Is This Microsoft's Final Mistake?

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Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) may be ready to cave in to the dark side.

The blogosphere was buzzing yesterday after the software giant's Czech Republic team issued a press release, indicating that Microsoft Office will be available by March of next year as a native app for Android, iOS, and even Symbian mobile devices.

"It's about time," iPhone, iPad, and Android fans may be saying, but what would this mean for Microsoft?

It's clear that PC sales have been struggling, and that's bad news for Microsoft. It may be the top dog when it comes to desktop and laptop operating systems, but it's way behind Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iOS and Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android in the tablet and smartphone gadgetry that's selling briskly these days.

Access to Microsoft Office -- the suite of productivity programs that includes Word and Excel -- was probably the best reason to get excited about this month's debuts of Mr. Softy's own Surface tablet. What's the point in buying a Surface if native apps are coming to iPads and cheaper Android tablets?

Naturally, Microsoft is denying the story.

"The information shared by our Czech Republic subsidiary is not accurate," Microsoft's head of corporate communications tweeted shortly after the story broke. "We have nothing further to share."

Let's hope so.

Sure, there may come a time when Microsoft has no choice but to spoon with the enemy. There are already plenty of third-party apps that bridge the gap by letting users create and manipulate Microsoft Office files on their iOS and Android devices. If Microsoft holds on too long -- and iOS and Android grow too popular -- new standards may arise, and that would be a major blow to Microsoft's second-largest product (by revenue).

One can also argue that Microsoft Office is already making itself operating-system agnostic by pushing toward the cloud. However, it will still be hard to be a buyer of Microsoft when the day comes that one of its products becomes the recipe to wean its customers off of its flagship product.

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (10)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2012, at 10:03 PM, chilero wrote:

    It'll be very interesting over the next 6 months or so watching the sales of Win8 tablets and hybrids. Will they compete with the iPad? I'm guessing they will.

    Every article continously mentions the "struggling" PC market in this time of growing mobile devices but this article from Geekwire puts that into a little more perspective.

    PC shipments have been relatively flat even with the growth of the iPad and other tablets.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2012, at 11:19 PM, NickD wrote:

    I feel Apple will fail before Microsoft

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2012, at 1:44 PM, EquityBull wrote:

    Neither Microsoft or Apple will "fail". Apple has 120 billion in cash right now and zero debt. Microsoft has almost 50 billion. If either of these ever fail it will be decades from now. Don't hold your breath

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