When Satya Nadella took over the top position in Microsoft, he promised that the mentality of the company would change - and change it has. While in the past Microsoft has been emulating Apple in the creation of a walled ecosystem of applications, software and hardware, where Microsoft software would only work on Windows devices, now the company has realised that this is a failed strategy.
As part of this reversal, the company is doubling down on its core business, focusing on creating high quality software for enterprise users, with strong cloud integration. Recognising that Windows-powered devices only make up a small fraction of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, the company is taking steps to make their software available on all devices, no matter what operating system they run.
The first sign of this was the release of Office for the Apple iPad, however The Verge is now reporting that Microsoft in getting ready to release the popular productivity suite for Android as well. Currently, Microsoft has put out the call for beta testers for a new version of Office which is specifically modified for use on touch-based devices, and rumours are persisting that this beta will include a version running on Android tablets.
While Microsoft nominally has an office app in the Google Play Store, the current version available does not have the full functionality of the PC Office software. In addition, the new version in development for Android tablets will reportedly give a user access to all of the productivity tools available on Windows 8.1 touch devices. Whether or not enterprise software such as the highly popular Microsoft Sharepoint platform will also become available remains to be seen.
This clearly shows that Microsoft is committed to creating an integrated cloud platform that works across multiple operating systems, however it remains to be seen if it will enjoy the same levels of uptake as the iPad version. It is important to note that while Apple does not offer a competitive suite of productivity software, Google does, with its Google Drive apps which, unlike Office, are free.
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