Another option perhaps up Microsoft's sleeve, said Rubin, was to fork Office, offer one mobile version at little or no cost, but charge for a fuller-featured app. Even then, however, Microsoft faces unfamiliar constraints. "It's difficult to see [Office on mobile] commanding even a $59 price," Rubin said, pointing to the lower prices for smartphone and tablet apps, and the trend away from paid apps in general.
Microsoft, however, has scoffed at the idea that Apple's iWork, and by extension, any alternative, including Google's Quickoffice, is in any way competitive with Office.
"When I see Apple drop the price of their struggling, lightweight productivity apps, I don't see a shot across our bow, I see an attempt to play catch-up," said Frank Shaw, the head of Microsoft's corporate communications, in a blog post. "We literally wrote the book on getting things done."
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