Mercator Blog

Microsoft ‘Apps Everywhere’ Strategy Further Threatens Google Control of Android
Date: March 27, 2015
Tim Sloane
Vice President, Payments Innovation

In an article titled “Microsoft 'apps everywhere' strategy is winning me back,” published on ZDNet, James Kendrick of Mobile News describes how attractive Microsoft apps on mobile devices have lured him back into the Microsoft fold:

“Then came the Office for iPad apps from Microsoft, part of the "apps everywhere" strategy. Like many others, I downloaded the apps and gave them a try. During my testing, it didn't take long to determine how good they were.

The touch operation on the iPad is very well done. Working with Excel spreadsheets and Word documents with touch control is ideal for me given my mobile focus. Office for iPad quickly became my preferred method of working with documents. Even if working at my desk on a Mac or Windows PC, I'll grab the iPad to work on a spreadsheet.

When the preview edition of Office became available for Android I quickly tried it. I found it just as good as the iPad version I like so much. Working with documents by touch fits my work style, and I haven't used one of those third-party office suites for months.”

Satya Nadella introduced the Mobile First, Cloud First strategy in a Press Briefing on March 27, 2014. Since then, Microsoft apps and cloud solutions have been made available on a wide range of mobile platforms including iPhone and iPad, Android phone and tablets, Windows phone and Windows tablet, and of course Windows laptops and PCs. The apps available include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote as well as a preview version of Outlook.

Now consider the investment Microsoft made in Cyanogen, that I described in the Mercator Advisory Group blog titled “Microsoft to Battle Google for Control of Open Source Android.” Several details have been discussed in a recent Forbes article describing how Blu may use the Cyanogen implementation:

“While Samuel Ohev-Zion, Blu’s CEO, says all the details have not yet been worked out, he envisions a phone that will use Amazon’s app store, the Opera Web browser, Nokia Here for maps, Dropbox and Microsoft’s OneDrive for cloud storage and Spotify for music. It would also have Bing for search and Microsoft’s Cortana as a replacement for Google’s voice assistant. “When these other apps are deeply integrated into the phone, most of the time they perform better than the Google apps,” says Ohev-Zion.”

The battle for Android will not be limited to Google, Microsoft, and Cyanogen, as Samsung and other device manufacturers are also likely to implement competitive strategies to win customers and reduce the costs associated with licensing the full Google Mobile Services (GMS) suite. That said, today Microsoft appears to be Google’s most formidable opponent.