re: Microsoft's Office For iOS, Android Dilemma
I think this articulates Microsoft's position pretty well. When people talk about multi-billion dollar opportunities for Office on iOS and Android, it sounds like a lot of money. But Office props up not only Windows but also Server--which represents an even more gargantuan chunk of money.
The question is whether Microsoft takes so long getting Windows in order that the appeal of an iOS/Android version of Office evaporates, replaced by iWork and others.
I don't think Microsoft has crossed the rubicon yet, but I think some of its future choices have been impacted. Can Microsoft get away with waiting until some time in 2014? Yes, I think so-- unless the new version of iWork is more jaw-droppingly awesome than anyone of us expect it to be, or unless some other unexpected disruption jumps up.
Can Microsoft dare to make the iPad version available only through Office 365 subscriptions? I don't think that's a great call. Can Microsoft charge $100 or even $30 for a standalone license, now that iWork is free? Sure, they can, but it probably wouldn't go over well.
I really think Microsoft is going to wait to see how Windows 8.1 does. If it's still trending upward in January, Microsoft will feel pretty confident about releasing Office on its own terms. If it's not doing much better than Windows 8 has done, that could be another story.
As for the Web apps, they're definitely under-appreciated. But I don't think they'll ever be a widely accepted iOS/Android solution.