait For Microsoft Office Release
March 17, 2014

Apple iOS Users Continue To Wait For Microsoft Office Release

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

Apple iPad Air and iPhone 5S users have been waiting for the release of Microsoft Office for the iOS operating system. Will they find alternative services before Microsoft finally decides to release the software it has readied? The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant hasn't yet set a release date, though sources say the software is ready.

Reuters calls holding the release of Microsoft Office a squandered opportunity.

"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," Reuters' Gerry Shih and Bill Rigby wrote.

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

Without Microsoft Office, companies are turning to services such as Quip and Google Docs.

The delay, Reuters reports, is that while Nadella looks to grow Office's customer base, the company has to balance it with the flagship Windows franchise.

"We have some pretty exciting plans," said John Case, the top Office marketing executive, to Reuters. "Certainly, interest in Office on the iPad is extreme. When (customers) want to do real work, they are going to want to use Office."

Microsoft could be losing as much as $2.5 billion in revenue annually by not offering an optimized version of Office for iOS devices, Trusted Reviews reports.

"Office is being disenfranchised on the hottest growth platforms," Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund wrote in a note to clients, Reuters reports. "Maybe it is time to focus on Office independent of Windows."

In the meantime, iOS users waiting for a version of Office have found alternatives and gotten comfortable with those new services.

"Look at the applications that are on the rise to support mobile. It is not Microsoft OneNote or Word. It's Dropbox, or Evernote," Ted Schadler, analyst at Forrester said to Reuters. "It's really about being everywhere. That's an important, immediate decision that Satya's going to have to drive."

Alternatives Abound

"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 wrote.

While individuals are looking for alternative services, the real damage comes from businesses that are buying services for their entire workforce, Reuters reports. Those businesses are adopting mobile devices and looking for services to help their workforce.

"Microsoft's productivity tools remain the industry standard, with more than a billion users spending almost $25 billion of them last fiscal year. But Office revenues are driven primarily by corporate officers who buy for large workforces - and more than half of America's employees use a mobile device daily to supplement their work," Reuters' Shih and Rigby wrote.