Yesterday I was poking around the Google Android website for an updated version of their SDK, and stumbled across the KitKat features page. Starting with Android 4.4 KitKat, Google will begin bundling their Quickoffice software into the update.
Quickoffice is Google's mobile productivity office suite for the Android operating system. With the current version of Quickoffice, available from the Google Play Store, you can read and edit Microsoft Office documents from your smartphone or table.
So the question I have is: With free office productivity suites available for both Google Android and Apple iOS, why is Microsoft waiting to get the real deal Office on to people's devices? Sure there is an Office Mobile application for the iPhone, but you must already have a subscription to Microsoft's Office 365 service to use it. And what about a version optimized for the iPad?
If anything, the automatic deployment of Quickoffice to any Android device that receives the 4.4 KitKat upgrade is putting even more pressure on Microsoft to get Office on more devices. In the past, Microsoft's our-platform-or-no-one-elses strategy for Office is really hurting them. As a business customer, I rely on Microsoft's Office suite to get my job done, but on smartphones and tablets, I hardly miss them.
And that, I feel, is Microsoft's problem. The inclusion of Quickoffice with KitKat alongside of the free Google Docs web application, Google isn't just going after a mobile productivity suite for mobile, they are working to actively destroy Microsoft's long establish revenue staple - Office.
Only time will tell if mobile Office document editing will gain any real traction with prosumers or not.