Microsoft Office and non-Windows platforms


Good to hear that Microsoft is supposably releasing an updated version of Office for Mac later this year. When I switched to Mac a little over a year ago, I thought I’d spend most of my time running Windows (eg on Parallels), but I actually found myself surprisingly content with the Mac OS. Pretty much everything I do now runs in the browser, with the exception of a few programs: Word and Excel being the main ones.

No matter how much I turn to Google, Apple and a bunch of other vendors for my main tools (and frankly most of my life runs on something Google related now), Microsoft still remains there, kept in by their Office suite. The reason for this of course is that nothing really compares to the user experience of a desktop app for document and spreadsheet functionality. I’ve tried (really tried) to be productive with Google docs and  Microsoft web versions of Office, but they never have the same responsiveness or utility for me.

And so I still stick with Microsoft for this reason alone.

Which makes it all the more puzzling that Microsoft still haven’t brought out iPad versions of their main Office apps (Word, Excel) – one can only hope the rumours are true that they are close at hand.

Just as Office on Mac has kept me  as a Microsoft customer even though I’ve abandoned everything else they provide, so too would Office on iPad keep me connected. The OS doesn’t matter, but the tools do.

I’ve heard a number of reasons over the years as to why the iPad versions have been slow to come, and most seem to be based on internal politics (ie divisions having competing KPIs) than any kind of lack of resources. Which is a shame, and also strange given they did put their toe in the water with OneNote on the iPad.

Speaking of OneNote, looks as though they are preparing a OneNote for Mac release. Which I’m going to predict almost no-one will ever use. Same thing with Outlook on the Mac – I’d love to see the telemetry data for that – I’d be guessing it’s usage is probably a quarter of the Word for Mac usage at best.

It’s easy to be an ill-informed, arm chair critic of course. I get that (I am). But surely these are strange priorities. Focus on getting Word and Excel working beautifully, seamlessly and powerfully on every main OS (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) and then look at filling in the gaps.

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By Craig Bailey