I bet Microsoft waits too long

dodo by net_efekt

Microsoft’s massive mistake: Trying to ignore Apple’s iPad
[Via MacDailyNews]

“Apple’s iPad represents one of the most powerful attacks on Microsoft’s Windows stronghold in history,” Jay Yarow writes for The Business Insider. “And Microsoft — the world’s largest software company — is ignoring it.”

[More]

Not having Office for the iPad, not even working on it? Seems like a strategic mistake. I bet some of it comes from the pricing models. Microsoft sells several different varieties of Office ranging from about $100 to several hundred. If it creates an app version, it would probably have to drop the price a lot. And it would have to give Apple a cut, since that is Apple’s business model.

Lowering the price and giving Apple 30% probably does not mean Microsoft will make loads of money here, by its view. I would expect many of the big software houses feel similarly.

But to offer nothing? Apple is offering its ‘Office’ apps for the iPad. This will only increase their appearance in corporations. The app environment is ripe for small companies to produce products that are innovative enough to perhaps topple Office. At least the possibility is much more likely that really disruptive programs will come from this niche than from the mainstream software market.

So, why not simply provide a simple app that allows very simple Office tools and compatibility for the desktop office? It keeps their name in the game, makes them some money, would not really eat into desktop Office sales and perhaps preempts the appearance of a true competitor.

Adobe did this with a simple Photoshop-like app for the iPhone. If Microsoft waits too long, either Apple’s own suite will really take off or some other competitor may arise.

Since Microsoft has often been more reactive than proactive, I expect them to only move to the Pad when it looks like real competitors to Office have arisen.

[Listening to: I’ve Had Enough from the album “Quadrophenia [Disc 1]” by The Who]