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Microsoft’s Office for iPad: An app for all the suckers out there

Things began to deteriorate at Microsoft when Steve Ballmer said in 2006 that he expected the future of Microsoft (and its revenues) to be in advertising. Everyone found this to be peculiar, myself included. Things are now changing.

This came after the great Microsoft Freak Out, when the company was convinced that its Windows and Office cash cows were somehow doomed. Redmond had to zig and zag and do anything it could to make up for the huge losses that were surely to come when these product lines dropped dead.

The entire tech business was all-in with the idea that Windows and Office were doomed. I could never fathom the logic because nothing has ever come around to seriously threaten Windows or Office. From the day this assumption was made, sales of Windows and Office have increased and increased – even when howlers like Vista and, more recently, Windows 8, hit the market. Cha-ching.

One reason that the Microsoft-built operating system and its office suite were never threatened was because this notion of doom didn't play out in the rest of the tech industry. Instead of topping Windows, for example, Google built the half-baked Chrome OS, which is only useful to developers, and the web-based Google Docs/Drive.

(As an aside, it should be mentioned that this same sort of screwball logic applied to the microprocessor companies. For some reason Intel got it into its head that microprocessors, as a business, were doomed. So Intel went out of its comfort zone and got involved in networking chips, Wi-Fi, and whatever might pick up the slack. I cannot even imagine how much treasure was squandered over Intel's going all-in on WiMax).

Anyway, notwithstanding the fact that the industry experts cannot seem to understand their own business, it was refreshing to see that Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella, cast aside the bullcrap and rolled out Microsoft Office for the iPad. Instant success. Cha-ching.

Hopefully, for the shareholders, common sense logic will now prevail at Microsoft. Of course, the critical observers out there are worried sick that Office for iPad will hurt sales of the low-selling Surface tablet. How does that work? People are deciding on the iPad for all sorts of reasons! At least get them to put some Microsoft software on the thing.

Does someone have to remind Microsoft that it is first and foremost a software company? How did this get overlooked? The idea is not to keep its software off other platforms – all that does is hurt sales.

Now some might argue that the real goal is Windows hegemony and not raw software sales. I think Windows is safe where it is. Sorry, it's not taking over the tablet business any time soon; get a grip.

Meanwhile, as iPad users flock to Microsoft Office, what good is the product on a tablet anyway? One rationale you'll hear is that you can now run PowerPoint presentations off the tablet and make corrections to slides and such as needed. Interesting, but most people on the road giving presentations will probably use a laptop. If you want to travel light, put the presentation on a thumb drive and edit it at the presentation site where they run PowerPoint themselves.

Asking, "Can I borrow your machine to make a couple of changes?" is not that odd.

Yes, you can hook a keyboard to an iPad and do real work on the thing – but is this kludge what you really want to work on when given a choice? Of course not. It's a gimmick.

In fact, Microsoft pulled a fast one when it released Office for the iPad. It may have found the single biggest gathering of suckers in the universe. Cha-ching.