Yet, here we are, in the thick of competition, in an era where Microsoft’s only presence on mobile devices is as a software developer of apps, and not in control of the OS. For mobile, it’s iOS and Android and nothing else matters. Microsoft’s executives know that and believe that and responded to that situation with what the company does second best. Software.
One Note, Not Sour
To say that Microsoft is not my favorite technology company would be an understatement of epic proportions (if that kind of mixing is allowed). So, why is Microsoft giving away OneNote, a Mac app that amounts to a very good, cross platform, digital notebook?
That’s right. OneNote, which even comes with an Apple-inspired and clever logo on the Mac version– is a free notebook from the same company which extracts life savings payments to buy and use Office. OneNote can be used on Mac, iPhone, or iPad, and it’s actually decent for capturing almost anything you come across through the course of a day.
Notebooks can be synchronized between devices. It’s good for classroom notes, meeting, research, tasks, and features a mini-word processor so your notes look good, too. OneNote even gets a few thousand good reviews on the Mac App Store.
OK, to be fair, OneNote looks much like a Windows app on the Mac, but it’s attractive, easy to navigate and works well with Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage.
What’s not to like? Well, Microsoft exists for a reason. To make money. OneNote is free. Why? Instead of Apple’s iCloud, or GoogleDrive, Microsoft wants you to use OneDrive, the company’s cloud storage system and plan called Office 365 which once came with unlimited storage, but now has a price tag for limited storage.
You pay by the month– $6.99– for the personal version of Office 365, with other plans for home and office. That gives you the option of using all those free Microsoft apps but pay by the month– subscription style– instead of a software fee every year or two. Microsoft’s cloud storage prices are competitive in a competitive industry.
GoogleDrive is more expensive. Dropbox is much more expensive. Apple’s iCloud is ridiculously expensive by comparison. Nearly unlimited storage and a bunch of free apps. But you pay by the month for the privilege.
I suppose if tens of millions of people sign up for Office 365 then Microsoft will make some money, but lower prices for cloud storage has me worried. Is this just the tip of the iceberg? Are we being tempted to put all our stuff online only to see it evaporate during a catastrophe or theft?
It may be free or cheap or both, but inquiring minds want to know what’s going on when Microsoft offers customers a good deal. It’s the second best thing Microsoft does. What’s the first best thing.
Separate customers from their money.