Microsoft dives into app store

Richard Edwards/Ovum
08 Apr 2014

After dipping its toe in the water with OneNote and Office Mobile for iPhone, Microsoft has finally jumped into the waters of the Apple App Store with both feet releasing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad.

There is a catch of course; the user has to have a Microsoft Office 365 account to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

There are those who think the new Microsoft offering is “too little, too late,” and too expensive, but Ovum does not agree. User satisfaction levels for Apple’s own iPad productivity apps are pretty low and their compatibility with Microsoft Office documents could be improved, so the technology ambivalent knowledge worker will happily try out these new apps, and may even pay the subscription.

Microsoft is aware that productivity apps are very popular in the world of enterprise mobility. According to an Ovum study, 56% of employees access corporate data from personally owned smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, two of the highest-earning business apps on Google’s app store are mobile office productivity suites, providing users with the ability to view, create, edit, print, and share Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. Google’s free mobile office suite, Quickoffice, has amassed over 10 million installs, and 80% of users have given the app at least four stars in their reviews.

On the Apple App Store, three of the top five grossing products in the business productivity apps category are the company’s own business content creation tools: Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheets), and Keynote (presentations).

However, the user satisfaction levels of Apple’s iPad productivity apps are low compared to others, with only 53% of reviewers giving Pages a rating of four-stars or above. Keynote fares a little better with a 64% satisfaction rating, but Numbers – the app most likely to be used by business owners and managers – is really struggling, with only 34% of reviewers giving the app four stars or more.

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