But what if we all missed something obvious going on here? What if Microsoft was being so cagey — and maybe even disingenuous — for a very real reason? What if they don’t want to spoil a very big surprise set for a certain Apple event taking place in a couple weeks? […]
It’s very clear at this point that Apple and Microsoft both hate Google far more than they hate one another. And both sides seem willing to do whatever it takes to destroy Android. What if Microsoft is planning to do Office for tablets as an exclusive for the iPad (until the Windows 8 tablets come out, of course), while totally shafting Android?
I agree that would be a pretty big deal. And I can see why Microsoft would agree to it. If they’re going to do Office for iPad, and they’re near completion, why not accept a spot in Apple’s iPad 3 announcement keynote to promote it?
But what would be in it for Apple to offer such a spot to Microsoft? You can argue that the iPad with Office available is an even more attractive platform/device than the iPad as it stands today, sans Office. But why share the spotlight with Microsoft? Apple doesn’t need to. The only other tablet computer with any traction in the market is the Kindle Fire — and the Fire is not competing at all in the business productivity market that Office for iPad would target. Android tablets don’t need to be shot down — they still haven’t gotten off the ground. Why give credence and attention to Microsoft in a market where so far Microsoft has had no success?
I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if Microsoft does get a demo slot on stage during the iPad 3 keynote, Microsoft would be getting much more out of it than Apple.
The benefit to Apple would not be to sell more iPads than Android tablets, but to sell more iPads. iPad sales are doing spectacularly, but how many businesses are going to buy a new fleet of iPad 3s or renew their commitment to the iPad as a business platform after seeing a demo of Office for iPad? Apple will continue to make iOS an enterprise-friendly platform and mobile device management tools like Lion Server and the Casper Suite by JAMF are making it easier and easier to centrally manage hundred or thousands of iOS devices and Macs.
MS Office on iOS would catapult Apple even further into the lead and allow iOS to become deeply embedded in the corporate world before Google can hope to catch up on features. Why share the spotlight with Microsoft? Because in an enterprise environment, the name Microsoft still carries a lot of weight. A partnership between Apple and Microsoft in this area will allow iOS (and hopefully OS X as a consequence) to succeed while holding a secure place for Microsoft’s flagship product.