MS Office in the App Store: The Business Perspective

Microsoft, I hope you’re listening. I’m about to outline every business reason in the world for you to be in the app store.

From the Student perspective:

Most students need word processing. Fewer need spreadsheets. Fewer still need to give presentations.

Options: $20-$60 for iWork on the App Store, paid with your itunes account that your parents probably pay for or $150 for MS Office Student Edition.

Winner: Apple

From the Small Business perspective:

Most businesses need word processing and excel. Few need presentations.

Options: $40-$60 for iWork on the App Store or $280 for MS Office for Home and Business.

Winner: Apple

From Microsoft’s perspective:

Best Buy, OfficeMax, Amazon, etc all need to make some profit. From what I can tell from wholesale prices online, most stores will sell you Microsoft products for 15% off. Obviously these companies are still making a profit. I’m guessing that MS sells wholesale at at least 20% off and 30% off wouldn’t be a stretch.

This kills the argument “Microsoft doesn’t want to give Apple 30%”. They give 30% to everyone else for handling their business, Apple would be no different.

But more important for Microsoft is that they are starting to lose the game. There are Macs and iPads in the enterprise. Some companies use Google Docs. The App Store is simple. Its cheap. Unless you absolutely had to get Office, most people will be buying iWork. I can promise you that Apple Store employees will be telling every new Mac buyer that they can get office software for much cheaper in the App Store, rather than buying it in a box from Microsoft.

Options: Continue to have declining business in the Office arena or slash some prices, join the app store, and give Apple 30%.

Winner: I don’t know what Microsoft will choose, but in the first case, it’ll likely be Apple that wins. In the second case, they both win.

Time will tell.