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Will Office for iPad be the Surface’s death knell?

Published Mar 31st, 2014 3:20PM EDT
iPad Vs. Surface Microsoft Office

Microsoft finally released Office for iPad last week to both great acclaim and lucrative sales. However, this success story has raised some questions about what this means for Microsoft’s young hardware division and most specifically its Surface tablet. Forbes contributor Gene Marks makes the case that the Surface “died” the minute Microsoft decided to bring Office to the iPad, although he sees that as a positive sign for the company’s future.

Although the Surface is far from “dead” and Microsoft will continue cranking them out as long as it wants to, Marks does make some solid points about how Microsoft now seems much less intent on protecting Windows at all costs and much more interested in opportunistically releasing its best software wherever people want to use it.

“The company has officially abandoned its ‘Windows First’ policy,” Marks writes. “[Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella] has no emotional ties to Windows. He looks at a world today where the great majority of devices sold now and in the future will not have Windows installed on them. And he’s OK with that. This is opportunity for a company like Microsoft. And he’s positioning his company to take advantage of that opportunity.”

When you get down to it, there was no good reason for Microsoft to not release Office for the iPad, even if it means that it will sell even fewer of its own Surface tablets. Given that Surface sales were already weak in the first place, it’s hard to imagine that keep Office off the iPad and Android tablets would give them a big boost. And Microsoft simply cannot go back to the days when Windows was the one and only platform — those days are dead and gone and Microsoft seems to know that it will need to adapt to this post-monopoly reality instead of clinging to the past.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.