Originally Posted by Tim Richardson
The real story is that Windows RT is dead and Windows 8.X on tablets will have to fight on its merits. There is no reason for Microsoft to not release on Android; in fact, there is a phone version which was simultaneously updated with the iPhone version. We can expect this new Microsoft to be running on Android tablets soon; why not? ... It's not a testatment to the awesomeness of iOS, it's a major strategic decision to release some software which has probably been ready for two years. You know, back when iPads had 80% market share.
Yes, it is a testament to the strength of iOS. Office for iPad doesn't look like something that was written 2 years ago and has been sitting on a shelf. It is native to iOS 7 (not sure if it is 64-bit, though), and conforms to its UI guidelines and is extremely touch-centric. Also telling is that they did this before they even completed the touch-centric re-write of Office for Windows RT/8. Arguably if they were serious about promoting Surface, making it touch-centric should have been one of the first things they should have done, and had they had a completed version for iOS ready 2 years ago, they'd have been able to incorporate more of that design into the Surface version.
Also, that Microsoft went to the effort of updating the Android version of its smartphone Office software at the same time it updated Office Mobile for iPhone means that they likely could have done the same for tablets, but, quite correctly, view the phone market a bit differently. Samsung has made traction at the high end of the phone market. But they haven't made much traction at the high end of the tablet market. I'm sure Microsoft will release a version of Office for Android. There's really no reason not to (more opportunities for sales). But the next priority for Microsoft is the rewrite of Office for Windows RT. Android won't come until after that. Nadella hinted as much when he touted the Build conference next week.
What will be interesting to see is where the tablet market heads from here. It looks like Apple's iPad growth has matured, and yet despite good reviews, the latest Kindle Fire has supposedly seen a slight decline in sales from a year ago, and Asus doesn't seem to have seen increased sales from the Nexus line. So it's entirely possible that Apple will continue to dominate the tablet profit share even more than it does with smartphones.