Lack of Office for iPad a loser for Microsoft — and for Apple

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Today’s must-read comes from Ewan MacLeod of Mobile Industry Review, who asks “Just how damaging is Microsoft’s Office for iPad non-strategy?” Countless business users and consumers still rely on Microsoft Word, Excel and other programs, but — so far, at least — the massive software developer has yet to bring Office to the iPad. And while some third-party apps exist to bridge the gap, too often they simply don’t work well.

Microsoft is losing out on huge revenue opportunities, MacLeod points out: There surely would be strong demand for Office for iPad for a one-time charge of $15 or so, but the company could also multiple subscription options through Office 365. And while Office is still a must-have for many of us, the lack of an iPad version may be encouraging some users to find alternative apps and programs, threatening its ubiquity.

I absolutely agree with MacLeod, but I think Apple suffers here as well. Office (and Office 365) for iPad would spur adoption of iOS in the enterprise, giving Apple a huge boost in a market that remains largely untapped. I know this isn’t an easy issue for Microsoft — the company hopes to push its own Surface, and it reportedly unwilling to pay Apple the standard 30 percent commission on App Store sales — but bringing Office to iOS would be a big win for both companies.

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