On Thursday Microsoft had announced that the Office will be free to download and use for iOS users. Am I going to download it ? Unlikely, here is why.
Microsoft Office has always been prohibitively expensive. When I was in college I couldn't afford it, but I got a copy of IBM Lotus SmartSuite for free at a career fair. After graduation I got myself OpenOffice.org and used it for years on my Mac and Linux machines because even if I could afford MS Office it was very clunky on the Mac. Over the past few years Google Docs and Apple apps became free and are actually great tools.
The reality is that I have not needed Microsoft Office for the past 20 years for anything I do. I didn't even need it at work, and if I did my employer provided a copy on the workstation issued to me. I do not foresee myself needing Office any time soon.
Just like BYOD killed Blackberry it is now changing the dynamics of business software purchases. Under Gates and Ballmer Microsoft ignored competing operating systems. They enjoyed monopoly status and charged high prices for their software. But iOS and Android changed that dynamic - companies wishing to keep their employees productive cannot continue paying for software they cannot run on devices of their choosing. Microsoft realizes that and that is why MS Office on iOS and Android is now free.