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Microsoft's $2.5 Billion Mistake

An analyst says the firm could bring in billions if it released a version of Office for iOS.
Posted February 15, 2013
By

Cynthia Harvey


According to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt, Microsoft is giving up $2.5 billion in potential revenue by not producing a native version of its Office suite for the iPhone and iPad. And if the firm released Office for Android, its earnings could be even greater.

ZDNet's Zack Whittaker reported, "Microsoft could be leaving as much as $2.5 billion on the table by failing to get a version of Office for iPhones and iPads out the door, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant already has some software available for the iPhone and iPad in the pipeline—but as with Office, they have yet to make an appearance. It's now at the point where even Microsoft are 'no longer bothering to deny the rumors,' according to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, but the company is far from being forthcoming about an expected release date or in what form a release may take."

All Things D's John Paczkowski explained, "By keeping its Office productivity suite off the iPad, Microsoft has given its new Surface tablet a key competitive advantage in a market to which it is a very late entrant. That might seem like a strategically sound decision — creating a perceived deficit on a rival’s tablet by limiting distribution of a very popular piece of software to your own. But it could prove to be a bad move fiscally."

Forbes quoted Holt, who wrote, "Office on iPad could be a several billion dollar opportunity. While MSFT has resisted offering a full version of Office for the iOS, the company may ultimately decide there is more upside with Office on iPads, particularly if Win tablets fall short of expectations." Holt also noted another possibility, "MSFT may open up Office 365 to iOS/Android versus making the application native, which may limit the near-term revenue, but would skirt the payment to Apple [you wouldn't need to sell it through the App Store] and drive greater adoption of Office 365, which has significant long-term benefits."

FierceMobileContent's Jason Ankeny explained, "In a note to investors, Holt estimates that Microsoft sold fewer than 1 million Windows-based tablets in 2012 and will struggle to capture 10 percent of the tablet market this year, especially given reports that longtime Windows partner Hewlett-Packard will turn to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android to power its forthcoming mobile devices. Holt also calculates that three to four times as many Mac users (between 30 and 40 percent) install paid versions of Office on their desktops as Windows PC users (10 to 15 percent) do. Assuming a similar 30 percent adoption rate across an installed base of more than 200 million iPads, Holt estimates that Office for iPad priced at $60 would generate more than $2.5 billion in additional Microsoft revenues in 2014, even after Apple claims its standard 30 percent App Store sales cut. 'The math is compelling,' Holt concludes, 'and may drive MSFT to move Office.'"




Tags: Microsoft, iPhone, iPad, Apple, Office, IOS


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