By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm
The Daily story by Matt Hickey on a possible iPad version of Microsoft Office which I mentioned yesterday is continuing to make news. And one part of the story that has folks excited is the notion that the Office apps might go for $10 apiece:
The thing is, The Daily’s story doesn’t claim to have any inside information that even hints at the $10 price point, let alone confirms it. The article is a gumbo of scuttlebutt and supposition–and downright incoherent in spots–but here are the relevant paragraphs:
In addition to an iPad-ready version, a new edition of Office is expected for OS X Lion sometime next year. The current version of the desktop package, Office 2011, officially supports iOS versions up to Snow Leopard. A Lion version, likely available via the Mac App Store, is widely expected. Windows, too, is due for an update, with Office 2012 currently in beta form.
It’s assumed that both of these would work with Office 365 as well as mobile versions, such as Windows Phone’s Office Hub. Because it would be compatible with these full suites rather than as stand-alone apps, the pricing will most likely be significantly lower than existing Office products. In fact, it’s likely the cost will be around the $10 price point that Apple has established for its Pages, Numbers and Keynote products.
If you fully understand these two paragraphs, you’re a lot smarter than I am. Putting aside the fact that it says Snow Leopard is a version of iOS rather than OS X, it makes reference to the next Mac and Windows versions of Office. Then it says “it’s assumed” (by whom?) that “both of these” will “work with” Office 365 and Windows Phone.
Next, the story says “it would be compatible with these full suites rather than as stand-alone apps, the price will most likely be significantly lower than existing Office products.” I think<he "it" in question is Office for the iPad, and that Hickey is saying that it's probably going to be a feature-reduced complement to existing versions of Office rather than a full-featured suite, and priced accordingly.
And then Hickey says the price will "likely" be around $10. I assume he means per app, not for the whole shebang. And if his sources told him that Microsoft was talking about the ten buck-price point, he doesn't say so. He seems to be trying to make an educated guess.
Could Microsoft charge $10 a pop for iPad versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint? Sure. But it might also give them away for free, as it does with the Office Web Apps and Office Starter Edition. Or it might release super-meaty programs aimed at business customers that go for quite a bit more than $10. I don’t think we know.
As ZDnet’s James Kendrick notes, the Office iPad pricing question is interesting on multiple levels, including the dynamic it may have with the touch-centric Windows 8 version of Office which is presumably in the works. But let’s see what happens. Don’t be too surprised if some of the things Hickey says are “likely” to happen don’t pan out exactly as he supposes.