Microsoft Mobile Office for iPhone Can’t Wait

Might a big change to Microsoft’s software strategy be pending?

It could be if Stephen Elop, one of the front-runners to take over as company CEO next year, has his way. Sources close to Elop say he believes the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant would benefit from making Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Office suite programs available on the iPhone and more non-Windows devices, according to Bloomberg.

The move would be better for Microsoft in the long run, the report said, as opposed to the strategy of using mobile Office almost solely to boost Windows device sales. While Windows phones such as the Nokia Lumia line are gaining in strength, they are still far behind Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS in terms of operating system market share.

Sources say Elop would seriously consider shutting down losing businesses, including Bing, and mull selling profitable non-core units such as the Xbox gaming system, if he were given the top spot at Microsoft.

I think Elop has some good ideas, especially with regard to Microsoft looking for opportunities outside the Windows ecosystem,” noted Yankee Group VP of Research Carl Howe. “In the app-driven post-PC device era where businesses are trying to reach mobile users, PC platforms just dont matter anymore, but mobile applications do. If Microsoft had made Office multi-platform and mobile three years ago, mobile consumers would have had a reason to embrace Microsoft. With Microsoft seeming to be an afterthought in a mobile world dominated by Google and Apple, it no longer can sell its services only to people who embrace its platform. Now, it needs all the mobile customers it can get, and that includes customers who use other platforms.”

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