back to article Death to Office or to Windows - choose wisely, Microsoft

Windows is dead, and Microsoft Office has killed it. Or will, once the rumours about Microsoft porting its wildly popular Office product to the iPad become reality. For just as porting Office to Mac OS X back in 2001 sowed the seeds of Apple's relevance as a credible desktop alternative to Windows, so too will Microsoft's …


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  1. ItsNotMe

    "Windows is dead."


    With 83.62% market share world wide...and Apple at thinks that reports of Windows' demise are just a bit premature.

    And yes children... I do know their share HAS declined...but dead? Hardly.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: "Windows is dead."

      > With 83.62% market share world wide

      That is the installed base. Note that ~half of those have Windows XP and some still have Vista. That means that they probably haven't given money to Microsoft for several years.

      If they decide that their current systems are good enough when supplemented by an iPad or Android and/or decide that it would be wise to wait for W8 SP2 (just as Vista buyers should have waited for Vista SP2 otherwise known as Windows 7) then that 83% won't count for much at all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

        Microsoft has sold over 500 million licenses for Windows 7. That means that a very large number of people have given money to Microsoft for the Windows operating system recently.

        If you read the web you'd see that it was $4.74 billion dollars.

        Most people call this "a lot of money".

    2. henrydddd

      Re: "Windows is dead."

      The real problem comes from the fact that Microsoft now realizes that changing technology might make the desktop or laptop obsolete. When Ipad or Android tablets have the same power as a pc and docking stations are used which allow the tablet to use a regular keyboard and monitor and provide USB and other services, pc's will be history. So will mainline windows. Yes, X86 pc like units will exist for server farms and large enterprise solutions, the pc will be dead. When you can plug your portable IPAD or android into a docking station and it functions as a pc, why buy a large pc? In essence, the tablet will be the new pc of the future.

      1. toughluck

        Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

        Yes, that is, assuming all those users decide to either:

        1. Accept 10-12 inch screens on their tablets.

        2. Accept 10-12 kg tablets with 27 inch screens.

        Everybody seems to be under the impression that screen size no longer matters. And if you add in a keyboard, mouse, external screen and a power brick to an otherwise svelte slate, the sum becomes vastly more cumbersome than a desktop, vastly more expensive, and vastly less capable.

        Or has everybody forgotten that tablets cost twice the amount of a more capable desktop PC?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Paul 135

          erm, docking stations??

          I reckon 13-15" actually hits the sweet-spot. I reckon tablets will also disappear in the future and slim laptops with fold-away keyboards will take their place.

          Then there is that thing used in almost every office laptop user's desk called... a docking station!

          1. Loyal Commenter

            Re: erm, docking stations??

            A valid point once docking stations are commonplace in/on:

            - trains

            - cafes

            - hotel rooms

            - meeting rooms (both your business' and their clients')

          2. Rob Moir

            Re: erm, docking stations??

            What's interesting is that pundits have been predicting the end of the desktop. I think there's a chance the desktop could still remain important (albeit polarised into high end workstations and possibly lower end "all in one" machines) and the laptop could be the device most under threat from a more capable tablet.

            A good office product (whoever makes it!) on your tablet might not stop you needing a desktop machine (or 17" semi-portable "lap"top) at home for some specialised tasks or other but it might very well stop you carrying a laptop around with you.

        3. Goat Jam

          Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

          Or C) plug their tablet into a dock and/or bluetooth keyboard and monitor

      2. cmaurand

        Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

        Your desktop will be dead when you don't need it to produce code for the ipad or you don't need to do real work. iPads/Android/fondle-slab-of-your-choice are media consumption devices. I still write web services and other goodies. a tablet won't cut it for that kind of work. If you're doing publishing projects, working with graphics or actually producing content instead of consuming it, your PC will be around for quite a while.

    3. Don Mitchell

      Re: "Windows is dead."

      Exactly. People who use office are not going to abandon keyboards and big screens and do all their work on an iPad. And it's not a zero sum game, people own multiple devices. Microsoft is just going to sell more software and add value to the iPad.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. M Gale

      Re: "Windows is dead."

      83.62%? Really? I wonder how those figures were arrived at, because I don't know a single person with a computer who does not also have a copy of Windows.

      Even the Mac-heads, with Bootcamp.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

        "I don't know a single person with a computer who does not also have a copy of Windows"

        Allow me to introduce myself - I've been completely Windows free for 5 years - Linux only here, 4 desktops and server machines self-built, 1 laptop recycled to me after a Windows update failed disastrously , 1 net book always Linux .

        I'm a retired scientist and even when I worked it was mostly on a twin Xeon Linux workstation using programs that were mostly VERY expensive and only available on Unix/Linux.

        I don't need Windows - I can do everything I need on Linux. Apart from the scientific stuff that includes, browsing, e-mail, using Google Earth, processing RAW photo files, editing & viewing 1080/50p video, laying out pcbs, writing software and lots more. Libre Office is fine for my needs. A 3G dongle also works fine when traveling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

          It is amazing that a viable Linux desktop OS (Red Hat desktop, for instance) has not taken hold in the enterprise. How in the world do these CIOs justify paying seven figures in annual Microsoft support for software which 1) Hasn't changed *meaningfully* in 10 years 2) Isn't really that important as everything other than Office, and the occasional high-end graphics app, runs on the server side anyway.

          1. Alan Bourke

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

            "It is amazing that a viable Linux desktop OS (Red Hat desktop, for instance) has not taken hold in the enterprise. How in the world do these CIOs justify paying seven figures in annual Microsoft support for software "

            Very simple my friend - all the software that you actually need to use to run an enterprise (ERP, payroll, manufacturing etc) does not exist on Linux or Apple.

            1. James Micallef Silver badge

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

              "Very simple my friend - all the software that you actually need to use to run an enterprise (ERP, payroll, manufacturing etc) does not exist on Linux or Apple."

              That might have been true 5 years ago, but nowadays a lot of this software is now web-based and can be run on any platform as long as it has a browser. Sure, maybe the back-end servers still have to be windows servers, but for most users the front-end can be simply a browser. I think the one enterprise application that still keeps users tied to Windows is Outlook / exchange. (although I see no reason why corporate mail couldn't all be converted to web-based, as long as they keep the servers in-house)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re:why corporate mail couldn't all be converted to web-based

                Because web based email sucks for most corporate applications.

                We just completed a major conversion to Google Mail for a large government agency. Mail usability on the web is 'meh" - For average use it's as good as Thunderbird or Outlook. For non-db-oriented power users, Thunderbird and Outlook are better for searches. For db-oriented power users, the web is better than Thunderbird or Outlook.

                But it's not mail that kills it for corporate: it's the calendar. Like it or not, Exchange has one of the best mid-range calendar solutions on the market. It's easy to quickly see the calendar schedule for other attendees, including resources like rooms, projectors, and laptops. The calendars have fine grain control over what other users can see from your calendar. And an auto-acceptance system for booking rooms that works but allows a small number of managers who can override the auto-accept, or in the case of the vaunted Executive Suite Conference Room, allows the Executive Secretary exclusive control of the meetings for that room. This feature fails miserably with the Google Cloud solution, or at least the implementation of it at our agency. Rooms are constantly getting double-booked and there is no clear indicator to either users or Helpdesk techs as to who booked the room first.

            2. John Sanders
              Thumb Up

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

              I have been saying the same all my life, people do not choose to run windows because they like it, they choose to run windows because they need the programs that run on windows.

            3. Anonymous Coward

              @Alan Bourke

              "Very simple my friend - all the software that you actually need to use to run an enterprise (ERP, payroll, manufacturing etc) does not exist on Linux or Apple."

              Really? Oh , thats odd. I'm pretty sure all those financial institutions I worked for had their main core apps either running on a flavour of unix (solaris or linux mainly with the occasional AIX) or a mainframe. Windows Server might be alright to sling a few emails around a company but when you need a 24/7/365 system that can process hundreds or even thousands of trades a second then you won't be giving the microsoft salesman a call.

              1. Tom 13

                Re: @boltar

                Big iron companies, yes that's true. Small to mid-sized, not so much. Ages ago when I worked for a screwdriver shop, we supported two bank chains with multiple offices. None of them had a unix/linux server in any of their offices. Big iron companies may drop big wads of cash in one shot, but the simple fact of the matter is it's the Smalls and the Middies that drop most of the cash in the market.

          2. TeeCee Gold badge

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

            You (mostly) answered your own question:

            "1) Hasn't changed *meaningfully* in 10 years"

            Back-compatibility and stability is king in the corporate world. Then again, how that's supposed to be a downside when considered against a recent clone of a 1970s vintage CLI O/S with a GUI tacked onto it is beyond me.

            The "killer app" you've overlooked is central control / lockdown via simple tools that trained monkeys can handle.

        2. ChrisBedford

          "Windows is dead."

          You said it yourself - "I'm a retired scientist" - the vast majority (from my experience in IT, I'd say way in excess of 90%) of Windows users are incapable of using Linux. Any flavour, any shape, any desktop. Blame that on Windows if you like, but it's fact. You are an anomaly, not the rule; I deal with computer users all day, every day, and even those who are diehard (blowhard, if the truth be told) Apple converts or Linux afficionados have at least one Windows machine somewhere that they are ashamed of and don't always admit to... but it's there. :-)

          1. Chemist


            Welcome to The Register !

            Although I've had an interest in computing that goes back a long way ( I was taught physics by a guy who had worked on the Manchester 'baby' as a post grad) I can only say that the credit in using Linux for everything goes to the countless people who have worked on the kernel, written the GNU tools and assembled the distros.

            Installing a modern distro ( I use OpenSuse ) is simple - FAR easier than Windows - but of course not many users do that do they ?.

            If 90% of Windows users are incapable of using Linux I'd say they were also incapable of using Windows - I don't see the difference in easy of use. OpenSuse installs with no fuss, a good selection of user programs and no user involvement other than ticking boxes, accepting defaults and choosing language.

            I simply can't believe that people who otherwise wouldn't dream of having their choice restricted to one car, one supermarket, one smartphone or whatever will blindly accept 1 OS.

            Back in the eighties all sorts and manner of people got involved with a wide, wide range of micros, wrote software, built hardware, became professionals and yet now 90% of Windows users can't cope with anything else - rubbish - and IF that's true then it's the monopoly of MS that has brought it about.

            1. Chemist

              Re: @ChrisBedford


              I DON'T have any copies of WIndows - I will admit I threw away 5 DOS 5.0 disks last time I had a good clear-out

        3. M Gale

          Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

          I figured I'd get one or two penguins telling me that they've never touched a Windows install. THis is The Register after all, however when I say "people I know", I mean people I actually know, and I don't know many computer scientists.

          Allow me to introduce myself. I'm a far-from-retired mature student, studying a BSc(hons) in Computer Games Technology. As much as I might like to use Eclipse/GCC for everything, and indeed have so far, there is only so far you can go without a Windows installation available. I'm not sure what programming in C#, XNA and .NET are like under Linux, but at some stage I'm going to have to use them (at arms length, with surgical gloves, we have an OO Design prof who adores Microsoft) and I don't want to jeopardise my chances of a 70%+ score on spending all my time trying to hammer a Microsoft technology into a platform that Microsoft hates with a vengeance.

          But hey, give it a few years. If Ubuntu Software Cent(re|er) is as easy to make paid apps for as the other app stores, you'll more than likely see my stuff on it. Linux is a lot less of a headache to develop for than the same stuff on Windows, at least on the scale I'm working at.

          (but I still have a Windows 7 partition, mostly for playing games)

          1. Chemist

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

            I think the problem is the assumption that Linux isn't used much or that users "must still have Windows to be able to survive". You may not know many scientist but of course I do and even in my last company ~200 computational chemists had Unix or Linux workstations without Windows. To get the corporate crap we also had Windows machines.

            I also know Linux is heavily used by scientific academics. Good luck with the course !

          2. ArmanX

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

            Dismissing out-of-hand "one or two penguins" is a little limiting, don't you think? At that rate, we could simply ignore the Apple "fanboys" and those weirdos who use less than 2% of the OS share, and say that Windows actually owns 100% of the desktop market!

            And as for others using Linux... I've been doing an experiment. I've been giving away Linux. If someone brings me a computer to fix, or asks if I could help them build a computer, I suggest installing Linux; Kubuntu, usually. I'll even show them the basics before I do so. About half will say, sure, why not, can't beat free right? And there's another Linux user. I've been keeping tabs on them; of the (thus far) six people I've given Linux, only one no longer uses it, and that's because she got an off-brand laptop that came with Windows. Everyone else has stuck with it. Well, I take that back; one uses Windows occasionally, for playing a game. Windows is only in use because most users get it "free." It comes on their work computers, it comes on their home desktops and laptops. If, suddenly, Microsoft was no longer able to be installed at the OEM, and Linux (Or Apple, or or... ok, people would complain about OS/2) filled the gap, people would complain for a year or two, then settle down as if nothing happened. Won't happen, of course, but my point is, Windows is only on top because Windows is on top.

      2. Scott Mckenzie

        Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

        I too would like to introduce myself.... I don't personally use Windows anywhere. I have a number of Macs as does my better half. Slowly but surely the company I work for is moving to Mac also.

      3. wayward4now

        Re: "Windows is dead."

        I don't know anyone of any significance and an ounce of brains that runs Windows. They all run Linux.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Windows is dead."

      Remember the perils of listening to journalists.. 90% of real work doesn't need portability, journalists form the tiny minority where portability overrides everything else.

      Hence you get articles like this - where office is the only reason to use a PC (laptop pfft!) and a Mac is a viable 'PC'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

        Good point, well made. But in this case Matt Asay is not a journalist.

        1. Mike G
          Thumb Down

          Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

          Why do you bother with Matt Asay writing, all his articles sum up to 'apple is great, everybody else sucks'. It's getting real tedious.

        2. Arthur Dent

          Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

          Fair enough, Drew. Actually, it looks to me as if Asay is rather less in touch with the way PCs are used than the average journalist writing on iT topics is.

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

          > Matt Asay is not a journalist

          No, just Yet Another Pundit claiming that popular (in the sense of "widely used', not necessarily "widely loved") technology X will soon be disappearing. His type have been making such predictions for decades, and they're nearly always wrong.

          The death of Windows will probably follow shortly after the deaths of the mainframe, COBOL, the command line, batch-mode processing, etc.

          In this case the argument (that only Office keeps Windows alive) is particularly asinine, but that's really beside the point. Some tech observers - often those who have largely lost touch with the industry (the actual industry, where real work is done) - think IT changes much, much faster than it does. In reality it does a pretty good job of sustaining the same evolutionary pace that's characterized business information-handling technology since at least the mid 19th century. (Joanne Yates, /Control Through Communication/, is a good history.)

          Powerpoint is over 20 years old. That's typical for a business end-user technology. And Windows on the desktop is a business end-user technology.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

        Windows isn't dead, but the problem is XP is the zombie that refuses to die. I saw one company just last week who'd bought new PC's and whacked XP onto them. God knows why, they only have 20 or so PC's and use nothing more complicated than Access!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

          "God knows why, they only have 20 or so PC's and use nothing more complicated than Access!"

          Access in only available on vanilla PC's, so its about as complicated as you can get. I don't see it being ported to the MAc, never mind any tablet OS.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

            "Access in only available on vanilla PC's, so its about as complicated as you can get. I don't see it being ported to the MAc, never mind any tablet OS."

            I wasn't implying they should be using Linux or Macs. I was saying that in 2012 it is odd that a small company using nothing more complicated than Access are taking delivery of new PC's and sticking XP on them

            Ergo why I said that part of Microsofts problem is that XP just refuses to die. I could understand if you had proprietary software why you might avoid an OS upgrade. It's very odd and presumably is a problem Microsoft need to solve.

    7. NomNomNom

      Re: "Windows is dead."

      the idea that the ipad is the future is a joke believed only by people that use computers for trivial tasks like browsing the internet and checking the weather and their email. Office for ipad is only going to appeal to people who don't really use office hard.

      Serious users, of office and other apps, ie people that have to sit down and work with the machine for hours on end will want a docking station, a monitor or two *facing* them not in their lap, and an actual keyboard rather than some junk onscreen fiddly crap. And unless you are going to have all your external monitors touchscreen and flush against your face you are going to want perhaps a USB mouse too.

      This balls talk about tablets is just facebook/twitter faddish shit.

      /rant face

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Windows is dead."

      83%? Go to netmarketshare ( ) and you'll see that it's more like 92%.

  2. Tim Brown 1


    Office on an iPad is surely pretty much of an irrelevance. Doing heavy work with office-type documents is not what tablet computing is about. At most the iPad might benefit from a Word/Excel viewer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: huh?

      Small correction here : is not what tablet computing was supposed to be about. Sounds way much better isn't it ?

      I'm working now for a banking institution and while people are still prevented from bringing their own Windows laptop at the office, iPads keep popping everywhere and IT architects are busily working to make room for them in the IT infrastructure.

      1. Gordon 10

        Re: Re: huh?

        Ditto the iPad in work comment. Half the management have their personal iPads in use for work, the company is currently trialling Good on them.

        1. toughluck

          Re: Re: Re: huh?

          Aside from being a shiny toy, what can a tablet do that a PC cannot at half the price?

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Scott Mckenzie

            Re: Re: Re: Re: huh?

            Err, you don't get much PC for £200 these days.... given that an iPad starts at £399 and can do an awful lot!

            Does depend on what you need a machine for, but for me the amazing battery life, ability to do huge amounts of stuff out and about - manage servers, check email, manage VMWare environments, access Sharepoint.... means the iPad is an integral part of my life.

            1. turnip handler

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: huh?

              Is the iPad additional to your notebook/desktop?

              A friend asked me if they should replace their windows notebook with an iPad and I felt that I couldn't recommend that as they would still need to have a 'proper' computer to store family photos, document processing etc. As well as the additional costs surrounding a iPad such as app costs and iAccessories.

              So the cost might be £399 but that is still additional cost on top of a notebook / desktop.

          3. Jedit Silver badge

            "What can a tablet do that a PC cannot?"

            Be conveniently carried in one hand while in use, for a start.

            1. TeeCee Gold badge

              Re: "What can a tablet do that a PC cannot?"

              There's a problem with that.

              One thing that they do have in common with their fuller-fat counterparts is that they do not bounce. For the competition this is not an issue, as the more traditional machines are far less likely to be fumbled one-handed and prove this the hard way.

              1. ArmanX

                Re: Re: "What can a tablet do that a PC cannot?"

                Everyone keeps going on about a docking station. And how much with that be? If it's anything like the docking station for the Android phones, it'll be somewhere in the $250-$350 range. And while that station has a screen and the iPad wouldn't need one, it's also Apple, so it'll come with the Apple tax. An iPad plus a docking station is now well beyond the El Cheapo desktops most cubicle drones could ever hope to set fingers on.

                Oh, sure, it would work for those breezy made-of-money corporate types, and maybe possibly for the high-end employee with the specialized laptop (usually IT or Engineering), but the cubicle drone, with the bottom-of-the-barrel desktop? He doesn't need to move the desktop. Why get him a portable device? And the blue-collar worker with the ancient desktop and the greasy touch-screen would break an iPad the first day. There's a reason those machines are reinforced.

                The iPad might replace a handful of personal computers, but for the corporations out there? Not a chance.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: huh?

      Watch what happens when docking stations for Ipad come into popularity.

    3. O RLY

      Re: huh?

      And iPads come with the ability to read Word/Excel already (although the Excel reader isn't useful for multiple tabs, pivot tables or much else)

    4. Blitterbug

      Re: huh?

      @ Mr B - You'd be surprised; give the average corporate drone excel / word / PP / Loutlook on their shiny crypads & said devices will suddenly become very, very sticky.

  3. shadybarry
    Thumb Down

    Bollocks. Who on earth is going to type any lengthy article on an ipad?

    1. ItsNotMe

      "Who on earth is going to type any lengthy article on an ipad?"

      I'll tell you who.

      The dimbulbs who go out and spend more money on an external keyboard...effectivley turning their Fondleslab into a laptop computer...which they could have purchased for a slightly less sum...and gotten something that has MORE functionality...that's who.

      1. Steve McPolin

        My desktop needs a keyboard

        My tablet doesn't need one, but can use one. In fact, it uses the same one my desktop does.

        Unlike my tablet, my desktop is a lionized TV when it doesn't have a keyboard.

        Unlike my desktop, my tablet is quite functional without a keyboard; and even has an ad-hoc little keyboard emulator when I don't have a physical one handy...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Unlike my desktop, my tablet is quite functional without a keyboard;

          well how about that

        2. MDevonB

          Re: My desktop needs a keyboard

          A desktop without a keyboard isn't much worse than a tablet these days, since most modern OS have mouse support. I've gone a while on my desktop without touching the keyboard and relying on either voice recognition, handwriting recognition, or the virtual keyboard.

          I still use my laptop as well, and the keyboard on that has been ruined for about half a year now.

  4. Matthew 3


    My first view was to be as dismissive as my fellow commenterstards have been. But I think I see your point. Sure, right now an iPad isn't the best way to write a big document but just being able to do so represents a massive change in direction for MS.

    1. jubtastic1

      Re: Hmmm

      Woa! Strike through text? When did we get that? Also how?

      1. Jos

        Re: Re: Hmmm

        < s > strikethrough < /s >

        Methinks. Without the spaces.. obviously

    2. Tom 13

      Re: represents a massive change in direction for MS

      Not really. At least once every 7 years MS has to fake interest in supporting Apple to keep the DoJ anti-trust people at bay.

  5. DF118

    " . Office is a kingmaker in the enterprise, and the iPad is already king there."

    Stopped reading

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: " . Office is a kingmaker in the enterprise, and the iPad is already king there."

      ...and straight to the comments!

      Outraged of middle England

      1. DF118

        Re: Re: " . Office is a kingmaker in the enterprise, and the iPad is already king there."

        Yeah well that was kinda the point. Gold star for you. Also: couldn't get further from middle England if you tried.

      2. cocknee

        Re: Re: " . Office is a kingmaker in the enterprise, and the iPad is already king there."

        Outraged of United Kingdom if you don't mind. I'm not a Daily Heil reader, lemon sucking miserable bastards.

        But straight to the comments is right ;)

    2. Bill Neal

      Re: " . Office is a kingmaker in the enterprise, and the iPad is already king there."

      never seen one in my office. CAD is the only reason I'm on a Windows machine right now, so what will AutoDesk do? I'd love to run that on my Fedora box, but I don't think I have the excessively modern hardware needed to make that work with virtualization. Is there an easier way to run CAD off Windows?

      1. KroSha

        Re: Re: " . Office is a kingmaker in the enterprise, and the iPad is already king there."

        "Is there an easier way to run CAD off Windows?"

        ArchiCAD, AutoCAD, PowerCADD or VectorWorks on a Mac?

      2. Scott Mckenzie

        Re: Re: " . Office is a kingmaker in the enterprise, and the iPad is already king there."

        Depends on the product but many CAD products exist for Mac....

      3. MDevonB

        Dear Bill Neal,

        As far as CAD on Linux goes, a perfectly viable AutoCAD clone is DraftSight by DAssault Systems (Solidworks, CATIA). It's a bit crummy compared to AutoCAD on Windows, but thats more UI response speed than lack of features.

        As for tablets, Autodesk has a few viewer programs available for iOS and Android. Not exactly sure if they're write-capable, but definitely very useful. Especially for quick on-site markup and viewing where it's easier to take that out than a full laptop setup. Though they really could use some work in the ease of use department.

      4. Ilgaz

        Not with current management

        Microsoft has technology to render things on server gpu and send to clients.

        issue here is the spoiled kid like management who wants people to use their stuff only. Just having to translate to opengl would make them nuts let alone shipping to other (enemy!) platforms.

        A lot of good, cool stuff gets invented and gets messed up with archaic platform monopolist ideas of 90s. They could not take IBM as example and become something bigger.

        Look to stuff we're reading about, the possibility of releasing a product, service to a new coming platform. For any other software company, even questioning it would be insane. Did IBM give up releasing Windows software because OS/2 existed?

        Same company, before becoming a Ballmer toy released products on Apple before PC versions. Mac internet explorer had better features than windows version etc.

    3. nexsphil

      Re: " . Office is a kingmaker in the enterprise, and the iPad is already king there."

      Indeed. I scrolled up expecting this to be an Andrew Orlowski special at that point. Perhaps Matt Asay is a pseudonym?

  6. Greg J Preece

    I don't think Windows will die, as you put it. I can certainly see its market share being drastically reduced, as we've seen with IE. Computing consumers these days are a bit more savvy to alternatives, and the ones that aren't are drawn in by Apple's shiny gimmickery. But I don't think it will die, simply because of what depends on it.

    Games, for example, largely require DirectX, and while it's heartening to see the recent dearth of excellent indie PC games that have gone tri-platform (check out the Humble Bundles), all the big-name stuff is pretty much Windows only, with the odd one getting a Mac port a year down the line. If the death of Windows were the target, then lashings of money would need to be spent beefing up OpenGL and moving onto it. I'd love for that to happen (games on Linux woo), but I don't think it will.

    1. nexsphil

      Linux in its current form will never be mainstream

      Despite all the protestations otherwise (Ubuntu anyone?), Linux remains about as far from user friendly as it's probably possible to achieve for an OS. And it's intended to be this way. Linux, sadly, is a geek toy. A box of delights with which to tinker - if you have infinite time on your hands to do so. In the face of all the global industrial-political corruption we're seeing in recent years, a little voice inside of me is crying out for a genuinely usable open-source OS. All it will take is the buy-in of either the Linux dev community (not going to happen, they like the exclusivity too much), or some new organisation to grab the kernel sources and put an awesome UI on top. Tie a DirectX emulator in (yes, I know that would be technically illegal, but the ends justify the means) and I'm fucking sold.

      1. redxine

        Re: Linux in its current form will never be mainstream

        > Linux remains about as far from user friendly as it's probably possible to achieve for an OS. And it's intended to be this way.

        Yes. Thousands of hours of research into user interfaces for enough DE's to suit anyone, sure. Android has obviously faced a huge problem in this area.

        > A box of delights with which to tinker - if you have infinite time on your hands to do so. In the face of all the global industrial-political corruption we're seeing in recent years, a little voice inside of me is crying out for a genuinely usable open-source OS.

        Terribly unusable. I mean it can't even run internet exploder 9! And dear heavens what will we all do without our outlook and having the ability to install executables with a wizard! Where the hell is the C: drive and where's the defrag utility!? There's no start button. I can't use this.

        > All it will take is the buy-in of either the Linux dev community (not going to happen, they like the exclusivity too much),

        You mean IBM, Intel, SuSE, Redhat, Canonical, Epson..... then yes. I'm sure embedded manufacturers enjoy exclusively using Linux in their products also.

        > or some new organisation to grab the kernel sources and put an awesome UI on top.

        Kind of like Redhat? (read: Gnome).

        > Tie a DirectX emulator in

        No. You do not solve the problem by making a new implementation of the similar system. You of all people must have seen how far silverlight has gotten in this world.

      2. Greg J Preece


        Nice anti-Linux rant there, but at what point did I make any reference to it going mainstream? I was only talking about it being supported through the use of OpenGL.

      3. John Sanders

        Re: Linux in its current form will never be mainstream


        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: ReactOS

          Are you mentioning that "for" or "against" the "it'll never happen" proposition?

    2. toughluck

      Well, the writer lives on the assumption that Apple's market share is growing and is significant everywhere in the world.

      Well, that's not the case in roughly 90% of the world. OS X requires Apple hardware, and people don't want to pay the Apple tax for an otherwise ordinary PC. Not to mention exorbitant prices for parts and limited upgradeability. Sorry, but for the price of a Mac I can get a much more capable PC and run whatever I wish on it.

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Great Idea MS

    Then try charging £200+ for it....

    How much do Apple's equivalents cost?

    Beer O'Clock

    1. Peter Clarke 1

      Re: Great Idea MS

      Methinks Apple won't be getting their normal 30% cut in the iTunes store

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The truth is iPad showed us

    there is life outside Windows. Millions of users are now aware that Windows is not the only computing experience available. They discovered they are not so dumb that they can not find their way on a new unfamiliar GUI. I'm curious to see if and how Microsoft will be able to undo this.

    1. Ian Yates

      Re: The truth is iPad showed us

      Did you miss Office 2007's ribbon interface, Win3.1, Win95, Vista, or Win7? They were all "a new, unfamiliar GUI" in their time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: The truth is iPad showed us

        "Did you miss Office 2007's ribbon interface, "

        No. It was and is shit.

    2. Bear Features

      Re: The truth is iPad showed us

      I was shown and was so happy with my MacBook Pro. Best thing I ever did... was sell it 18 months later. There is a life outside Windows, it has very high walls and you WILL do things their way ;)

      I escaped... thank goodness.

      Keep your cartoon GUI that hasn't changed for years, keep it and enjoy it. Though there's a life outside too y'know ;)

      1. PJI

        @Bear Features - : Re: The truth is iPad showed us

        Are you sure you used OS X? Not confusing it with IOS? I take it that you never learnt how to use it and know even less about UNIX (BSD variant, as OS X).

        I use Windows XP, Windows 7, OS X, Solaris, Cygwin and have used most varieties of Linux (gave up when I got OS X and found a better implementation of UNIX and no longer had to support it at work) - mixture of work requirements and home pleasure. Windows is the most annoying, "locked/walled" system, with its fussy interfaces, rough edges even on mature products and constantly trying to be too clever. The only thing I appreciate is Excel. But the implementation by MS for OSX seems to be faster and more reliable. Actually, MS Office is rather decent on OS X. I am sure it would be more than passable on IOS too.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The truth is iPad showed us

      Linux netbooks showed us that a new unfamiliar GUI doesn't have to be a problem before iPads. They are still more practical use.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: The truth is iPad showed us

        And where are those Linux netbooks now? How many were returned or had Windows put on them? The netbook was a great idea, but it has turned out to be a total flash-in-the-pan. Microsoft managed to kill-off the idea of small cheap computers quickly.

      2. aThingOrTwo

        Linux netbooks

        Linux netbooks gained significantly less traction than an iPad.

        Return rates where higher than their Windows equivalents as well.

        Ever wonder why that was?

    4. Tom 13

      Re: The truth is iPad showed us

      Meh. MS shows us a new and unfamiliar GUI about once every 6 years. They're still most of the market in spite of it.

  9. Bob 18


    There are so many alternatives to MS Office these days, will anyone notice or care when Microsoft's take on these apps gets to the iPad? iOS is losing out to Android anyway.

    Wake me up when LibreOffice runs on my Android.

    1. Real Ale is Best

      Re: Yawn

      Not long now:

      1. Craigness

        Re: Re: Yawn

        That doesn't look good. If they want to retain all the functionality of the desktop version then something like the Ribbon interface would be a good choice.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yawn

      "will anyone notice or care when Microsoft's take on these apps gets to the iPad?"

      Well, the author sure makes an excellent example of your statement. Because while he claims there will be no way that Office is ever going to be supported on Android Microsoft has proven otherwise:

      OneNote, an office application to store notes and basically any kind of information you want, has been released on Android earlier this month. Now, I realize that this isn't "Office" as a whole, but surely it does go right against the made statements that MS will "never support Android".

  10. Anonymous Coward

    The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

    All the clueless corpo-drones abuse especially Excel in as many horrible ways as possible. One anecdote I heard is Accenture "maintaining" their full customer project list and employee list on Excel.

    I personally know of another megacorp doing all sorts of stuff in Excel and Powerpoint. Of course, there are no clean table definitions as in an SQL database and quite often reports are generated by calling completely fscked-up VBA scripts which then run for 30 minutes, but would take about 1 second if properly coded in C#.

    What the corpo-drones like most is mixing data and prose. So one piece of codes expects data from line 8, but one drone changed that so that it will start from line 5, without telling the VBA elite programmer. Then the report will of course ignore the first three lines....

    Then there is the inevitable performance drain of scripting MS Office via DCOM, which is the route mostly taken if a proper language like C# or C++ is used. Generating the Office XML directly is 100 times faster, but then the lazy programmer has to read the spec and do a little reverse engineering plus abstracting from html. So in general that route is not taken....

    1. dogged

      Re: The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

      The programmer may or may not be lazy but the line-manager who commissioned the software almost certainly wants it yesterday. COM is quicker to write than parsing XML.

      Which is sad, but horribly true.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

        True, that is the reason people use Excel, or spreadsheets generally, instead of SAP for mission critical "applications." You can create pivot table to do the job, sort of, in two hours instead of two months of trying to put it into an enterprise application... by the time it is in SAP, Oracle, Siebel, etc, they will have forgotten what they wanted it for in the first place.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

      Actually, it's fairly straightforward:

      * Mega-corporate IT won't do f-all unless they are working on a $20M+ project.

      * And the "corpo-drones", as you call them, aren't allowed to use anything except Office.

      What's that leave? Excel ... FTW!

      (It's neither laziness nor ignorance. Us droneys simply ain't allowed to play with no 'kewl' toyz.)

    3. Doug Glass

      Re: The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

      From the corporate IT basement comes the truth according to the last pocket-protecting booger-picking nerd hired.

    4. Mark 65

      Re: The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

      What you need to realise is that in the enterprise end-users aren't allowed to use Java, C#, C++ etc so they use office (mainly Excel) because it contains a scripting language you cannot prevent them from using. That's why it is so prevalent. It is also much quicker for a capable end-user, and there are more than you think, to prototype and get something running in Excel than it is to go through the 15 layers of bullshit involved with getting centralised IT to analyse and start a project to perform a small task. Most errors come down to inappropriate structuring, control, and code management.

      1. Christian Berger

        Re: Re: The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

        Well I can certainly see the need not to go to C++/C/C# and SQL databases, but what about plain text files? With a bit of organization you can do virtually any task in a business with sed awk and shell scripts.

        One main problem of those "Office" formats is that content and form are both in the same file. So some people might feel compelled to change the file to make it look prettier. Another one is that code and data is stored in the same file. So you'll end up having different files with different versions of the code and nobody knows which one is the current one.

        1. Tom 13

          @Christian Berger: Stop being so dense

          The whole point here is that drones aren't allowed to be programmers, hence no access to real programming tools. And once you cross the real programming tool boundary, you are into IT Change Control Management territory, which gets in the way of the drone finishing that report by 5:00 today which was the directive the PHB gave him at 4:30.

          Look, I understand the point of CCM, and on the whole I think it is a better solution than most of the MacGyvering that goes on today. The problem is management always presents the problem in a way that doesn't allow CCM and requires MacGyvering. And I'm stuck in the real world instead a cool tv show.

      2. Stu J

        Re: Re: The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

        You can prevent them from using VBA, there's a Group Policy setting. Oh how frequently I've been tempted to turn it on...

        1. keithpeter Silver badge

          Re: Re: Re: The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

          IT did disable VBA once in a College where I worked, just on the network used in the teaching/learning side (admin had their own network). No consultation, just rolled it out one weekend so it was done when we came in on Monday.

          A lot of teaching materials used VBA for interactivity in those days (tend to be web pages now).

          By 12 noon, the Principal had had the IT manager in for a 'brief meeting'.

          Around 4pm we all had an email asking us to reboot our PCs and the classroom PCs. VBA was working again.

          By Thursday, there was a request for volunteers to form an IT Users group, which actually worked quite well.

        2. Mark 65

          Group Policy

          It'll also prevent a lot of commercial addins from working unless you want to go through all the trust centre bullshit before you get fired because the head of the business side of a corporation always has more clout than the head of IT and you just upset all his workers.

      3. I'm Brian and so's my wife
        Thumb Up

        Re: Re: The Curse Of The 21st Century: MS Office

        Don't forget that in addition to the code being almost readable as-is, there's also a recorder that can capture much of the functionality you seek as a not-unreasonable first stab which I'd laugh at and then re-engineer to be significantly better.

        Macro recording really is excellent functionality (though dangerous in the wrong hands) and a *major* reason why Excel & MS Office generally are so popular within the business.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    The real picture

    The real picture here is the coming irrelevance or diversity of the OS.

    Microsoft is seeing that their ubiquity of Windows on the desktop is soon to be come rather irrelevant for the vast majority of people in their computing experience. For many, Windows was the only familiar interface to the computing world. It was said that other potential platforms (Linux variants, OSX) suffered because customers didn't like change. The fact that people took to iOS and Android in their millions shows that this is fundamentally wrong. Yes, these touch devices are used in a different way to the desktop, but many people now really have no need for a desktop at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The real picture

      Exactly, it is not so much Windows going away as the irrelevance of client OSs. As everything is on the server and runs through a browser, the client OS just isn't that important anymore. Although, as Windows has the vast majority of the market, a decline in the importance of client OS = a decline in Windows.

  12. Mike VandeVelde

    newfound respect for open source

    "Microsoft, despite its newfound respect for open source, isn't about to seed the open-source market with its crown jewels."

    Why would MS Office for Linux be open source?

    1. xperroni

      Re: newfound respect for open source

      It needed not be; and anyway that's not the point. The point is, if you could run Office on Linux (without fiddling with WINE, that is), then the Linux distro proposition would become that much more appealing for end-users – think Office pre-loaded Linux laptops and netbooks.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: newfound respect for open source

      It certainly doesn't have to be open source to be available for Linux. And under both GPLv2 and GPLv3 it is perfectly legal for MS Office to link dynamically against glibc, libstdc++ and any other system libraries it needs.

      Is the Oracle 11g database open source? Or Sybase?

      And now for something completely different: it would have been very helpful if the author of this article knew what they were talking about.

    3. Bob 18
      Black Helicopters

      Re: newfound respect for open source

      MS Office won't come out for Linux because Linux doesn't play well with commercial software. Anything in the distro is super-easy to install, that's one of its great strengths. But since the Linux market is so fragmented, supporting commercial software on all the different variants is a nightmare. And then when you upgrade, you find that the commercial software you paid good $$ for stops working.

      Mac OS X is almost as good as Linux for the open source software (especially now with MacPorts). And it's WAY better than Linux for running commercial software.

      1. Scoured Frisbee

        Re: Re: newfound respect for open source

        We have lots of expensive commercial Linux software. Most of it supports specific distributions (RedHat mostly, it is a business after all). Installs aren't that bad, and if they are that's why we pay for support. That doesn't necessarily scale well for end-users but for a big rollout you only have to do it once.

        If you haven't seen enterprise commercial Linux software then you just haven't been looking.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: newfound respect for open source

      It's pretty much that way already.

      MS have already published many of the data formats used in Office (with Exchange being the main omission, I gather), and an *exceedingly* rich automation interface for anyone who wants a guide to the internal implementation, so creating a "work-alike" clone is merely hard work. Also, since the majority of usage is performed by fairly forgiving "human beings", the fidelity of emulation can slip here and there without making the whole exercise pointless.

      For Windows (both at kernel and userspace), no such documentation exists beyond MSDN, and the usage is by dumb programs, so if you fail to emulate every single bug (and you won't find *those* documented in MSDN) then you run the risk of apps falling over for not apparent reason and no workaround.

      Consequently, rival "office" packages do a pretty good job of offering alternatives, but WINE has been a struggle and ReactOS (to pick up on an earlier comment) has been almost still-born.

      If MS have to choose between killing Windows or Office, it *has* to be Office. Windows is just so much harder for their competitors to get to grips with.

  13. frank ly

    What if .....?

    If Microsoft want to ride successful coat-tails into a the big corporate tablet market, then why wouldn't they choose Android tablets shipping with Office as the way to go. They could form strategic partnerships with those Android using manufacturers who already pay them 'patent hush money' and maybe even produce their own version of Android (Microsoft Ice Cream anyone?)

    That way, they could have influence in a crowded and fragmented market instead of getting crumbs from the massive monolith which is Apple.

    They have lots of experience with 'embrace, extend and extinguish', so why not use Android like that? Hasn't Android been 'open sourced' by Google?

    1. dogged

      "ride successful coat-tails into a the big corporate tablet market"


      The single most successful company at selling corporate software is Microsoft. I know there's this whole movement to erect a Jobsian Reality Distortion Field over that and claim that Apple and/or Google are the only companies that are ever successful but sadly for those people responsible, it's not what's generally called "accurate" or even "true".

      1. frank ly

        Re: "ride successful coat-tails into a the big corporate tablet market"

        I did say 'corporate *tablet* market' and this article is about MS putting Office onto the iPad tablet; presumably because they don't have a sucessful tablet of their own.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please try LibreOffice (

    I have most customers and friends on LibreOffice, and I'd say 90% of people that think they need MS Office will in fact find LibreOffice does what they need. Yes there are some 3rd party apps (mainly accounting in my experience) hard linked with MS Office, hopefully that'll change.

    LibreOffice is already on Linux, Mac and Windows. I believe an iOS version is in the pipeline.

    One application to learn across multiple platforms :-)

    Also, on iOS, there is already QuickOffice, which by all reports is good enough.

    I have business customers with iPads who always ask about doing invoices and the like on them.

    If you find LibreOffice is good enough for you, you can PayPal donate to keep development going.

  15. Mage

    MS Office isn't important

    Libre office (the more popular fork of Open Office) now has Intel backing it and for 99.99% people is good enough.

    OK I made up the statistic. But seriously iPad doesn't need Office to Succeed and really there are loads of reason to want Windows on a Laptop/Desktop (hardly any on a Tablet and none on a phone), But MS Office is now WAY down the list of reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS Office isn't important

      I'm waiting for a new version of iWork (I've read the current version has poor MS Office file support), in the interim I'm working with LibreOffice and it's just about OK... BUT even for some simple editing actions it wants me to install Java - why on earth ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: MS Office isn't important

        The Java connection comes from the Age of Sun. Some LibreOffice developers are working to remove Java dependencies.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS Office isn't important

      I just wish someone would come up with a viable OSS alternative to OneNote. It makes taking notes and associated tasks exceptionally pleasant.

      1. Spearchucker Jones

        Re: Re: MS Office isn't important

        OneNote on a tablet is especially good. Especially the dual pen/touch support. When I'm drawing/writing with the stylus it doesn't get confused with my palm resting on the tablet, like the other pen-based tablet apps I've used.

        The other thing Office has over it's competitors is built-in Skydrive. Even easier than dropbox, from my phone, to the tablet and the desktop. Home and work from a single account!

    3. fzz

      Re: MS Office isn't important

      iPad doesn't need Office, but MSFT may need to sell Office on the iPad in order to keep it's revenues growing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS Office isn't important

      Agree, with Intel backing ODF, in addition to IBM, Oracle, SAP, and everyone else except Microsoft, people may just decide not to pay $400 a pop for Office and move to Libre or Lotus Symphony or OO or a mixture thereof. As long as they use ODF, it doesn't matter. I cannot believe that companies will continue paying millions upon millions for 20 year old functionality forever.

    5. Christian Berger

      Re: MS Office isn't important

      Well some companies were foolish enough to base their entire business logistics on VBA. So can't switch without making _huge_ investments.

      VBA is actually even more important for businesses than Win32, that's why Microsoft wants to ditch Win32, but currently doesn't even dream about ditching VBA.

      Of course, maybe eventually companies will learn that VBA is not a good platform, but that will take time. Even today you see companies falling into the next traps by using .net as a platform. Previously Visual Basic users got burned by abrupt changes in their platform.

      So what businesses would need to learn is to base their logistics on platforms which are either platform independent or only require a small platform to work on. (i.e. a server standing somewhere in a corner talking to the clients via "telnet/ssh" or http)

      1. Shakje

        Re: Re: MS Office isn't important

        .net is good, you may not like it, but it's true. Especially as someone who was a C++ > C# advocate until I took the time to learn it, to make the assumption that people are "falling into a trap" suggests that there is no real advantage in using it at all, but if you compare development times, C# versions will almost always turnaround quicker. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the full standard is published. If someone wants to go and write their own version, they should be able to quite easily.

        The reason VB developers got burned was because the language had major, major deficiencies (and since you'll clearly be wanting an example, how about "Runtime error 6"), and (as with, which did try this and essentially is a bit rubbish) and it would not have made logical sense to pigeon hole .NET functionality into the existing language.

  16. bobbles31

    I think the article over simplifies corporate strategies just a tad. The move to iPad for office "if" it happens will likely as not be a crippled version. I.e. just enough functionality to convince consumers not to buy an alternate office suite but rippled enough to only really be useful when coupled with a desktop with windows installed

  17. Jason Hindle

    Death to neither?

    Are we not being a tad hysterical here? Of course, it will be nice to have Office on the iPad. An iPad with a keyboard is actually quite a nice backup to the corporate Dell when I'm at a customer site in the arse end of Africa for weeks at a time. However, it's not going to be better the corporate Dell; certainly not for heavy duty contents creations tasks, diagramming and project planning.

    Will Windows take a hit? I'm sure it will, but it isn't going to die. Will Microsoft continue to laugh all the way to the bank? Absolutely! Will corporations across the world continue to buy desktops, laptops and servers that run windows? I believe they will (besides, it's not like they're going to be buying servers from Apple anytime soon).

  18. Doug 3

    no reason stated for why they have to put MS Office on iPad

    there is nothing compelling them to put MS Office on the iPad. Please to not say money. As was stated by Matt, if they were to put MS Office on the iPad they would help gut MS Windows sales and losing that means a slippery slide downward for desktop market share. The numbers don't pan out since desktop $$$ are more valuable than iPad tablet $$$ to Microsoft.

    They will not port MS Office to the iPad but they will do so for their MS Windows on ARM(WOA). But of course that will also make WOA required lots of RAM, CPU and Flash storage space(didn't they just tell us Flash is slow?) or even spinning HD space. ie the WOA tablets will be battery sucking hogs compared to the iPads and Androids out there. But with MS Office, they'll get some sales before they are shoved into desk drawers as useless for getting work done.

  19. Tankboy

    Is this what it's come to?

    Sounding the death knell of Micro$oft? Thank you Captain Obvious, because I would have never imagined such a thing could have possibly transpired.


  20. sisk

    Windows is NOT dying.

    Windows still rules the desktop market and likely will until that market dies. Despite what world + dog seems to think desktops are going nowhere. Tablets may kill off laptops if they can come close to their capabilities, but the desktop is safe. It's survived the laptop, the netbook, and the thin client. Compared to them a machine with half (at most) of it's capabilities isn't even a challenger. It's not even a matter of processing power. It's a matter of being able to sit down with two or three 20" screens and work with multiple programs in front of you with a keyboard and a mouse. It's about having your report on one screen, your email on another, and a spreadsheet with the data you're analyzing on the other. Tablets can't do this stuff, and would be piss poor at it if you managed to force them.

    The desktop is here to stay for the foreseeable future and Windows will be sticking around with it.

    1. Alain

      Re: Windows is NOT dying.

      Agree with the main point of the post i.e. Windows not dying, but OTOH I think that the desktop *is* dying. Look in IT stores around you, how many of them still have towers on display? apart from hardcore gamers, no home user seems to buy desktops anymore nowadays. As for the business world, I know IT buyers who seriously consider phasing out the desktop. Notebooks/netbooks/tablets fit the "mobile office" and "shared cubicle pool" schemes better, they save office space. Yes, they still cost more money for the same specs, but the gap is narrowing.

      My crystal ball tells me that Windows will outlive the desktop computer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Windows is NOT dying.

        Obviously I don't know where you are in geographical terms but the answer in my area is all of them and to a far greater degree than the space given to laptops, netbooks or tablets. All the home users I know still use their desktops and have laptops etc for travelling rather than a primary machine.

        As for your IT purchasing point I have to say that no one I know is thinking of phasing out desktops in any way shape or form but that I suspect is because mobile office or cubicle pooling have very little meaning within the SME's my friends work in. Cost reasons, ease of maintenance and upgradeability are their key concerns and laptops, netbooks and tablets just don't fit that for them yet. Some of the management have tablets to play with but that is mostly to keep them busy with a shiny toy so that they don't interfere too much.

  21. Bunglebear

    It's got a long way to go

    Anyone who uses Office for real work with large files won't be doing it on an iPad. Maybe "creative" types might be a bit more legwork out of it, but those tend to use Macs already.

  22. Yeik

    I know posting here is getting this article and any similar articles more attention, however I do feel the need to say this.

    That is complete and utter crap. Office on an ipad makes no difference at all to windows. Maybe windows 8 on ARM machines, but windows is still heavily around and I don't see it going anywhere in the corporate world and that means a lot of people use it at home too. Even if office was ported to linux I don't think it would make much difference.

    Windows will die when all software and games get ported over to another operating system and the usability and price are equal. On top of that it needs to have a form of domain and controlling computers/groups easily. I don't see mac as a relevant alternative to windows but I do see linux. Mostly because I have never liked Mac or and apple product. I also don't see training all helpdesk and tech support that only know windows on either linux or mac. So it is still alive and well.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More than rumoured

    "The one platform Microsoft is not rumoured to be supporting anytime soon is Google's Android,"

    I got an email from the Microsoft Office team yesterday saying that OneNote is now available on Android. So you are talking rubbish about it not being rumoured anytime soon, it's more than rumoured it's fact.

  24. Philippe

    I am with Steve D on this one.

    It will all depend on how much Microsoft wants to charge for it.

    Like many, my company is busy looking at iPads as an alternative for Laptops but the "What about Office?" question keeps popping up.

    We'll buy Office with our eyes close if it costs the same as Pages/Keyboard/Numbers put together but if it costs more then, we'll stick with the iOffice thing.

  25. tedl

    -30% App Store tax

    Microsoft will be giving 30% of its revenue to Apple for Office on iOS. That could be huge no matter how much is charged.

    And while nobody will write a big Word document on the iPad a lot of people will read and edit/comment a large Word Doc.

    1. Paul 135

      Re: -30% App Store tax

      As someone has said earlier, if Microsoft were smart they would tell Apple to let them sell Office without the tax. Office on iPad benefits crAppl€ more than Microsoft.

  26. Unlimited

    indispensable tool for business? no! rage inducing poison.

    Gah! How did we get here? Every powerpoint is full of fluff, every word doc instantly out of date, every excel spreadsheet indecipherable to anyone but the author, every access db a disaster waiting to happen.

    I would rather office died an immediate and final death.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Gah! How did we get here?"

      We started down this road because the people with the company's monopoly on computers were out of touch with what their businesses needed, were often unable to deliver a decent service, and were costing a fortune more than they were ever able to justify. Some smart thinking companies saw that things might be done differently, non-traditionally, but done equally well, perhaps better.

      Back then, the people with the centralised monopoly on overpriced computers and services were the mainframe people, and the minicomputer people with their VMS and Unix boxes were the people who brought innovation, diversity, and cost-effectiveness.

      Now, the people with the centralised monopoly on overpriced IT structures and badly delivered services are the Microsoft people, and the Linux and Android folks are the people who bring innovation, diversity, and cost-effectiveness. Uncomfortable, probably unpopular (just watch the downvotes flood in), but actually undeniably true -how many businesses actually think they get value for money from their Windows-centric IT? ["Desktop productivity" is an oxymoron].

      History repeats itself, with different badges. But the (clueless through no fault of their own) young folk and the ignorant PHBs and MBAs can't see that Microsoft's era is past its peak, just like there were mainframe people who couldn't see that their time was nearly over. Mainframes of course live on in certain selected areas but it's hard to see where Microsoft will be in ten or twenty years time.

  27. My backside


    This Matt Asay (Ass Say?) is completely and utterly wrong about this killing Windows. And I own nothing but Apple products, no Windoze whatsoever.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What rubbish

    Hands up all those secretarial staff, records keepers, anf office workers who will actually get rid of their desk top PC - the reality is that very, very few will.

    However, some office workers *might* get iPads *as well*, instead of Blackberries, to take on the road - resulting in plus one sale of Office for Microsoft.

    I think there is a reason this author is a freelance journalist and not a multimillionaire tech exec, and it's clear from this article...

    1. That Awful Puppy

      Re: What rubbish

      I do hope you were going for extreme sarcasm.

      (Hint: Read the man's bio at the end of the article.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: What rubbish

        Read his Bio - It appears that he's held a lot of posts in a succession of startups that I've ever heard of. He now opines on El Reg, where he spouts bollocks. I think the original poster is just about spot on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What rubbish

      He is not a freelance journalist ...

  29. Levente Szileszky

    Wow, what a lousy article! Pt1

    I really don't have time to go through all the ridiculous bollocks written in this quickie (not a deep article for sure), so here are some quick notes:

    "Windows is dead, and Microsoft Office has killed it. Or will, once the rumours about Microsoft porting its wildly popular Office product to the iPad become reality."

    Probably the MOST IDIOTIC claim by any clueless journo this year, wannabies included, even though it's still February...

    ...really? You really think people run Windows only because of Office?

    Have you EVER used an iPad for more than typing up lousy articles?

    It's USELESS for any real work - but you think people will drop Windows when Office starts running on iPads...

    This is some very powerful IGNORANCE on display.

    "The one platform Microsoft is not rumoured to be supporting anytime soon is Google's Android, just as Office-on-Linux remains a chimera. "

    Right and nobody gives a shit about it. Yes, I really mean nobody.

    First there is WINE (not, not the one you were sending down while writing this piece, it's a software), second I highly doubt in the linux crowd anyone wants more than the fully-featured FREE LibreOffice suite or any of the numerous online services (Google Docs, MS Office Web Apps via Live etc.)

    "(...)but for many of us, buying a Mac would be impossible without Office, no matter how cool Apple's iProducts."

    Just a note from outside of the bubble: you are a VERY LOUD but MINISCULE MINORITY, accounting for a single-digit market share worldwide. Yes, SINGLE DIGIT MARKET SHARE - now think again, just how relevant your views are on the big scale of things...

    ...and I didn't bite into the "cool" products part (pretty funny how out-of-touch Apple shills can be. :))

    1. PJI

      How rude can the loosing set get?

      Ever noticed how those on the loosing side of an argument get ever more abusive and shrill? It's hard being uncertain of oneself or knowing that your pet beliefs are being shattered.

      Get over it, retrieve your calmness and put that energy into adjusting to the changing world.

      And, dear Linux fans: never forget that it is an incomplete UNIX imitation and, despite all the roaring and cheering for many years now, has not and is unlikely ever to make it into the hands of the common man. It may work if, like OSX vis a vis IOS, it takes the lessons learnt from Android mobile telephones (well, some of them) and becomes more user friendly.

      Until then, huff and puff and sheer rudeness will not work. Unlike you, most of the world hates neither Apple nor Microsoft (and barely knows the difference, just like you I suspect).

      1. hplasm

        Re: How rude can the loosing set get?

        What has been loosed can be tightened.

        But seriously, it's so good to hear from a real live expert; good job you came along when you did.

        Do stick around, I'm certain that we can organise a collection from the grateful.

  30. Levente Szileszky

    Wow, what a lousy article! Pt2

    "Microsoft denies that it's porting Office to the iPad, but this is bunk, as The Daily insists. Microsoft has no choice but feed Apple's iPad success."

    Multiple failure - seriously, did you spend more than a minute with thinking before you wrote this article or you just regurgitating all those bozo articles you've linked in?

    MS does NOT *HAVE* to do shit here, they can just sit out the iPad wave and keep Office on their upcoming Windows 8 tablets - that alone would make it a corporate blockbuster (provided MS will not fuck up anything a' la Vista and won't price up to iPadian heights.)

    Second Google's ecosystem is doing very well without any Office and by every account it will be doing even better because Android is FAR ahead of Apple's Walled "No Flash!" Garden OS, they proved Android does not need MS Office at all.

    I think it's the classic case of an author airs his wishes - in this case an apparently Mac-loving author, living in the Jobsian bubble, REALLY-REALLY *WANTS* OFFICE on his iPad...

    ...but this is really not a good way of pushing things, I must say. :)

  31. Lars Silver badge

    Office in the cloud

    I could understand for any pad if there where means to get some money out of it.

    Office for Linux was something wanted, long ago, but I think that train has left due to Open Office and LibreOffice. As a free download, perhaps, but then again, think about all the children.

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Office in the cloud

      And I did forget Wine, so there is no need for a Office for Linux, indeed.

      1. Alain

        Re: Re: Office in the cloud

        Does Wine run the latest incarnation of Office flawlessly nowadays? Last time I've checked there still were serious glitches

        1. Lars Silver badge

          Re: Re: Re: Office in the cloud

          I would suppose CrossOver does it OK, then again "flawless" does not apply to Office either.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imminent Death of redmond-as-we-know-it Predicted

    If that's true, then it's one more reason why micros~1 should've been split up a long time ago. Not just for our sakes, for their sake too, long-term speaking. Now, it'll be amazon (of all companies) that stands a good chance of winning big by dint of having turned everything internally into an API, allowing them to integrate new things in a clean way. Why, they could take online office components and tie them up into a massive electronic commerce/office/whatnot system. They have the means to support it, to roll it out, to flatten everyone else. Provided "cloud" is going to win the day. And since the iPad was made exactly for "consuming websites" that way....

  33. Stephen Channell
    Thumb Down

    Death to Office or to Windows... sooo misses the point.

    The article misses the point of the very question raised in the title.. and doesn’t consider the implications the thesis.

    Those who’ve been around for long enough will know that MS Word started on Xenix (Unix) and Excel started on the Mac.. both have been ported several times to different UI.. We’ve all got used to the idea of “evil MS”, and forgotten that maybe Office never made it to {Sun NEWS, BeOS, Motif} because there was no demand. Maybe Office on Linux didn’t happen for political reasons.. or maybe the myriad desktop Linux still aren’t big enough to risk MS-support being drowned with granny’s support-calls that are really Linux problems.. maybe MS are just being honest about their reasons.

    Now the iPad is clearly a big dominant market that meets the scorecard for an office-port.. what needs to be done to the UI to make it “work” on the iPad (witness the big differences in iWork)? It is not as if you can’t get office 2010 on iPad already (Citrix/RDP, Office 365), but the UI just don’t work for a multi-touch Tablet. We know MS is working on table Office.. but which port should they do first Win8 or iPad?.. and just for good measure.. would Apple allow MS to stick Office in their AppStore (they do get to choose).

    What can we expect? Expect to see an iPad Office sometime after Win8 Tablet is solidly grounded, and then mainly to showcase Tablet differences (Office on a £400 iDell or £800 on an iPad).

  34. Antony Riley


    By the same logic, because I refuse to use windows because it's a broken operating system, and LIbre Office does everything I need, everyone will switch to Linux and Windows and Office are both going to die.

    Unfortunately not everyone chooses their operating system on the same criteria as me, nor Matt, and making that assumption, even in an opinion piece on the register is ridiculous.

  35. Tony Carter-Inman


    Don't know about porting Office to the Mac in 2001, but it was launched for the Mac in late 1989 and wasn't available for Windows until a year later.

    Office for the Mac has been available for the Mac continuously since then - although the later versions (2004 onwards) are not as feature complete as their Windows counterparts.

    I've been using Office on the Mac since 1990, and on the Mac & Windows since 1996 - along with Persuasion (Mac) & Lotus Freelance(Windows).

    1. Albert Hall

      Re: Journotard

      Agreed. Mr Assay is either willfully ignorant of recent history or is trying to rewrite it. Office '98 on the Mac was a straight out port of the DOS/Windows Office '97 and it bombed in the marketplace, being the utter crap you might expect.To MS's credit, they surveyed their vassals on the Mac platform, hired over 100 Mac programmers to show them how to code and released a pretty reasonable Mac-native product. They did it because they valued the business – a higher proportion of Mac users at the time used MS Office than did Windows users. When Mr Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 continued development of Office for Mac was one of the items involved in Steve and Bill's horse-trading along with making IE the default browser and MS coughing up for a few Apple shares to settle the case of their wholesale "adoption" of Quicktime code. Both benefited enormously.

      You could say being hired by Steve Jobs in the 1980's to write Word and Excel for the then new Mac platform was Bill G's second lucky break (after his mum got Gerstner at IBM to listen his DOS pitch) and the beginning of their symbiotic if fractious relationship. As for Office on the iPad. I couldn't care less. But then I don't have one. Yet.

  36. Dare to Think
    IT Angle

    No, Matt, porting does not matter

    Matt, MS can port their Office applications to any platform they like - this does not matter. What matters is that they still have a USP - a unique selling point to convince people to pay for their product. Microsoft successfully extended that USP by adding more features to their Office suite - one example being Visio, the other Office Web Apps. Libre Office seems to have achieved quite a maturity and feature richness that we can say that Office software has become a commodity - and it covers word processing, spreadsheet and math calculations, presentation, drawings, visio import, and database client frontend. Calligra Suite - if it is eventually released - has cutting edge Qt design and has even more applications than MS Office (Braindump and Plan). I therefore cannot see where MS Office' USP is now. And I haven't even started about Evolution, Thunderbird or Roundcube mail clients.

    You should actually know this from your time at Alfresco: What is now MS Sharepoint's USP in the face of Alfresco, or Twiki?

    You work at CIO level, would you go for a widely used, stable propriety solution with licensing costs and litigation if you have installed too many copies, or would you install a widely used, stable free solution with no licensing costs an no threat of litigation?

  37. Craigness


    If Microsoft releases Office for the ipad it will need to let users save to a network somewhere, else the employer will have to kit everyone out with a desk/laptop for syncing. That network will be Microsoft's cloud. And if you've got a contract for documents in the cloud, you may as well have other cloud stuff in the same cloud: single sign-on, each additional service at a "reduced" rate etc.

    Today I had to do some diffs on files in 2 folders, a bit of merging, dragged a few of the files into another app to run them as scripts, wrote a few notes, zipped it all up and then emailed it. I did this on Windows because that's what I've been given. If I'd been given an ipad I'd have brought my own laptop to the office and done it on that!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a stupid article.

    Two points that seemed to have been missed are:

    -It has already been disclosed in the press that MS are creating a tablet (touch) version of Office for WOA. Given that the iPad is also on the ARM chipset, and a touch device, it is probably not too hard to port the WOA version of Office to the iPad. And given that iPads sales are expected to hit the 100m mark pretty soon, that is an attractive revenue stream.

    -It has been disclosed in the press that the tablet version of Office on ARM will be a cut down version of Office on x86. The author is comparing apples with pears. Tablet = companion device.

    -Android tablets are currently a commercial failure, and the device base is fragmented. Commercial commonsense would put Android in the 'more trouble than it is worth' category. This could change over time, but right now, it appears to be the state of play.

    Finally, what I would expect MS to do is massively increase the total office user base by selling Office licenses to the iPad install base. Then try to position WOA as a 'better' tablet platform for enterprise due to better enterprise management capabilities (via Systems Center etc)

  39. Gil Grissum

    Windows dead? What are you smoking?

    I have an iPhone and a Macbook Pro, but with Quick Office on my iPhone and Libre Office on my Macbook Pro, I'm not dumping my Windows desktop at home and my employer isn't dumping Windows Desktops and replacing them with iPads. No medium to large size business is going to do that. That is the thing this author is missing. While the author may be willing to give up his Macbook Air and exclusively use his iPad with office, businesses aren't going to do that, and that is the reason why Windows with it's 84% market share, isn't going anywhere, any time soon. Not for businesses. Not for consumers. As much as I like the Apple technology I have, it's just not going to replace Windows computing. This is just like that "Network Computer" nonsense that was suppose to replace Windows. The iPad is not a computer replacement device. It's an add on. Everyone I know who has an iPad uses it as an add on device, not computer replacement. This may happen in emerging markets (other than China), but not in the USA and Europe.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Real people, doing real work...

    will be doing it on PCs. Whether they are Windows, Apple, Linux, or next-best-thing, and whether they are are desktop or laptop.

    Have to suggest... looking at the real world before writing articles like this.

  41. ajcarr

    Office existed on the Mac long before 2001

    Where on Earth did the author get his magic date of 2001 for the appearance of MS Office on the Mac? Excel was a Mac product *first* (about 1985-86, if memory serves) and was then ported to the rudimentary pre-3.0 Windows. The WYSIWYG GUI version of Word appeared on the Mac *first*. However, the codebases of the products diverged until Word 6, when the Windows code was backported to the Mac, and suddenly the user experience (on the Mac) went all to pot; that would have been in the mid-late 1990s. Still, it *did* mean that Office on the two platforms was now bug-for-bug compatible. As any Mac user of a certain age will tell you, Word reached its zenith with version 5.1a, and it's been downhill ever since.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So "porting Office to Mac OS X back in 2001 sowed the seeds of Apple's relevance as a credible desktop alternative to Windows" but not all the previous mac versions of office apps going back to 1984?

  43. thesykes

    utter crap

    Has the author ever worked in an office? Does he really expect people who have to use an office productivity suite every day to do on a 10" screen? The one thing most users always want is a bigger screen, not smaller. Add to that small things like no numeric keyboard or function keys on the official Appe bluetooth keyboard, no iPad mouse... Does he expect users to have the iPad raised up to an ergonomically suitable position and still use the touchscreen? Take your choice folks, hunched shoulders with it on your desk or screaming shoulders as you navigate around your spreadhseet at eye level.

    Last thing... price.

    Cheapest iPad + keyboard + dock = £481.00 (as per Apple online store)

    Laptop capable of running Office = £300 from Dell (no reason for Dell, just a quick look for a price)

    So, £181 for a smaller screen, poor ergonomics and no support for any other business apps. The author did remember that people use a whole array of applications that will never run on an iPad?

    Tablets must have a purpose, but, creating word documents and excel spreadsheets aren't something I would want to do on one. The fact that the vast majority of business-critical software (databases, HR, accounting, sales, CRM) will never work on any type of tablet means that they are just not suited to the type of work us minions have to do... they remain, at present, the preserve of managers who like to pose.

  44. fzz


    Author either was too stupid to find Office for Mac in 2000 or is too stupid to check Wikipedia. Take your pick. The original versions of Word and Excel were on Macs, and there have been Mac versions of both continually since 1985, and Mac versions of the whole Office suite since 1989.

    So given the complete BS of the premise, what are we to make of the ensuing argument?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      too stupid to check Wikipedia

      WTF?! By definition anyone choosing Wikipedia as a reference source is already too stupid.

      1. fzz

        Re: too stupid to check Wikipedia

        As an ending point, agreed. However, as a starting point, it would mention Mac versions from the 1980s and 1990s. At that point easy to find other, corroborating sources. And in this particular case, possibly only by happenstance and dumb luck, the Wikipedia article actually get the facts right.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Written by a manager type

    The iPad does lots of shiny cool things. It works well for meetings where there is relatively minimal input needed. It works well for using the WWW, watching movies, things that don't take much keyboard input or heavy processing. In other words, manager things and leisure things, but not many of the heavy duty work things workers need to do (maybe the author thinks there won't be any more work in the first world anymore).

    Sure, I can use a smartphone for email, but I DON"T LIKE TO. Small screen, poor key entry, PITA accessing attachments even in the cloud (this is work, not zero security iCloud/googlecloud/amazoncloud claptrap after all). iPad visibility is better, but entry of data is still poor and last I looked the iPad did not support multimonitor....

  46. Mikel

    Put down the pitchforks and torches

    There will be no full Office on iOS or Android, so there's nothing to discuss here.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    The author overlooks stuff...

    "The one platform Microsoft is not rumoured to be supporting anytime soon is Google's Android, just as Office-on-Linux remains a chimera."

    Do you know the one Office (2010) program I actually use on a daily basis, on both my main PC as well as my XP laptop (which runs Office 2003) ? OneNote. OneNote can be invaluable for storing any kind of information, from passwords to foto's to text snippets and even spoken word. And once you have a few pictures in it you can even make OneNote search for text on those as well. And while its online counterpart (webapp) can't do all of this, it does get you a good way into accessing your notes and information online.

    Guess what? Mobile OneNote has also been released for Android a few weeks ago:

    So what's this about not supporting Android any time soon ?

    You're also overlooking the obvious issues here.. Sure, mobile Office on iPads could mean that some people maybe tempted to switch. But with mobile Windows 8 coming around its also not too unlikely that many people may switch to that platform as well.

    You seem to think that switching only goes one way; away from Microsoft. Bzzzt. There are also plenty of people who discover some of the advantages which MS Office holds. The world isn't that black / white you know.

  48. spegru

    Some of you are taking it too literally

    I think you will find that Matt Assay was making a point. Ok so some of the detail may be exaggerated but the basic point is that tablets esp ipad are the trend, and msft ignore it at their peril. But they are in a cleft stick because msft business model assumes a windows monoculture, that they wouldnt want to undermine.

    However if that monoculture is going away anyway, will msft have the balls to embrace it? Not while Ballmer is there methinks.

    By the way, trends dont care about the installed base that some of you seem to care about so much. New sales are the thing - and that's also what the share price depends on.

    (typed on android tablet)

  49. Lazlo1313

    ipads are good for watching movies and playing games

    and that's it. when i see someone using one... i know that person is not productive.

  50. Grikath

    just one problem with this image..

    It's all good and well to predict the Death of the World As We Know it, but ultimately the author gazes in his crystal ball, ignoring the fact that the fondleslab (of any variety) as a work-related productivity tool is something only interesting ( if allowed at all) to a very minor slice of the total workforce.

    Even allowing for possible future developments, the scenario described by the author seems highly unlikely. Between conservatism and replacement policies alone the sheer lag on the shift the author gushes about would take a decade or more to accomplish, even if he was right on the mark.

    Oh, and obvious Fanboi is obvious.

  51. A Butler

    MS mad to support office in the ipad.

    What a load of rubbish historically Microsoft has always played catch up; netscape, lotus 123, wordperfect, Novell, O2/2 I could go on however its always ended out on top.

    Its like a big battle ship that takes time to maneuver in to place and fire back at new competing fronts, the guns are now trained on mobile and tablets and the game changer is Windows 8, Apple and everyone else knows it.

    Windows 8 will run across PC, mobile and tablet and the rumour is that office (or a version of it) will be free on the tablet format to complement the mobile version.

    So come this autumn we will have a flood of tablets from all the OEM’s running the excellent windows 8 ARM version with office fully integrated. Competing against the overpriced over hyped Ipad, and remember in this new world there is little loyalty so it the price and spec is right its Apple is the company that should be afraid.

    In conclusion Microsoft would be daft to port office to the iPad. In “the noughties” Microsoft’s support of the Mac with office saved the ailing company no mention of that fact, they should not make the same mistake again.

    Time Apple with their patent hungry lawyers got a good kick in the *******. Its coming.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: MS mad to support office in the ipad.

      > its always ended out on top.

      Microsoft has 'always ended out on top', but not because of product quality. It was because of OEM contracts. Things like 'per box pricing' where the OEM paid Microsoft even if they put DR-DOS on a computer, or 'discounts' where these only applied if every machine of a particular model made by an OEM shipped with Windows.

      And then there are the retailers who sell what makes them the most money. A Linux machine does not need all the add-ons nor will the customer need to buy a replacement anytime soon. Windows needs addons such as AV software, Office, etc and a couple of years later needs to be replaced by something faster. All more revenue and profit.

      > office (or a version of it) will be free on the tablet format

      It will be 'free' like Windows is 'free'. There will be a price to pay which will be part of the price of the tablet. This will make tablets more expensive than equivalent Android or Linux tablets, and probably more than an iPad. But MS probably won't care if WOA (Windows on ARM) doesn't sell, its purpose is to stop OEMs making Linux/Android tablets because doing so will lose the 'OEM discount' on _all_ computers.

      > overpriced over hyped Ipad,

      I'm not sure why you think that iPad is 'overpriced'. It is competing against Samsung and Sony tablets with equivalent hardware. With Windows8 on x86 a tablet will have an additional burden of paying for an Intel processor, more RAM and SD disk, and the licence fees for W8 and Office. WOA will not have the extra hardware costs but still will pay MS. The only way that W8 or WOA tablets will be cheaper than iPad or equivalent Androids is if MS subsidises them or the OEMs make a loss.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: MS mad to support office in the ipad.

        Nice writeup in general, and you can be forgiven for omitting (for brevity) the ecosystem of certified Microsoft dependent resellers, "systems engineers", etc, who are obliged to remain faithful to the cause or risk losing their certifications.

        "WOA .. its purpose is to stop OEMs making Linux/Android tablets because doing so will lose the 'OEM discount' on _all_ computers."

        You know that, I know that, everybody else knows that, so when will the anti-trust actions start?

        "The only way that W8 or WOA tablets will be cheaper than iPad or equivalent Androids is if MS subsidises them"

        Probably true, after all the subsidy works for contract phones and for games consoles - take a loss on the phone/console/tablet, make it up on the contract/games/apps. This makes it even more important that the tablets cannot be used for anything other than Windows. We'll have to see what actually happens on the day.

  52. FreeTard


    There's no way anyone will do any real work on an ipad. A quick email maybe, but nothing more.

    I will never replace my laptop with an ipad. They are nothing more than a gimmick.

    My desktop no longer gets powered on mind, but only because my lappy docks into a proper 24inch screen - if I'm doing some coding or other real work.

    The lappy has a proper sized screen - 12inch as that makes it actually portable...

    Why on earth would I need an ipad when a proper sized lappy does the same job, only better?

    p.s.: I don't consider office mission critical since the advent of openoffice/libreoffice and variants.

  53. Peter 48


    This is like saying that the invention of the home microwave would kill off the oven and hob. Tablets are great for content consumption but will never be able to compete for a larger laptop or desktop for content creation. Jst like with my kitchen analogy they both will have their place and will happily live together for many years to come. Windows and its offspring will be around a lot longer than this chap's career if he keeps making these sort of predictions.

    1. StooMonster

      Re: nonsense

      You know that a lot of modern apartments / flats have only a microwave for heating stuff up, no oven and hob, there's no call for kitchens these days -- as dining rooms before them -- with particular demographics (young, urban, professionals) who eat out or buy ready meals.

      My kids love an American tv show called 'The Middle' where the protagonist family use their cooker for bedding storage, as they eat take-away and warm popcorn in the microwave. I imagine there's plenty of households in the UK where cooker and hob are never turned on.

      Similarly I already know people who've gone from desktop to laptop to netbook to iPad tablet exclusivity, not for me as I have proper work to do on workstation / desktop but I can see quite a lot of people going that way too.

  54. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Surely most iPad owners who need an office suite have now downloaded one of the cheap or even free alternative apps from the app store, i doubt they are going to pay the £100 or so MS will probably want for office and i don't see MS reducing the price down to under £20 to be competitive.

  55. spot

    Sheer fantasy

    What tosh - "Office is a kingmaker in the enterprise, and the iPad is already king there. If Microsoft wants to make money from Office, it has no choice but to support the iPad"? Seriously? "iPad is already king there"? What utter cobblers, what planet did this chap just land from?

  56. qwarty


    Who is this guy Matt Asay? And what universe was he living in when "Back in 2000, I was tempted by the Mac, but couldn't justify buying a machine that locked me out of the indispensable tool for business: Office."

    Powerpoint originated on the Mac in the mid 80s only later coming to Windows. The first version of Excel was release by Microsoft in 1985 for the Mac, with the Windows version following a couple of years later. Likewise the GUI version of Microsoft Word was released for Mac years before Windows. The application bundle named "Microsoft Office" was released for Mac a year before the Windows release in 1990. The article link to the Microsoft announcement about Office being ported to the upcoming OS X release of Mac OS in 2001 was an expected statement about what was already the most successful software franchise on the Mac with a track record going back 15 years.

    From an author boasting credentials that suggest at least a little knowledge of the PC business, it is almost unbelievable to read an article displaying such ignorance of the subject matter.

    The new Microsoft strategy seems to be holding back the release (and money making opportunity) of Office for iOS until Windows 8 brings iPad competition. Whether this proves as successful as the earlier Mac first approach remeains to be seen.

    The logic leading to the statement Windows is dead is almost as risible as the historically false premise. Interesting topic though would be interesting to read the opinion of someone from OSI Open Source Initiative who has some clue about what has happened in the past and where we are now.

  57. marc 9

    Great article.. but wrong

    I did enjoy this article and it raised some interesting questions, but surely if the author's hypothesis is correct then we'd already have seen Macs taking over the enterprise since Office was released for it in 2001 (not forgetting there was Office 98 for classic MacOS and of course the very first version of Office was for Mac).

    What's the betting only the 4 core Office products will be available for the iPad (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) - to get Outlook (that's the crucial business app) and the other myriad of products you'll need a Windows 8 PC. Yes the iPad can access exchange, but can it do all the labels, meeting requests (with room allocation), tasks, out of office replies etc that Outlook does?

  58. Jurd
    Thumb Down


    This article is written by someone who made his living from a non/anti Microsoft technologies. Now one would know why has he forecasted death of windows. Maybe he isn't aware of Windows 8 or he is being Ostrich to its threat

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows is dying a slow death

    Everyone I know either has a mac or is wanting a mac, or is dreaming of having one.

    Game over for Microsoft.

    (There is a reason, it makes windows look like a bag of spanners)

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Everyone I know ...

      You really need to get out more.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Horrid "article"

    Even as an opinion piece this is bad and historically inaccurate. Jobs deal in 1997 ensured that Office would be supported for what would eventually be the transition to Mac OS X. Previous versions continued to work in Classic - in fact better than running natively in OS 9 (from personal experience since Word tried to eat my PhD thesis - got through most of Chapter one until I dual-booted my OSX beta partition and saved in in Classic). So to present history of the port to OSX as if it were the first time Office came to Mac is stupid. There was a brief delay in getting a Carbon version but a lot less of a delay before the Cocoa version. For the most part end users were oblivious to this. Having Office continue on the Mac certainly maintained the platform's credibility but the iPod and iMac largely saved the company. Microsoft benefitted from the sales of these versions on Mac hardware - hell they originally built Office on the Mac and will they will benefit from an iPad version. The rest of the article is blah blah speculation. Windows is not going away - it's hard to know if W8 will be a game changer - but I'm sure the profit they will make off the iPad version will help the R&D for W9...

  61. Havoc

    "real work"

    Maybe Office is real work for certain people, but wake me when I can use Mentor graphics, Solidworks, ProE, Catia, Cosmos etc on a tablet. At the same time as writing a report containing stuff from all these "aps". And interface some obscure gear through a real serial post and an ancient dos interface.

  62. Watashi

    Office for iPad or productivity lite


    This is the way I see it, If you REALLY need office, then you need a big screen (preferably two), a full sized keyboard and a mouse. If you're an office worker you also need to run databases, email, web etc at the same time in an easier to use way than the iPad can provide. If the world was all iPads, the Windows PC would have to be invented.

    If you don't need full Office, then why not just use Office 365? That'll work on any device you use. My suspicion is this: there are quite a lot of execs, journalists, students and so forth who like to look like they need full office, but actually don't. These people will parade around with their Office loaded iPads for effect, whilst the rest of us use Office on proper computers to do real jobs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Office 365"

      Before eating the MS and Google Propaganda (which is very sweet indeed), try it out for yourself. Very low functionality (not even text headings) and most importantly, Javascript Does Not Scale. Just try to process a 50 page document in their JS text processors and FF. I guess it is doing GC 99% of time.

  63. PhilBack

    Matt is on crack on this one

    Office on the iPad. All right, now what?

    Microsoft does a ton of business in the enterprise. I can look all I want but at a lot of places, CxOs may have their iPads but these aren't on the corporate network. 3G links but no direct.

    Apple is not interested in the enterprise space, it is now a customer company.

    And stop forcing us to jailbreak to get decent features (like basic file upload in Safari, filesystem access, USB port that works without bugging me with "Too much power", and other stuff).

    I own an iPad, quite a bunch of apps, develop on the device. It is still in infancy and not ready to take on the ton of things MS Win does. Do CAD/CAM work on an iPad, we'll talk later.

    And the tablet is a slow beast. Vector editing with several layers just sucks when things gets tough.

  64. This post has been deleted by its author

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    people who use office for a living

    Are usually required to spend all day sitting at an old shitty computer terminal with syphilis and gonorrhea in the keyboard and would definitely not be allowed to move around or use an ipad.

    That might give them the idea that they have "rights".

  66. bruceld

    This is incredible news!

    So now ipadtards will rejoice resulting in peace in the middle east, they will help find the cure for cancer and HIV, they will be the first to make contact with aliens from another dimension (naturally the aliens will be amazed at the magical Apple devices) and they will find the answer to stopping aging/death dead in its tracks forever.

    Magical my a$$pu$$y. I can't believe anyone really cares if Office will be ported to the iPad, and I don't care if some people only use Linux and Mac. In the grand scheme of the universe, such petty things actually mean absolutely nothing.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's funny. A few weeks ago I'd have agreed with many comments here.

    Then, on El Reg, I read about Xooms going for £250. I had a play - and I had a punt. As it turned out ICS came out a few days earlier so that went on. So I have a fairly modern tablet - 32Gb, wifi with GPS, for a very good price.

    And it's brilliant.

    I accept it is never going to be as good as an iPad but I paid less than half the price of the equivalent fruity product.

    And with a £30 keyboard it is nearly as functional as my laptop. In fact I reckon it has taken over two thirds of my laptop needs. Days go by without needing the HP. (Thankfully, as they made a lousy laptop.)

    Until you use a tablet you don't quite get their purpose. But boy when they do enough, they do it well. And I'm doing enough of work using Google docs in the cloud. So I don't really need Office, but would probably get it if offered the chance. Doc compatibility is good enough but total compatibility would be better.

    One thing I don't get however. Surely MS could/should keep it as a Win8 tablet exclusive? It'd be their killer app. Or killer app suite, more accurately.

    Finally as an aside, where do I stick this comment? (Obvious gags aside.) If I put it following the suitable replies from Friday nobody will ever read it. If you've read all 3 pages so far you ain't gonna trawl for new ones. Put at the end it's out of context somewhat. Reg, sort your do comments system out (again) please!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Long comment threads - how does a "late" one get read.

      You are signed in, right? If so when reading, you have the choice to read by "newest", "thread" or "oldest".

      Anecdotally - we haven't checked- many commentards do choose the "newest" view.

      What else did you you have in mind?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Long comment threads - how does a "late" one get read.

        Ha ha, pretty much what you suggest. I just didn't ever know it was there!

  68. JeffinLondon

    Windows is not dead (yet)

    A bit too much absolutism and arm waving for me, but agree with the trends. Office on iOS just eliminates another reason for sticking with Windows.

    But answer me this: One needs a keyboard to do any real work. That's a given. So what exactly is the difference between an Ultrabook / Mac Air and an iPad + keyboard? Yes, a few hundred quid, but the full laptop is so much more functional it's not a debate really.

    My iPad sits and gathers dust, with my Air is busy all day.

  69. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe Mr Asay has a Point

    Apart from his wrong facts about Office history, I agree that the PC is technically more a kind of mainframe, than a client computer. If you look under the hoods it is extremely complex; often much more than the average Unix. I am "using" the windows file permission system for 15 years now, but I still don't really understand it. Also, I think 99% of Microsoft engineers don't understand it either. At least not the GUI types.

    Then the registry, DCOM, Active Directory, CIFS, performance counters and many more of the like.

    Replacing that by Android could really simplify that situation considerably. But as others said, external keyboard&mouse and big, stationary screens are needed for that.

    And that only makes sense if the result is not the heavy hunk of metal, plastics, batteries and electronics we already have - the Laptop.

  70. Jonjonz

    Crapple Fan boi Warning

    I am Crapple FanBoi, hear me roar...

  71. JohnG

    Been there , done that

    WindowsCE and its variants had apps to edit Word and Excel documents years ago - even on my ten year old SIMpad with its 8.4" screen - but nobody used them. It's all too cumbersome when the screen is too small and you haven't got a proper keyboard.

    About Android: there are already Android apps for both viewing and editing Office documents but IMO they aren't practical for more than taking a few notes or "emergency use".

  72. multipharious

    Enterprise iPad adoption

    Is driven by the CEO coming back from his birthday party, going to IT and saying, "make this work." This may be anecdotal, but any of you can think of who is using iPads in the company or companies you work with. I watched a Cisco keynote that used this as an example at RSA EMEA, and Cisco was not the only vendor to mention it. In some of the sessions the term also came up. The problems of securing the devices has literally been driven by this phenomenon. Once secure, then adoption can proceed.

    As for Office? The iPad is the dominant tablet platform. It is a luxury device for managers in most companies and the occasional employee that buys one themselves and somehow convinces their Admin to let them use it, but why shouldn't Microsoft provide Office? Resisting only weakens ubiquity, which strengthens competition. If the CEO wants his iPad, and IT says Office won't work...I suppose you can follow this chain of thought.

  73. Narg

    Linux was, is and remains a toy.

    ...for desktop use. Linux is best suited for small task computing. And works fantastic in that role. Those who don't need or want much out of a computer will use it, same goes for Mac users.

    All of this "my iPad does all this..." posts don't seem to get that a well built sub $500 laptop will do all those things too, and so much more with 10 times the power. Consider this though...

    Windows 8 is due out this year. By the 12 month mark most laptops will also have touch screen abilities, and be priced starting under the price of an iPad. So, then you'll have the ease and portability, touch screen, full Windows experience and battery life. iPad will die...

    1. Dare to Think

      Re: Linux was, is and remains a toy

      "Linux is best suited for small task computing"

      Goodness, no: think of all the Oracle, SAP instances running on RHEL, think of HPC computing, the biggest supercomputers on this planet run Linux, Google runs their business on Linux...the list is endless.

      But I agree with the latter part of your comment: when you write a simple letter, nothing beats a well sized keyboard - which is why I think - and similar to the netbook craze some years ago - tab computers will morph into ultra-light laptops (again).

      1. Charles 9

        Re: Re: Linux was, is and remains a toy

        Thing is, Linux is on the HIGH end (HPC and the like) and on the LOW end (glorified web browsers and the like).

        The problem exists in the MIDDLE (workstations that do actual work because they run database work, coding, or business graphics; home computers that do serious stuff like games and video editing and processing). And that's where Linux is falling flat. They need to be able to draw BOTH the power use (the workstation types) AND the skilled amateur (the gamer/video editor) without stepping on the other's toes. Power users need to be able to do all sorts of things so need breadth of function, while amateurs would like to just do what they want to do: ease of use. Thing is, the Linux community (because of its user base) leans too strongly in favor of the power user. There doesn't seem to be much effort into making it easier for the average user to run Linux instead of Windows. Now, are there other obstacles involved (like a constantly moving target--can you make a DirectX 11 game run on OpenGL, for example)? Sure, but they're likely secondary to the main issue.

    2. Chemist

      Re: Linux was, is and remains a toy.

      "Linux is best suited for small task computing. "

      Nonsense - you have NO idea !

    3. fzz

      Re: Linux was, is and remains a toy.

      So you've never run statistical analyses using R. Or edited journal articles using Lyx. Or checked circuit board designs using SPICE and variants. Or noticed that CERN, arguably the highest tech facility on the planet, uses a massive Linux grid for handling much of its data.

      But I'll accept that Windows is the premier platform for cobbling together PowerPoint slides.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: the highest tech facility on the planet

        You can argue that, but I suspect that there are three-letter organisations that have rather more. One of them not only uses Linux but is actually responsible for writing some of it. But that merely adds weight to your argument, so I'll stop nit-picking, lest the OP get the wrong idea.

    4. Chemist

      Re: Linux was, is and remains a toy.

      "Those who don't need or want much out of a computer will use it"

      That's why I say nonsense - protein modeling requires large compute power and long run times. I'd run a twin xeon workstation flat out over the weekend and then put another run on for the next 3 days whilst still being able to analyse ( 3D graphics, liquid crystal shutter specs.) the previous run. The kit was running at ~100% cpu day after day. That's demanding - the software wasn't even written for Windows - not stable enough - no point running for two days if it crashes after 12 hours running.

      At home I regularly run 2-3 hour sessions rendering video edits for 1080/50p HD video

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone is still missing that it's a multiple device world

    Most people will have multiple devices. iPad fills a niche for board members who are reading board reports, receiving email and filling in their expenses in their evenings late into the night. It's not their normal 'work' PC, but it's the one on their lap while they watch late night football or are sat in the first class lounge waiting for their plane. They need something that can annotate Word and manipulate Excel (eg change numbers here and there) but that don't take an age to boot up, and don't leave burn marks on their laps.

    Microsoft is playing the multi-device game. These are important people and they want access to their data on whichever device they happen to have. And board members aren't often creating documents themselves - that's completely irrelevant. Just a few comments here and there.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    i wonder if office for ipad will be as craptastic as all those image drawing and editing programs for ipad are compared to photoshop.

  76. T J


    Windows has been dead for a long time. Only businesses upgrade and only businesses with a critical need to upgrade. Many home users and businesses are running wXP (if they run the w at all), and very few home users have ever paid for the thing. Its not even particularly useful anymore. Once upon a time w was a handy, if buggy, app loader and that was pretty much it. Nowadays it doesnt really offer anything. GUIs are a dime a dozen and many apps are back to carrying their own around with them.

    M$ should never have blundered into the OS market, they knew, and know, nothing about the science. At all. Thats why they are getting ditched everywhere, by the way. Desktop OS's aint living in the 80s no more and w never was a serious server contender.

    And in case you are one of these idiots who laugh at Gamers running games under Linux or OSX - games under both platforms load far, far faster than under w7, can run windowed or fullscreen, and the system doesnt need a reboot after the session.

    So what about Office? Yes - when m$ were purely an apps company they did actually do some good work.

    Word 5 for DOS was possibly the best graphics-mode word processor around, especially since Word Perfect refused to simplify their ridiculously overcomplicated interface and so died.

    When WinDOS came along, they worked it up to Word 2.0. It had inconsistencies and crashed a lot, but it was quite a nice little WP to use once you got past the quirks. Heck, it was even reasonably fast, and its a long time since anything by m$ hasn't had the speed of a smacked out geriatric snail.

    But then the process of steady abortionization began, with Word 6, and so on it has gone. The Office suite is now a giant mess of crap with a legacy user base, and they can't even treat the legacy users right.

    So -yes, Windows is gone.

    Office MAY survive, but they need to improve it (the Ribbon was a bad idea guys, not a good idea).

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Zombie

      "Windows has been dead for a long time. Only businesses upgrade and only businesses with a critical need to upgrade. Many home users and businesses are running wXP (if they run the w at all), and very few home users have ever paid for the thing. Its not even particularly useful anymore. Once upon a time w was a handy, if buggy, app loader and that was pretty much it. Nowadays it doesnt really offer anything. GUIs are a dime a dozen and many apps are back to carrying their own around with them."

      If Windows is so dead, why is it STILL the predominant platform for games? And no, not even consoles come close to the output the PC gaming industry has produced. Even if you go JUST from the time the XBox 360 first came out in November of '05, the number of PC games (including QUALITY games) easily trumps the output of any console on the market today. And while plenty of developers jump to consoles, many also jump BACK (Alan Wake is a very recent example--originally only for the 360). Even INDIE gamers gravitate toward Windows despite there already existing a competing platform, supposedly with comparable capabilities and a lower price tag on both ends (development and actual gameplay). I wonder why that's so...

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There is no justifiable business reason that people need Windows, but that has been true long before iPad came along. When pressed, the "need" for Office is really all people can come up with as a reason, which is a bogus reason (use Lotus Symphony, OpenOffice, Libre, or any other no cost, ODF productivity apps).

    Watching Windows go away will be like watching a glacier melt. It is going to take a long, long time just because of the staffing built around Windows, MSCE army, and it is baked into most operational budgets. In most instances, IT is going to need to be kicked by finance before they do anything. The MSCEs will fight tooth and nail to keep paying for freeware.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Slowly....

      Not so bogus when you realize most of the documents that scare the business types are SCRIPT-LADEN...and scripts are the one thing the free alternatives CAN'T convert easily because VBA has so many Windows nuances and the alternatives are so different that things get lost in translation. Furthermore, these documents frequently have to go back to the Office world, so the general rule is "don't touch". Kind of hard to do when you need to RUN the macros on a machine with no Office license.

      Here's an example. You want to use a free office program, but a government agency you regularly contact uses as its document template a script-laden Office document. As this is for legal compliance, you HAVE to use it AND its internal functions. So you have a decision to make. Do you plunk down for a proper hand conversion (as the scripts within are complicated) or plunk down for Excel and everything that may be attached?

  78. Andy 70

    we ran a test project to see if iTablets were a possible future direction.

    turns out they are insecure. game over for this round. but hey'll be back in some other incarnation i'm sure.

    as for the death of windows? hmmm. maybe not. but without the office+windows combo in effect i suspect we'll see a weakening of the old guard.

    anyway. Interesting times, as always.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work with Windows...

    and recently started using my new Windows 7 PC to host virtual machines including an ubuntu vm which i use for web development.

    I have setup Apache, MySQL, PHP on Windows many times, but this was the first time I had ever installed ubuntu, and it took less than an hour to do all of that, setup file sharing with Windows, and clone a live site to it.

    There are annoyances, such as Ubuntu continually asking me for my credentials every time I want to do anything potentially dangerous (I have it disabled in Windows...) and it failing to install updates for apache because they are "not trusted", but if there is one killer application missing I'd have to say:


    - I'm sure there's alternatives, but really it's the only part of Office I actually use. ......

  80. Ramazan

    they can have it both ways though

    Microsoft could just put such a price on Office for iPad that's greater or equals to sum of pices for Windows and native Office. Case solved.

  81. Anonymous Coward


    In a word, my disagreement with this article can be summed up as 'Bullshit'

    Whilst I'll agree that Office will likely make an appearance on iPad, windows is going to be around for a long time to come.

    The market share may shrink a little, but to say it will be 'dead' or that microsoft has to choose between it and office is ... well, bullshit.

    There's an assumption made here that middle management all over the globe is going to suddenly ditch their laptops with office in favour of an iPad with office - erm, reality check here, not going to happen!

    Actually, why am I bothering with 180 comments + in this thread already...

  82. Evoflash

    Games on Apple? pfft


    The desktop Windows platform is the most cost-effective high-end gaming solution.

    I can't ever see why I would pay double the price for half the performance and a tenth (guess? much less I bet) of the available games library.

    They sure look nice, but the ipad and the macintoshes will not be entering my house anytime soon!

  83. El Andy

    What a lot of nonsense.

    Not only did Office exist on the Mac a long time prior to 2001, but even if Microsoft brings a modern Office to iPad it would be physically impossible for Apple to supply enough computers to accomodate the entire global demand. Apple's business model doesn't scale to that level and neither do they particularly need it to. And they aren't going to go back to licensing the design to other hardware manufacturers after their last, failed, attempt at doing so.

    And that's before you even begin to consider the billions of lines of Win32 code in production today.

  84. fourThirty

    What a blinkered view of the IT world, its not just suits and salesmen who consume software licensing. We manufacture robots for lab automation and connectivity is key... how the hell are you going to drive motion controller interfaces from an interface crippled iPad?

    Thumb Down

    The author fails to see the big picture

    "the utility of carrying around a laptop... is gone. Forever."

    That is just one opinion, and the way it looks to me cannot translate successfully into a general observation. There are just too many reasons for different people why a laptop or a desktop is still, and will always be, significantly superior.

  86. Sirius Lee

    Fails to understand the essential flaw in the argument

    Matt's background and preferences seem to make him blind to some of the forces at work around Microsoft products. When create a product for the Microsoft environment I want to make the money. In the Microsoft environment, I can do this. In the Apple environment I have to hand over an enormous chunk of that. Development for Linux is another story because though I don't have any cost, I either have very few prospects (Linux clients) or a huge number of incumbent competitors (for server tools).

    Microsoft will continue to do very because they offer an environment where others can make lots of money. Sure, Microsoft stand to make from Windows, Office, SQL Server, etc. but so do I. And in many different areas. I can create retail products. I can offer consulting around Office tools. I can offer support services for Windows (clients want support for their purchases - ask RedHat). I can even sell licenses.

    That is, Microsoft provides many, many routes for others to fill their boots in ways that is not so on other platforms. What's the average cost of an app in the AppStore? How many AppStore licences are sold with support? Few if any are able to make money with other platforms.

    It is this aspect of the business model that will keep Microsoft alive forever so long as they bring out new product lines which support the model. Move away from the model in order to make a quick buck and Microsoft experiences problems. What's the upside for me to support any Windows Phone? Why should I care about Hotmail, Bing, Office 365, Zune - all products cut me out of the money making loop. I do care about Windows 8, Hyper-V, Unified Communications, Office 15 because I can be part of the story.

    So Microsoft may well support iPad but if they do, the upside is that many other in the Microsoft eco-system will make money. Even Apple.

  87. the-it-slayer

    How many people where want their foreheads slapped a great big fish?

    All this is is a point of view of a possible outcome. The more Apple ship out their products, the more the penetration goes up, the biggest chances of very long ties with Microsoft to disappear and the cheaper Apple's productions become (or how far they go to make start-up products - such as the Mini iMac). Apple may come to a point that they can't sustain the demand (now Jobs has gone) and licensing their OS under very strict conditions with certain OEMs may be possible.

    There's no fact in this article. Just a statement that M$ are floating around the PC/Tablet inter-space with no direction at present.

  88. Atonnis


    The only thing that is going to end up with tablets resulting as the replacement to the desktop PC is when:

    1. There is a revolution in chip design that makes CPUs and GPUs in tablets as powerful for the same price.

    2. Docking stations allow you to slot your tablet into position, then allow multiple screens, keyboard, mouse, etc AND connect in extra processing power and memory.

    3. Any operating system can be installed on the tablet. Despite how many of us like to just have something that works, manufacturers, developers, etc all like the fact that they can work a different OS onto a PC in one way or another. Manufacturers will fight tooth and nail to not let a centrally-controlled piece of hardware take over the market. Imagine the iPad being dockable in the way I've freedom of software, no adjustments to hardware, no competition.

  89. Tim Almond

    A moment of sanity

    For the love of Dawkins can commentators please stop talking about "the death of Windows"? I know you love your fruit flavoured computers, but it's just a ridiculous level of wishful thinking that Windows is going to get replaced in the near future.

    I've been in a number of businesses in the past 2 years and the Macs are there for the following reasons:-

    1) Designers are used to them, so someone doing graphic design or web layouts has one

    2) You need to test websites out on the Mac before releasing to live

    So, in say, a 1000 employee business, you might find 5 or 6 Macs. And no-one is changing this. Yes, directors want their fondleslab to play with, but the call centre is kitted out with a load of Dells because that's a) cheaper b) easy to manage using AD c) can be released with a standard build.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does the author not figure that his blindingly obvious conclusion of Office on iPad cannibalising sales of Windows might also be blindingly obvious to the people who created Windows and Office in the first place?

  91. spegru

    What are PCs used for?

    Some comentards think that Protein modelling, heavy duty CAD, or Video editing are commonplace tasks. I'd suggest that is very far from the truth indeed.

    Most users are using them for email, browsing, word processing, spreadsheets and yes, powerpoint. Oh and of course some jurrassic proprietary internal corporate systems that no-one else uses.

    If MSFT put office on the pad, combined with all the cloud trends that are happening at the same time, I can quite imagine the Laptop disappearing as a species, particularly when tablets are used with an external keyboard.

    On the other hand those heavy duty applications are quite likely to be the domain of workstations/desktop machines. Do you really do protein modelling on the train? I seriously doubt it!

    A much smaller market that will continue for ages I am sure - and so you do have to consider what that means to MSFT's share price

    1. Chemist

      Re: What are PCs used for?

      "Do you really do protein modeling on the train"

      Well I used to drive to work - but let's suppose I did have a train journey.

      With a laptop and internet connection I could do all the preliminary work, search databases, match protein sequences and set-up initial conditions. I could transfer the data to a compute server or a Linux farm and start the the simulation.

      The main reason for a desktop workstation would then be be to analyse the output ( in 3D using liquid xtal shutter specs). This being a few years ago that would rule out a laptop - maybe even now.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Apologies if this has already been mentioned, I haven't read through all the comments just yet...

    I don't own any Apple products, one of the main reasons being the infamous 'tied into iTunes' thing, for everything from app purchases to initial activation - ah yes, activation: Tell me, if I'm supposed to replace all my PC's with iPads, how the hell am I supposed to activate the thing in the first place?

  93. Fenton

    Early days yet

    Now I do need a desktop for what I do at home.

    Recording with Pro-Tools, image editing with Photoshop. Fondleslabs do not have the power yet.

    Now the rest of the Home PC is pretty redundent, i.e. Optical drives/Hard disks (thats what a NAS is for).

    Now consider the processing power and memory availability likely to be available on a tablet is 10 years time?

    Why not have a portable processing unit with a screen for when I'm up and about, which I can then plug into a large screen and keyboard.

    All files are "in the cloud" somewhere.

    Now the OS on the mobile device doesn't really matter that much as long as the apps are available and if not, well there will be some cloud alternative where the processing power is not local or I use some sort of VDI solution on the fondleslab.

    The race is going to be for the standard in portable space that is able to adapt to a bigger non touch screen environment when sitting in the office, using a mouse and a keyboard.

    Now lets think who's going to release such a beast,. Ah yes Microsoft and Apple are slowly combining iOS and OS X for just such a device.

  94. Fenton

    Don't even need a screen

    With projectors the next big think on mobiles, you won't even need a monitor, just a blank screen to project your screen onto

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