Why Software Companies Develop Apps for One Another’s Devices

Microsoft Excel for iPad

Source: Microsoft.com

It’s an increasingly common phenomenon: companies that build both hardware and software are developing apps for the mobile operating systems of other manufacturers’ devices. So if these companies think that they’ve developed software so good that users on other platforms will want it, then why are they offering the software to users of other operating systems, instead of using the software to attract new users to their own?

Let’s take a look at a few examples of companies developing apps for one another’s devices, and look at some of the reasons why companies like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are trading exclusivity for a wider potential user base.

Microsoft dominates iOS productivity apps with Office for iPad…

In a post on its Office Blog, Microsoft announced new updates to its Office for iPad app to make the mobile suite more like its desktop counterpart, four months after the app was initially released. In that four months, Microsoft has demonstrated an uncanny ability to dominate a category in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store.

According to App Annie data, on Thursday, Microsoft Word for iPad was ranked number one among productivity apps, and thirteenth among top apps overall in the U.S. By contrast, the iPad version of Apple’s Pages doesn’t even show up in the ranking of productivity apps for iPad, though accounting for the iPhone version, as well, it ranks eighth among productivity apps and at spot 241 among top apps overall.

Thursday’s update sees Microsoft adding a Presenter View for when PowerPoint users are projecting to another screen, added support for video and audio importing directly from the Camera Roll, more interaction with PivotTables with Excel, and the ability to export to PDF for all users across all Office apps, edit pictures within Office, and use third-party fonts in Office documents.

While the specific updates Microsoft is adding aren’t the most exciting developments, they do show that people are using Office on the iPad, and Microsoft is looking to make the suite more capable and more intuitive, which will be key to establishing the software as a good choice for customers long-term.