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Mobile Applications

Microsoft Gives Away a Fortune to Stay Relevant

In a remarkable move that highlights how serious the company is about keeping its productivity suite in control of the way we create, share and edit documents, Microsoft is to give away versions of Office for Apple and Android devices. The move is not quite the ‘no strings’ freebie as some have painted it but it’s quite a statement of intent none the less.

Corporate buyers who want the feature bells and whistles and enterprise management capabilities will still need to pay for premium Office 365 subscriptions but consumers and casual users will be able to do plenty with the software at no cost. The move is clearly a reaction to the success of Google and rival suite makers and an attempt to protect against the chipping away of its core applications business which brings in enormous revenues and profits for Microsoft.

Analysts have predicted that Microsoft could bring in up to $5bn per year with Office for iPad alone but Microsoft seemed notably jumpy over Apple’s iWorks project that challenges it head-on. Microsoft is gambling that making it as easy as possible for consumers to run Office on mobile devices will protect its corporate desktop revenue stream worth tens of billions of dollars per year. But as tablets and even phones blur the lines separating them from PCs, the calculation is a tricky one indeed.

 

Martin Veitch is Editorial Director at IDG Connect

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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