Microsoft surprised almost everyone at the end of last week with the release of Office Mobile for iPhone. Richard Edwards, principal analyst in Ovum’s ‘Consumer Impact on IT’ team has the following comment:
“What’s even more surprising is the fact that Microsoft isn’t charging for this product, at least not if you’re a subscriber to Office 365 that is. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are important tools for knowledge workers, and the demand for mobile versions of these products has been getting louder and louder as smartphones and tablet computers have penetrated the workplace. The launch of Office Mobile for iPhone comes only days after Apple announced that it would be releasing versions of its own productivity applications – known collectively as iWork – later in the year, and that these would be accessible to users of PCs and Macs using Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browsers.
“Microsoft’s announcement last week made no mention of an Office Mobile for Android, so Google will continue to nibble around the edges of the office productivity suite pie as it attempts to lure both businesses and consumers to its Google Apps platform. Microsoft Office Mobile for iPhone is more of a psychological release than an attempt to turn your iPhone into a desktop or laptop replacement, but it suggests that a version of Office for the iPad might not be too far away – this is the killer app that most business professionals are waiting for. Although the release of Office Mobile for iPhone sounds significant, Microsoft is playing a cagey game. In some ways nothing has changed, i.e. if you want a tablet computer with all day battery life and a pukka version of Microsoft Office onboard then you’re still looking at a Windows RT device.”
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