As I’ve written in past articles, there are benefits to be obtained for the Mac user and Microsoft if Microsoft works in earnest to truly address the Mac users needs (for the purposes of this article the Mac user is any Apple device toting user including those that identify themselves as Microsoft users). Although by all appearances it was beginning to look too late for Microsoft to adjust course and capture the imagination of the Mac user thus loosing a huge potential market, if Nadella, as is rumoured, releases an iPad version of Office on March 27 then no it is not too late.
Microsoft has been delaying this release to get a product out the door that runs on the competing Microsoft product. The idea is that Office would be used to drive sales of the Microsoft product. Not only is this unlikely to happen but Microsoft has lost the mood of the Apple user.
Hopefully, Microsoft’s days of seeing the Mac (Apple) as the enemy is coming to an end. The release of Office for the iPad could portend a more strategic move on Microsoft’s part in which the Mac user is just seen as a peer who can benefit just as much from the Microsoft product as any other player whether they use Windows or not.
Strategic Move would benefit more than just the Business User
At first glance, one might think that a Microsoft move to be more Mac friendly would only benefit the business user, someone who typically needs MS tools to do their work and collaborate. This most definitely is not the case. A move by Microsoft to make their tools available more rapidly to the Mac user is of a benefit to all users.
Office 365 is a product that is beneficial for the home user, student, small business user through to the enterprise user. In a nutshell, all Mac users benefit. So too does Microsoft as the workforce has definitely moved to the model of BYOD or bring your own device. That device could very well be and frequently is an iPhone or an iPad and often both. If a Microsoft tool is not available to an employee they’ll have no problem finding an alternate such as iWork or possibly a Google tool.
Yet, the employee/user is probably better suited to actually working with the Microsoft tool. Further, although my view is there isn’t much in Microsoft’s kit bag that is very interesting, Office 365 is. There are many variants of Office 365 from Personal to Home Premium, Small Business and on it goes. This is a very powerful and cost effective offering and one that fits nicely with the Mac/Apple.
Office 365 is more than capable say of powering a small business with an enterprise class capable system. However, Microsoft, even if Nadella does a necessary correction, has some catching up to do. Steve Ballmer basically brought Microsoft to it‘s knees. If they didn’t have so much money, they’d be in trouble. Microsoft has not adequately invested in their Mac offerings and it shows in Mac Office 2011.
There is tremendous need for Microsoft to drastically bolster this software and I am told this is happening. Mac Office 2014 will not be equal to the Windows client but it won’t be far off it. Mac Office 2014 is not just intended to update Office for the Mac but it is to address a number of the shortcomings.
Mac Office for the iPad
The importance of March 27 and should Nadella release an iPad version of Office for the Mac ahead of their release of a similar product for their own variant of the iPad is Microsoft was hoping Office would drive sales of their own product. However, the strategy is backfiring royally. They are bleeding customers. The Mac user is just simply saying I don’t need Microsoft and it must be noted that a Microsoft user now is likely to have some kind of Apple device.
There is a lot of truth to this now. Unlike years ago, there are a fair number of options in place of Microsoft Office. These products not only replicate or add to function found in Office many are file compatible and both read and write Office files. For the Mac user they thus have choice. For Microsoft, by not delivering a Mac product they loose a customer and potentially forever.
Microsoft’s delivery of an iPad version is not too little, too late but it is just in time assuming it happens. The software market is a fast moving market. It always has been.
Treaty at the Gate
The Mac user is interested and watching a couple of significant things at the moment. The first is, this is the year where Tim Cook either makes it or breaks it. Having ridden on Steve Jobs coattails this long is about the limit. He must deliver something from Apple to the market of his own making. What Steve Jobs created is brilliant but it can’t carry the company forever.
The second major thing that the Mac user is carefully eyeing is what Microsoft will do under Nadella. Should he release the iPad version of Office on March 27 then we basically have a peace treaty at the gate. No longer is Apple the enemy regardless of historical events.
Microsoft has one very interesting product that all can avail themselves of and it is Office 365. I have written extensively at The Daily Mac View about Office 365. Whether you’re a Windows 8 user or an OSX user or both Office 365 is a great product. There are a lot of Mac/Apple users. This is a large market for Microsoft and if Microsoft is smart they’ll tap into this market more earnestly than they’ve done in the past. It’s all up to Nadella now. Let’s wait and see what March 27 brings us and hope it’s good news.