Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is facing a new challenger in the office software category, one that hopes to pilfer some of their market-dominating share by focusing on software that is tailored for mobile use. The company is Quip, and their CEO is Bret Taylor, a former CTO at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and Group Project Manager at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL). Taylor spoke with Bloomberg about Quip’s functions and its mobile-first philosophy.
“We view the shift to mobile as the fundamental technology shift that’s enabling a startup like ours to try and compete. Just like Microsoft was able to gain market share in the transition from the mainframe to the PC, we hope to gain market share in this transition to tablets and smartphones. And the main thing we’re doing is embracing communication and collaboration as a centerpiece of the product,” Taylor said.
As Taylor described, Quip is focused on building a software suite that complements the way business people communicate today, which means tools that are focused around less formal methods of communication. The shift has already been to move away from memorandums to emails, and Quip wants to take that a step further.
Other key features of the software include the ability to work in offline mode while on an airplane for example, which isn’t possible through a cloud-based service like Google Docs, which is often used in collaboration with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Office, while also being more collaborative than a program like Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Word.
It remains to be seen whether the changes will be enough to threaten Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s stranglehold on the category, of more than 80%. While Quip has landed some major public companies, including Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), as customers, and there’s undoubtedly a strong shift in general from PC’s and laptops to tablets and smartphones, it’s unclear whether that will extend all the way to business work in a meaningful way.
For their part, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is also embracing the shift to mobile devices and putting more emphasis on that space, and have their own Office app for tablets and smartphones.
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