Our projected personalities, tone and narratives change depending on whether we are on Facebook, G+, LinkedIn and Twitter. In that context of understanding, Microsoft has to realize that there’s a place and time for everything.
“Most, if not all of us, use our smartphones and tablets for different purposes than a PC or on a Mac,” clarifies Danish Ayub of MWM Studioz, “however big you make the screen of the devices, nobody’s going to do serious work for long hours on a tablet, never mind on a phone. There will always be a place for PC at work, but in the consumer space? Not so much.”
Certainly, giving away software to achieve market penetration has worked before. Yet, giving away software after the market has rejected is a Hail Mary Pass. The Microsoft Office mobile suite has never been successful by its merits alone. It could not compete earlier on against other competitors, when these weren’t free, and unless the product improves, it will not compete against competitors now that fully or practically free.
True cloud-centric solutions, like Google’s and Salesforce, are likely to dominate this market until a true piece of software, that nobody has invented yet, makes Office-like labor (composing complex documents, editing large spreadsheets) actually more productive in tablets than in the desktop (not referring to frameworks like CX Cloud). At this point nothing beats Word’97 or Excel’97 on a dual monitor desktop for data entry, writing business emails, etc.
Frankly, the only appeal of Office in mobile, is that it still reigns the business desktop. But unless Microsoft makes Office substantially better in the desktop, this is also a last gasp. Most users will probably say the last useful improvement of Office occurred in the Office 97 version –all other changes basically have been moving menus and icons around to the detriment of usability.
Is it really that people need to try out using Office while they’re on the go because they never use Office? Of course not. For MS to even put that as a end goal, it’s laughable.
MS should take a leaf from Oracle whose focus (and bread-and-butter) remains in the corporate sector. Oracle never pretends to know or even try to get in the consumer space because that’s simply not their target customers. MS should need to keep that focus.
If MS wants to tackle the consumer space, they need to have new offering to a brand new audience. Trying to retool its current offering won’t work. MS should have learnt from its past mistakes of trying to retool windows OS (aka mobile platform) for phones. Same goes with Office. Those are cash cows and huge success, but those were past glory. MS should use these cash cows to fund new initiatives to charter new waters if it really wants to corner the consumer markets which is where the growth is.