Does Microsoft Office really matter?

Think about it. If you did not have any software for word editing, spreadsheets and doing presentations – would you really pay money for Microsoft Office – when you could get the same stuff for free?

Now, if you have a handheld device like iPhone, would you really pay for Microsoft Office 365 licences to get word editing, spreadsheets and presentations on that device?

I wouldn’t – simply because I never use my iPhone for that kind of tasks. Who would write a letter, a report, a tv script, a book on an iPhone? And who would work with a spreadsheet on an iPhone? Or show a presentation on that tiny little device? Not me!

To read some of the stuff, yes, maybe. But not work on it.

Well, now Microsoft has brought their old cash cow, Microsoft Office, to the handheld device market. And they hhope to make it a new cash cow, bonding their customers also on the hand held devices.

I do not think they will succeed. For some reasons that I will explain here:

  • Microsoft is too late to make a general sucess on the handheld market. That market is already taken and won by iOS and Android. Even joining up a fallen star like Nokia is not going to help them. They are just too late and will at their very best, if the sun shines 24 hours a day and they have the wind in their back and all fingers crossed, manage to climb to third place in market share.
  • They are simply not good enough. The market leaders have already set the agenda for user interfaces and the market has approved this way of working on handheld devices. Bringing a new app look-a-like interface based on old fashioned Windows thinking will not do the trick.
  • People buy smaller and smaller handheld devices. Myself included. Going from a normal sized iPad to an iPad Mini I found that the mini is not the perfect format for real, hard writing work – even with a separate keyboard. The tiny keyboard is simply to small for my fingers and I have to do a lot of spell checking which slows down my productivity.
  • And, not at least, the fact that there will be fever Windows based PC’s than Apple and iOS based machines in the future – even in the enterprise. At least if we are to believe the Gartner analysts. And that means that more and more users will use other office suites than Microsoft Office in the coming years. And they will certainly not use it on handheld devices.