Microsoft missing out on billion-dollar opportunity by not bringing Office to iPad, says Analyst

There continues to be rumors about Microsoft Office for Android and iOS, but it certainly has yet to surface. Now a new report claims that Microsoft is losing out on billions each year that the product isn’t released to the market.

The report comes for Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt. According to Holt, they have lost out on around $2.5 billion in revenue per year, noting that if only one million Surface tablets were sold then the company is a long ways away from reaching much of a mobile market.

The idea is that if Microsoft could reach a similar attach rate on the iPad that it has with Mac (around 30%) it can reach such massive billion dollar figures. That’s also assuming the suite sells for $60 and Apple takes its usual 30% cut.

There continues to be rumors about Office for iOS and Android, and even Microsoft’s Peter Bobek claimed at an event in the Czech Republic that such a version would be coming in March of 2013. Based on the leak, the service would be very limited and could only read Office files, unless accompanied with an Office 365 subscription.

Is Releasing Office for Android and iOS a smart move?

While I think Microsoft might and probably will consider a limited Office suite for its competitors, it is a stupid move.

As I’ve said before, Windows 8 and Windows RT are both not taking off in a huge way yet, at least not among everyday consumers. It is starting to see more interest in the enterprise world, though. No, major companies aren’t interested in upgrading their Windows PCs to Windows 8, but they are interested in a mixed Windows 7 and 8 ecosystem that sees Windows 8/RT devices in select fields that could benefit from tablets.

Windows 8/RT tablets play nicely with existing infrastructure for businesses and honestly are more business friendly then typical Android/iOS devices. If Microsoft wants to truly make an impact in the business world, they need to leverage Microsoft Office – which is where the suite matters much.

Let’s face it, standard consumers and even small businesses that use the iPad have already learned to live without Office and have found decent alternatives. Major businesses though have invested heavily into the Microsoft Office (and Windows) ecosystem, so they are a better and more profitable target in the long-term.

Bottom-line, this analyst is wrong in my humble opinion. Of course, he’s the professional so perhaps his opinion is more accurate. Personally though, I think it sounds like shooting yourself in the foot to get rid of one of Microsoft’s biggest enterprise advantages.

What do you think, is Microsoft foolish to continue holding out on Office for Android and iOS, or are they smarter to keep it as a Windows RT and Windows 8 exclusive at least until they become more established in the mobile world? Share your thoughts below.

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