With Office for iPad Microsoft finally ‘gets’ the iPad business user

by Matt Esecson

April 15 2014

Matt Esecson is co-founder of nimblstand, a content creation tool for the iPad that integrates an Apple Wireless Keyboard & Wacom Stylus


As the iPad has matured, creating its own eco-system of 220 million devices across the globe, the universe of ‘content creation’ alternatives have filled our iPads while rumors of Office for iPad came & went. 

This wait has always been seen as holding back a substantial segment of the Corporate BYOD universe from fully embracing & integrating the tablet into the business mainstream. Since much of corporate IT still marches to the standard of Microsoft and its ingrained enterprise relationships cultivated for over 20+ years, can we now expect CIOs to acquiesce to this inevitable shift in form factor and change their procurement policy?

Sure there are already big iPad purchases being made, but will the advent of Office for iPad kick that movement into high gear with both the executive suite and IT fully onboard?

(Check out this free whitepaper buyer's guide to help you evaluate the top 10 presentation apps for tablets)

The Redmond team has delivered a series of apps (Excel, PowerPoint & Word, as well as OneNote released earlier)  that deliver on the promise of Office on the iPad – despite some inconveniences (specifically, the inability to print from an iPad and lack of support for Dropbox, Box and other online storage alternative save for Microsoft’s own SkyDrive) that may cause some to look elsewhere or stick with the Office alternatives they’re already uising.

But that aside, overall Office for iPad is a capable touch-friendly workhouse that can be used to maximum effect with a keyboard. Office’s seamless utility across platforms clearly fulfills the promise and offers benefits for corporate adoption of the iPad. 

With its strategic elements that favor widespread acceptance by the corporate universe of Office 365 subscribers and its ‘secure’ cloud access there are sure to be proclamations of ‘record revenues for the new Microsoft’.

But has Office for iPad changed anything or has its realization merely created a tipping point for the existing productivity apps to become more than just placeholders?

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Office for iPad alternatives have a fighting chance

The answer will rest on the level of adoption and resistance to the $99 annual cost to embrace this productivity platform. Now that the dam has been broken, in a world accustomed to Apps priced at free, $2 , $10  & $20 increments, will this $99 annual subscription, become the barrier that establishes iWork, Quip, QuickOffice, and everything else that’s “next” to become more universally accepted across corporate desktops?

Office for iPad’s very capable productivity apps, while not delivering any breakthrough innovation, succeeds in cementing Microsoft’s continued relevance in the post-PC tablet universe and re-establishes Microsoft’s role in this new world by unleashing its longstanding influence over corporate screens.

Office for iPad feels like the moment Microsoft watchers have been waiting for, a version that truly embraces the tablet form factor and could be a turning point for BYOD ‘productivity’ adoption in the corporate world.

The question is not whether Office for iPad creates another era of Apple & Microsoft as the two-headed monster - that ship has sailed. The real question is if this BYOD corporate moment has brought  Microsoft back to relevance in the iPad’s brave new world? 

(Tablet productivity is the theme and focus of presentations and sessions at the TABLET STRATEGY conference conference in New York on May 6, 2014. You may be eligible for a free pass if you qualify as a Tablet/Mobile Manager. If you don't qualify, there are still a few tickets available at $175 each, breakfast and lunch included. Check conditions and register on the registration page.)

Matt Esecson is co-founder of <a href="http://www.nimblstand.com">nimblstand</a>, a content creation tool for the iPad that integrates an Apple Wireless Keyboard & Wacom Stylus
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