If Microsoft ever had a "killer app," it could be argued it's their omnipotent Office productivity suite. From college students to home users, small business and the big iron enterprise, Microsoft Office
is the de facto standard from which many a memorandum has been penned or spread sheet crunched. It's also one of Microsoft's major selling points when it comes to the new crop of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 devices. Microsoft's new Surface 2 tablet comes with Office 2013 RT bundled in and Windows Phone 8 devices can open and edit Office documents with ease. At least that was the hook, until Google
made their Quickoffice for Android
and iOS completely free
as well. What's more, as Android 4.4 Kit Kat rolls out
with the Nexus 5
and as updates for existing Android devices, Quickoffice will be installed automatically with Google's new mobile OS.
If you think that smells like a shot across Microsoft's bow in this war of the platforms, it's probably because it is.
Well, okay, it's Microsoft's but you still can access it anywhere...
Google acquired Quickoffice
a little over a year ago and the application bills itself as an "all-in-one, cross platform solution, that lets you search, access, edit & sync your files across multiple devices, computers & clouds." The software is available on multiple platforms beyond Android, including iOS and Symbian. This was a smart move by Google and the company knew darn well at the time that this would be one of the last major battlegrounds to take on Microsoft's dominance, pushing their open platform ecosystem into the hands of more and more users in the mass market.
This may seem like a subtle move but it's really a major league play. Microsoft currently offers Office Mobile
for iOS and Android and it was released over the summer. The problem is, you need an Office 365 subscription to install it. As much as we think Office 365 is a solid value
these days, you just can't beat free.
And it seems Google just keeps beating Microsoft to the punch.