new version of OneNote for iOS and Android devices. Mac users are still stuck with the Web-based version, but Microsoft's willingness to play in competing ecosystems reveals a facet of the company's strategy -- namely, that iOS and Android can funnel users into Office 365, even if those users never consider using Windows 8.
Last week's release of a SkyDrive Pro app for iOS is another example, as is the company's promise, made this week, to release a mobile-oriented version of Dynamics CRM by this fall for both Windows 8 and the iPad.
On the other hand, Microsoft has also declined to release Office for the iPad, and its iOS version is only useful to those who also subscribe to Office 365. In the new landscape, the company must execute a complex strategy that alternates between defiantly proprietary and surprisingly open.
To a degree, the company has navigated this dilemma before; Microsoft Office is available for OS X, for example, but it's not as modern as the version available for Windows. Still, compared to past examples, Microsoft's new plan involves navigating a more complicated field.
Last week at Build, Microsoft added a few wrinkles to its "open" strategy. The company can still profit from iOS and Android apps, its representatives suggested, if Azure becomes the cloud infrastructure that supports them.
Microsoft also opened Bing as a development platform. At Build, Microsoft VP Gurdeep Singh Pall said the program can bring the "unbounded knowledge of the Web" to apps, and demonstrated examples that included apps integrated with 3-D maps as well as voice recognition, speech controls and language translation capabilities. Microsoft's APIs are mostly intended to help Microsoft developers make more engaging Windows 8 apps, but some attention is being extended on competing platforms as well -- another example of the tightrope the company is now traversing.