Microsoft Office for iPhone?

On August 21, 2009

Choose your poisonMicrosoft and Apple (as well as Google, Palm and many others) have noted the growing importance of portable computing and thus created a new front in their war.  Microsoft is in the process of creating an updated version of Windows Mobile to compete with the iPhone.  Just to prove who they’re going after, they named it Windows Phone.  Note that they didn’t call it "MicroBerry".

I own both a Windows Mobile phone and an iPod Touch.  Windows Mobile comes with Office Mobile pre-installed and I’m wondering why Microsoft doesn’t sell Office Mobile for the iPod Touch or iPhone.  Granted, I don’t use it for typing that much (still waiting for that bluetooth keyboard) but it would be nice to be able to read Excel or Word files on the go.

Granted, I don’t think it would be cheap ($99.99 sounds about right) and it wouldn’t have the full functionality of the desktop version of Office, but why would Microsoft cut itself off from additional revenue like that?  You could argue that Apple is a competitor, yet Microsoft still allows their software to be installed on the Mac.

Microsoft, who pretty much owns the world of business desktop operating systems, has released very few pieces of iPhone software.  Does Steve Ballmer honestly feel that it’s not a viable market?  When 25% of the world’s music sales come from iTunes (as well as a growing number of apps), one has to question his wisdom in the matter.  Perhaps he knows something we don’t.

It’s only a matter of time before Microsoft starts developing Office for the iPhone (the only Microsoft apps I found are Tag Reader and Seadragon Mobile).  Until then, you’ll have to use Documents To Go or something similar.