Microsoft yesterday launched the long-awaited Microsoft Office for iPad, bringing Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel to Apple’s tablet device for free of charge. There was, however, one major catch with this approach in that users could only view documents with the apps, and would have to subscribe to Office 365 for the sum of $9.99 per month in order to be able to create and edit documents.
While this amount also includes a substantial number of other features such as access to Office 365 online apps, as well as Skype calling minutes and OneDrive storage, it also represents a major barrier to what Microsoft is trying to achieve. Microsoft itself is treating this subscription amount as a monthly charge to enable users to work on any device, anywhere. The only problem is, and it seems strange to point it out, is that they are trying to get Apple users to switch to a paid service when Apple already offers the same thing free of charge.
Microsoft has spent a lot of time trying to position itself in the manner of putting the user experience first. However, with this archaic pricing strategy, where Microsoft is preventing users from paying for full featured apps with a single, lower fee, the company risks alienating the average home user. This pricing approach is unfortunately only appealing to the business customer.
Sadly, the more flexible the company tries to appear, particularly in the context of online collaboration, sharing and storage, the more rigid it actually is.