Native Microsoft Office For iOS & Android Isn’t A Good Idea. The Alternative?

Now that my first sem is over, I can get back to better things… such as actually reading my RSS. Today, I came across two stories where IBM is planning to bring the mobile version of their Lotus Office suite to Nokia & Android platform. My instant tweet was what’s with Microsoft not doing a mobile version for other platforms.

As I thought about it, I say it’s a bad idea for Microsoft to do a native Office version for any other mobile phone platform. For Android, iPhones or iPod Touch or for that matter touch based crappy Nokia/BlackBerry phones. The reason is simple – their Windows Phone 7 strategy for businesses.

Even before Microsoft came out with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Office integration has been one of their strongest USPs. Needless to say, a sales pitch targeted at the business user was prepared highlighting the Exchange, Sharepoint & Office capabilities of the phone. If Microsoft was to do a native version for the iPhone, Microsoft is pretty much kicking the stone, in other words, they hurt themselves. Severely. Same is the case with Android. In my opinion, Office Live & Skydrive is Microsoft’s best bet and probably a competitive service if done right and by done right I mean:

  • Do a Skydrive app for the desktop & leading mobile platforms – iOS, Android & even Windows Phone 7, very much like Dropbox.
  • Shorten the Office Live & Skydrive URLs to something more legible (nothing to do with the post at hand, but would be cool.)
  • Make Office Live truly mobile browser compatible optimized for iOS, Android and Opera mobile (unlike the desktop version, it has high adoption in the mobile space.)
  • Do an iPad only native app, honestly, I don’t see Microsoft getting anywhere in the tablet market unless they do a compelling CE based platform.