One can argue, and with some justification and supporting evidence, that Microsoft almost killed itself, and while the jury is still out on whether or not the company’s new direction under a new CEO will bring it riches and prosperity that came with Windows and Office, it’s good to see all those Microsoft applications on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Last week I read an article about 10-must-have Microsoft apps for Android phones. Yes, they’re available for iPhone, too, but the fact that Microsoft has gone back to its roots– making software– is good for everybody. Office 2016 for Mac is more than decent and indicates Microsoft thinks more highly of the Mac as a platform than you might think based upon the Surface television commercials.*
One look at the iPhone App Store (Microsoft Office is not available on the Mac App Store) indicates the company is going all in with apps it wants adopted by everyone, but especially enterprise users (with a monthly subscription).
My day job requires a number of Microsoft apps (Office) on my Mac, and to keep pace in a mobile world, I have plenty of the same on my iPhone and iPad. Take a look at what you’ll find for iPhone and iPad (and remember that many of these also have Apple Watch counterparts) and note that few publishers of Microsoft’s size have as many apps and utilities on Apple’s stores.
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft OneNote
- Microsoft Remote Desktop
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Microsoft Outlook
Those are the basics and you’d be forgiven if you thought that’s all Microsoft made available for iPhone and iPad.
Wait. There’s more.
- Microsoft Cortana
- Microsoft Health
- Xbox One and 360 SmartGlass
- Skype for Business
- Sunrise Calendar (a recent purchase)
- Microsoft Bing (the search engine app)
- Microsoft Selfie (it’s not bad)
- Microsoft Translator (decent, too)
That’s a healthy list of popular applications, mostly free, and updated so regularly by the company’s app developers that the updates become an annoyance. But this extensive list of applications– not even matched by Apple or Google– tells me that Microsoft, for better or worse, is serious about developing software that gets used.
In fact, that was CEO Satya Nadell’s mantra (so to speak) to the company’s app development teams. “Make software that people want to use.” Thus far, that directive has worked. I prefer Microsoft Outlook to Mail on my iPhone, but Apple’s Keynote to PowerPoint. The only real problem with OneDrive is finding applications for iPhone and iPad which automatically add files to the company’s cloud storage service.
If you’re going whole hog Microsoft then you will likely use OneNote, and other than the somewhat cluttered interface, it’s a great app for notes of all kinds, easily managed and synced between devices. One of my favorite Microsoft mobile apps, and I get to use it often, is the Office Lens. It’s little more than a pocket scanner with a target. Take a photo of a whiteboard or business card or whatever, and it targets a specific Microsoft app to store it.
Most of the apps in the iOS and Android mobile collection are free, or provide more features if you’re a monthly subscriber to Office 365 or enterprise user, but free is free, and that means plenty of computing power and options available for iPhone and iPad that bring some of the desktop or notebook experience to your pocket.
Well done, Microsoft. Now, about those misleading Surface vs. iPad and Surface vs. Mac television commercials… There’s little question that touting the Surface line of hybrids has helped the company sell some hardware. Why, last quarter alone Microsoft made almost as much in sales of Surface products as Apple did with Watch.