Why Microsoft suddenly wants its software on the iPad
Microsoft doesn't dominate computing any more--especially the mobile world. So it's pushing its applications out... everywhere.
Microsoft has launched software for Apple's iPad at a blistering pace of late, and there's some consternation about whether these moves are wise.
First, Microsoft realizes that it doesn't dominate computing anymore--especially the mobile world. That reality is running into another key fact: Microsoft applications are everywhere.
In other words, Microsoft's plans to launch iPad versions of OneNote, Lync and SkyDrive, which isn't optimized for Apple's tablet, is just smart business. Simply put, the killer app on a single platform days are over.
My contacts seem somewhat divided as to the wisdom of Microsoft's decision to deliver many of its key software and services for non-Windows platforms -- and especially for Apple's platforms. Microsoft is a software vendor, and has shown increasing interest in porting its wares to many of the leading platforms as a way to make money and appease customers who aren't Microsoft-only shops/households. Some maintain that Microsoft should keep its crown jewels as Windows/Windows Phone-only products to keep users from having yet another reason to defect.
I am in the former camp. I believe the days of killer apps running on a single platform are over, though the Windows team seems intent on trying to revise this business model with Windows 8.
Going forward, Microsoft should go crazy on Android, too. It should be on every platform that has a lot of users. There are no guarantees that Windows 8 tablets will be a hit. Should Microsoft flop at tablets it'll at least have a presence on the major platforms. If the single platform integration dance works on tablets for Microsoft, that's just swell. If that approach fails, at least it'll have its bases covered.
This item first appeared on ZDNet's Between the Lines blog under the headline "Microsoft's iPad software barrage: Reality meets business savvy."