Tom Warren on Microsoft’s new and apparently desperate strategy to gain relevance in the rapidly growing mobile space (where the company has almost no presence).
Microsoft’s Office suite for iPad, iPhone, and Android is now free. In a surprise move, the software giant is shaking up its mobile Office strategy to keep consumers hooked to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Starting today, you’ll no longer need an Office 365 subscription to edit documents or store them in the cloud. The move comes just days after Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Dropbox to integrate the cloud storage service into Office across desktop, mobile, and the web. You can now download Office for iPad and store all your documents on Dropbox without paying Microsoft anything at all. Microsoft is also releasing a brand new iPhone app today, alongside a preview of Office for Android tablets, all with Dropbox integration.
Alright, that just sounds crazy. Microsoft’s Office marketing chief Michael Atalla.
It’s an extension of the strategy that we’ve got. It’s not a total strategic shift, as much of an extension of the existing strategy. We’re taking that same user experience we provide online to the native apps of iOS and Android. We want to make sure that our customers can be productive across all the devices they have.
OK, but how does Microsoft make money if the product is free? I didn’t go to business school but that strategy just sounds messed up.