Of course, there are alternatives for both and I use them, but business is business and requirements must be met, and that means the standards of business– Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite– are daily tools. What does that have to do with an Apple nemesis?
Microsoft Copies Again
Who is better than Apple at making products people want to use? Right now, not too many gadget makers or software purveyors have the same level of moxie as Apple.
The new kid on the block is an old Apple nemesis. No, not IBM. They’re partners now, and working in lockstep to put a lock on the enterprise’s use of mobile devices.
It’s Microsoft. Yes, that Microsoft. The same company that forced people to learn and use Windows and Office the past few decades. The company shed some deadweight, kicked out CEO Steve Ballmer who was happily driving the company into the ground, cut prices on Windows, and made Office free for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
This past week I installed the new Office for Mac and all I can say is, “Wow. This is pretty good.” It’s still Office, which means it’s packed with more features than Sarah Palin has hubris. But it’s Mac-like and works well enough that I don’t frown when sitting down to Word.
I won’t account for the new Microsoft’s business strategy because the jury is still out, but Microsoft’s latest iOS apps are better than good. There’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. But maybe even more important there’s Outlook for iOS.
Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella says he wants people to love Windows. That’s a big undertaking. He’s also told his fellow Microsofties to make software that people want to use. Judging by the rash of frequent updates to Office for iOS, the more comfortable Office for Mac, and the lower pricing for Windows, somebody in Redmond got the message.
Microsoft is taking a page from Apple’s book; literally copying Apple. Again. But this time for all the right reasons; by making software that actually works well, feels right, and does the job without that Himalayan learning curve and annual price tag.
OneNote is good. Outlook is very good (and handles non-Microsoft email accounts). Apple’s successes in the marketplace means Microsoft must be aggressive. They’re behind by a large margin in the mobile industry, but Microsoft’s roots– besides being evil and money hungry– lies in software and that’s what they company is cranking out. Good software. Try some for yourself to see. I’m not bashing Apple’s efforts. The company is doing great work on many fronts.
Competition is good. Being evil got Microsoft in trouble. Maybe building products that people want to use will provide a measure of redemption before the almighty customer gods. I’m not sure the strategy of building software that connects to the cloud will bring Microsoft enough money to prosper as it did in years past (hasn’t worked out that well for Google, either), but it’s a start.