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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): King of the Office?

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It wasn’t long ago when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched the quirky ad campaign “Mac vs. PC” to get people excited about Macs over the industry-standard PC’s. The ads featured a “Mac,” represented by a young guy in casual clothing and jeans, talking about creative software features like iMovie, Photo Booth, and other neat features.  The “PC” was played by a nerdy type in a business suit who would only talk about numbers or how great its Office software was.

The message was that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is for fun, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) for work, and it was a tactic that helped endear Apple to a younger, more creative crowd. Now, as Macbooks and iPads are almost as prevalent as PCs and Notebook computers, Apple is now trying to put on the business suit and directly compete with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) in the boardroom.

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)


At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conferwence (WWDC) on June 10, what some reporters might have missed amid all the hype of an iOS upgrade and the new iRadio was that Apple’s office software, iWork, will soon be available on Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer via iCloud. Also, thanks to the same cloud, documents can be sent from iWork to MS Office for editing and publishing.

This comes when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iWork had been considered a lackluster copy of Office, largely to a lack of features, not to mention the fact that business users have been trained on Office. As a result, few people used iWork seriously, especially when Office was available to Mac users.

Mobile market

Yet times have changed, and the landscape of the tech world has changed with it. Tablets are becoming increasingly common among workers, and there is now a demand for tablet friendly office software, which iWork can supply within its extensive Apple ecosystem. This is an under-appreciated move by Apple because it gives iWork a chance to be used as office software.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) seems to be well aware of this push by Apple, and tried to counter with a version of MS Office available in its App Store. While an important step in expanding its range, the app has two huge flaws.  The first is the fact that the app is only available to Office 365 subscribers. The second is that it isn’t iPad compatible.

Experts say there is little expectation that people will buy Office 365 just to use the app, mainly because Office 365 costs $10/month or $100/year, depending on the type of subscription. Its main selling point is the ability to use SkyDrive to share documents and 60 minutes of free Skype calls. Neither of these are strong marketing points as iCloud is generally free and there are free ways to use Skype.

More competition

Adding to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s threatened reign is the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) office work software, Google Docs.  This already comes with Google Drive and can access any Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) service a user is plugged into. Expanding into Docs has been a learning curve for Google, but with the recent development of Drafts, a word processing program that saves drafts of work along with all edits and revisions, Google is becoming more appreciated by professional bloggers and writers looking to increase group interaction on specific projects.

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