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How mobile apps could chip away at Microsoft’s Office empire

Published Feb 27th, 2014 2:21PM EST
Microsoft Office Tablet App Alternatives

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Microsoft Office may not be in danger any time soon. It still makes up a large chunk of Microsoft’s revenue, and most businesses rely on its Word, Excel, and PowerPoint programs. But Office is also notorious for being misused — people will paste screenshots into Word and email them instead of just pasting them directly onto email, or they will open up Excel to perform a simple calculation. Analyst Benedict Evans has drawn a key insight from these classic misuses: Increasingly, different functions in Office, such as the various misuses, can be done with apps on tablets or phones.

“How many of these are actually smartphone or tablet apps providing custom lists or databases?” Evans writes. “Or Mint (another SAAS)? How many presentation templates might also be something like Storehouse?”

Even more importantly, with the increased sophistication of mobile apps, it is becoming easier for people to transition from laptops to tablets. Evans compares this transition to the shift from desktop computers to laptops. Back then, people wondered whether laptops would be capable of doing what their more powerful desktops could do. But gradually, laptops become powerful enough so that virtually everyone now uses laptops for work.

The same thing is happening for tablets, Evans says.

“Tablets will get faster and more sophisticated and capable of substituting more tasks,” he writes. “And so we should expect to see tablets taking a growing chunk out of the PC market.”