Talking tech since 2003

A great deal of speculation exists as to whether or not Microsoft will bring its Office suite of business computing tools to the iPad. It’s an interesting topic to me, as someone who has lived without Microsoft Office since 2008. I relied on Google Docs during college, typing up my English research papers in the word processing tool, and putting together presentations in the slideshow app. And, to this day, I still use Google Docs in place of any other software package. It’s a free, available-almost-anywhere alternative to Office.

If you run a business or work in an office setting, you’ve likely been using Microsoft Office for years. If you use Windows, it’s almost a certainty. Office is useful, and it has that familiar feeling to it — the one that only manifests itself after you’ve been using a particular piece of software for years. It’s like being in a long-term relationship, except instead of a person, it’s with a collection of programs. And Office is starting to turn into that crazy, controlling, jealous type of partner that doesn’t want you hanging out with other people.

Isn’t it time you broke up with Office?

Think seriously about it. Think about your good friend, the iPad. It’s easy to use and it has a wealth of available third-party apps. Hanging out with the iPad makes you happy. It’s good for your soul. But Office is telling you that, if you want to keep seeing it, you need to stop hanging out with iPad. From now on, you can only hang out with Office’s family, which includes Surface tablets and Windows Phone devices. And they’re great in their own ways, but there’s just something a little off about them. They can’t replace your friend, the iPad.

The story holds true if you’re really good friends with your Nexus 7. Office really doesn’t like the Nexus or its family, so you’re not allowed to hang out with them anymore. Even though you’ve trusted them for years and they’ve bailed you out countless times, Office gives you an ultimatum: it’s either them or me.

This scenario plays out with a number of products in a number of different industries, but what makes Microsoft Office a special case is that there are very good alternatives to Office that play well with a number of different platforms and devices. Office is demanding that you cut ties with all of your friends and do exactly what it wants, but there are nicer, more attractive options beating down your door, waiting for an opportunity to steal your heart. When you’re faced with a situation like that, how can you do anything but leave?

Get out of the mindset that your company will be completely lost without Microsoft Office. Move to Google Docs, or move to some other Web-based suite like Zoho. Create and open documents, presentations, spreadsheets and more regardless of what device you’re on, and stop being so concerned with whether or not Microsoft will deem the iPad (or any Android device) worthy of its approval. Don’t let you or your company be held hostage in such a poor relationship.

Tell Office it’s over, and start seeing other apps.

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