Paul Thurrott (via Daring Fireball):

The reason Microsoft can’t adopt an Office everywhere approach is that such an approach gets in the way of the company’s current goal of continuing the Windows era. If Microsoft makes a version of Office for other platforms, especially one that’s on par with the Windows offerings, that could lead to a further erosion of its Windows PC business. But this is exactly the kind of thinking that prevents Office from growing beyond the Microsoft safety net. And it ignores the fact that consumers and businesses are moving in ever-greater numbers to alternative computing platforms. This year, for the first time, more people will buy smartphones than PCs. It’s time to wake up.

The issue with Microsoft is that “Windows Everywhere” does not solve any problems for users. It’s about solving Microsoft’s problem.

As a user, I’m not tied the operating system. I don’t buy a PC to run Windows, a Mac to run OS X, or even an iOS device to run iOS. An operating system is something that lets me use my device actually do stuff: browse the web, run applications, and play games.

What’s happened is that by taking Windows and trying to wedge it everywhere they can, Microsoft starts with thousands of preconceived notions of how things should be done. It’s the same problem as a magazine trying to publish a digital PDF on the iPad. It leads to a half baked solution that never takes advantage of what makes a different platform great. My iPhone is great for very different reasons than my laptop and vice versa.

Microsoft pretends that’s not true.

Paul Thurrott is right in saying Microsoft should focus on “Office Everywhere”. Assuming that people buy computers to “do stuff,” Microsoft would be the foundation to let people do what they do: email, writing, presentations, and spreadsheets.

Instead, they give the giant middle finger to every other platform and silently tell Mac users that if you want a decent Office experience, you need to get a Windows machine1.

Even if Microsoft had a half baked solution for iPhone owners, it’s a platform of 100M+ users that are very interested in using the software they already know on their desktop to do stuff. Instead, they ignore it to protect Windows and Windows Phone 7 and unintentionally open up the door for someone to disrupt them.

I’ll admit, “Office Everywhere” wouldn’t build a powerful platform that rakes in cash for Microsoft. However, it would ensure their software is installed on every device for the next 30 years.

Doing something to protect your existing business is the first step to irrelevance.

  1. I will concede that Office 2011 has made big positive strides []