Despite Microsoft’s denials, rumors are swirling that the Redmond, Wash.-based computer giant is prepping a mobile version of its popular Office software for the iPad. Not to be outdone, Google this week announced it’s acquiring Quickoffice, which makes a mobile app that lets users work on Microsoft Office documents on Apple gadgets and Android devices.
"Quickoffice has a strong base of users, and we look forward to supporting them while we work on an even more seamless, intuitive and integrated experience," wrote Alan Warren, engineering director, Google, in a blog.
The counterattack comes as little surprise in a competitive mobile marketplace, say the analysts at Yankee Group.
These moves are indicative of both the growth in productivity tools for mobile devices and the inherent need to make those tools work across platforms," says Chris Marsh, senior analyst with the research firm. "This is becoming table stakes in the enterprise mobility market, so both Microsoft and Google should indeed be looking to enable this. The more Microsoft can extend its relevance to the mobile market where it is lagging the better. And for Google, making its apps OS-agnostic is necessary to help fight Microsofts legacy dominance in spreadsheets and word processing."
Both companies have work to do, however, Marsh says, getting the word out. "Our surveys show that currently 60 percent have either never heard of their tools (18 percent) or have heard of but have not used their online productivity tools (42 percent). Even fewer will have used them on a mobile device."
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