With the announcement, the critics finally have their answer. Office is now finally available on iOS. Of course, the pundits who have been clamoring for this development are now saying this is too little too late. Others are saying that it is a wasted effort since the iPad only has one Office Suite native app: Notepad. The fact is now iOS users have Office on iPod touch, iPhone, and the iPad (through Safari). What is not clear is why Microsoft really intended to launch Office on iPhone? Was it really to compete with all of the various productivity suites out there? Or is this a play at the enterprise and a possible incentive to encourage further adoption of Office 365?
This is a multifaceted move. By keeping native Office apps on Windows 8 tablets, Microsoft and its OEM partners can compete with the iPad on price and productivity ( not yet on apps) with Surface and other Windows 8 tablets. Apple still has the stronger app store (though numbers do not mean the apps are always high quality) and it still is an up hill battle. Also, by making it cross platform, Office may remain relevant for some users who are not married to any particular productivity app and need the industry standard for work or home. In addition, by connecting it Office 365, Microsoft does not have to share revenue with Apple and can use this as an incentive for users to adopt the subscription model over the physical model.