Microsoft’s Frank X. Shaw:

  • The Surface and Surface 2 are less expensive than the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively, and yet offer more storage, both onboard and in the cloud.

  • … come with full versions of Office 2013, including Outlook, not non-standard, non-cross-platform, imitation apps that can’t share docs with the rest of the world.

I don’t want to argue about Shaw’s whole piece; overall, he makes a clear argument for Microsoft’s vision of tablet computing. But that second bullet point quoted above is a doozy. There’s nothing “standard” about Microsoft Office, and there’s nothing “imitation” about the iWork apps. Microsoft Office certainly remains the most-used office software in the world, but its ubiquity makes it no more a standard than Windows itself. But most interesting to me is the accusation that iWork is not “cross-platform” — what then, is the iWork for iCloud web app version of the suite?

I’m not sure how this is going to play out. Could be that iWork isn’t going to do much more than put a small dent in the Office hegemony. But Apple seems to be aiming much higher than that. Any gains in iWork usage are just icing on the cake for Apple — but any corresponding loss in Office usage (or perhaps better put, Office dependency) is very bad news for Microsoft.

Betting against the iPad as a device on which people can work, for any meaning of “work”, is a bad bet in the long run. Shaw though, is doubling down on just that bet.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013