This is not a review. As those who have read my blog in the past may know I gave my reasoning for why you did not need office for the iPad long before it came out. So, I am not here to review office for iPad because I have not even downloaded it, nor do I intended to. I am just here to make my observations about the fact that it has launched.
Why am I doing this so late when every other tech blogger was talking about it the day it happened? I am a busy man, talking about Microsft is not on the top of my priority list. Besides, I am sure most of my readers already know how I feel about Microsoft and I did share my initial feelings on twitter when the announcement was made.
Microsoft released its core Office Suite for iPad as three apps: Word, Excel, and Power Point. They made all these apps freemium, which means you can download them for free but they offer in app purchases. Here's the deal, the in app purchase is a $99 subscription to Office 365, what that allows you to do is edit documents in the three apps.
That's right folks if you download these apps you cannot even edit documents unless you buy a subscription! Never mind that editing documents is the whole purpose of having these apps. You can use the free "view only" mode to look at documents. It will be like an eternity of that same safe mode microsoft put in a while ago, only there won't be any "enable editing" button unless you pay $99 dollars, and that doesn't even buy it, that is just a subscription. Typical Microsft, typical.
Way too little, way way to late
The iPad just had it's 4th birthday. It has been here for four years... That is a long time. After knowing the runaway success the iPhone was microsoft should have had a version of office ready for the iPad when it launched, and they should have had those priced competitively with iWork suite. They could have easily kept millions and millions of customers this way. Especially since neither they nor any of their hardware partners had ever made a tablet worth anything (still haven't actually), Microsoft should have jumped at the chance to put Office in the hands of people constantly.
But instead of doing that Microsoft decided that it would just keep doing what it had always done, making bloated software to run on PCs, and predicting the iPad's demise. Well that was foolish because one CEO later the iPad is the one that is still here.
Even after Microsoft had to admit that the world had entered a post PC era, they did not acknowledge that they could just move their cash cow, office, over the existing iPad. No, they decided they had to build some hardware. Why was that a bad decision? One word: Zune. Microsoft can't do hardware. They have only succeeded one time at that was simply by essentially making a powerful PC and calling it a gaming console.
But, heedless of their own history they decided that in order to sell Office they would create a tablet, but not just any tablet, one that was slower and more expensive than the iPad. One that ran the worst opperating system they had ever created. They made a bet: that people were so starved for their precious office suite that they would flock to the surface. They bet wrong.
How can we be sure that they bet wrong? Just got to a public place some time and count the number of surface tablets you see. Unless its a Microsoft store you won't need more than one hand. The other way we can know is that now, four years late, Office has finally come to the iPad. Clearly their first plan was a flop.
Here's the deal
Microsoft thinks that everybody has been sitting around on iPads for 4 years playing angry birds and watching netflix. They are so conceited that they think nobody can dance at the party till they get there. But that simply is not the case. Microsoft does not get to decide whether we are productive or not. We get to decide that, and a lot of people have been dancing for years, doing serious work on the iPad without a bloated over priced piece of software.
Now I know that a lot of people are still probably going to bite at this. That's ok, a lot of fish eat worms with hooks in them, and most of the corprate world ate the Office worm a long, long time ago. But I for one will not be. I've given a lot of reasons why, here and in the past.
But I have one main reason: because I choose to live better.