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With Microsoft Office on Android, Has Linus Torvalds Won? 365

sfcrazy writes "The father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, once said, 'If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.' Microsoft yesterday released one of its cash cows, Microsoft Office, for Android. Since Microsoft has a very vague idea of what users want and is suffering from lock-in, the app is just an Android front end of Office 365 and is accessible only by the paid users. There are already quite a lot of office suites available on Android including Office Pro, QuickOffice and KingSoft, so Microsoft will have to struggle there. Still it's a Microsoft core application coming to Linux. So, it looks like Linus has won."
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With Microsoft Office on Android, Has Linus Torvalds Won?

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    • Don't. I know he has.
    • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:53AM (#44446473) Journal

      It's a silly question, anyway.

      Linus isn't really linux by itself, he just had a critical part to play. The more accurate question would be "is Microsoft losing relevance and marketshare?" to which the answer is yes, and not really a surprise.

      • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:55AM (#44446517)

        If they are losing relevance than why would this even warrant a story? How would having even more people using Office be akin to losing relevance? It seems it would be the opposite.

        • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:05AM (#44446665) Homepage Journal
          Well, it's certainly not driving WP8 adoption. (Around here, we tend only to care about OS marketshare.)
          • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:47AM (#44447209) Journal

            For the first time in a very long time, Microsoft isn't a "Windows" company. For a brief moment, there was someone who realized that in order to be relevant moving forward, Microsoft will have to stop being a "windows" company. Let see if it stays a "second tier" Office App on Android or if Microsoft makes it world class. That will be the true sign that Microsoft has or has not stopped being a Windows company.

        • by tylikcat ( 1578365 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:25AM (#44446949)

          They are losing relevance. But they have a lot of relevance to lose, so expect them to be significantly relevant for a while yet.

          (May the Lord Bless and Keep Ballmer - far, far away from us.)

          • by oGMo ( 379 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:48AM (#44447225)

            Disagree. They've been losing relevance for a long time, and we're noticing now that they're struggling to find any relevance. They did have a lot of relevance to lose, as they squandered away what relevance Windows had, trying for markets they were weak in (server) while neglecting markets they were strong in (desktop), all while continuing to be so far behind the curve they just don't get what's going on until it's years too late (mobile).

            They might have been a strong player in the game console market, but then they pulled an XBone.

            Business is still pretty big, but with Windows losing day-to-day familiarity with users, their last bastion is going to erode quickly as users start asking "why can't we use something else?" I fully expect them to throw billions at trying to find relevance for years to come, though. This all might be foreshadowed by RIM and Blackberry: originally king at business, trying to fit in elsewhere, disrupted by technology they didn't grasp, falling behind, throwing money at trying to stay relevant, while everyone else wants to move on.

            • by g2devi ( 898503 )

              True. Even if they do lose the lock on the non-Apple desktop and laptop market, they may still be able to do an IBM and reinvent themselves.

              We'll finally know that Microsoft is at the tipping point when the Walmart, Futureshop, Best Buy, Staples, etc all devote floor space to non-Mac and non-Windows laptops and desktops (e.g. Linux, Chromebook, etc) and its common for businesses that currently buy both Macs and Windows start buying these non-Mac and non-Windows laptops and desktops.

              We're still a long way fr

            • by ImprovOmega ( 744717 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:20PM (#44447579)

              This all might be foreshadowed by RIM and Blackberry: originally king at business, trying to fit in elsewhere, disrupted by technology they didn't grasp, falling behind, throwing money at trying to stay relevant, while everyone else wants to move on.

              RIM, whether they like it or not, is transitioning into a services company. They made an incredibly shrewd move with the Mobile Device Management platform formerly Blackberry Fusion, now rebranded Universal Device Service. They allowed existing Blackberry customers to migrate licenses for all of 2013 for free to the new platform and use those licenses to manage not only Blackberry 10 devices (naturally) but also iPhone/iPad and Android devices. This made an incredibly strong cost/benefit argument for existing customers faced with increasing pressure to allow corporate iPhones and Androids to just keep using Blackberry to manage them. This helps Blackberry (the company) ensure a consistent revenue stream from MDM licensing even if you're using a competitors product.

              The switch to ActiveSync for messaging will also help take the load off of their servers, allowing them to shrink their infrastructure saving even more money, and whether the phone ends up being popular or not (it's a pretty solid device, just very few apps as yet), they have a viable path forward for the future. They were already a trusted name in the MDM market with a great deal of penetration with their old devices. The leveraged that pretty hard and I think it will be their saving grace going forward.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ImprovOmega ( 744717 )

            It's like asking what would happen if the oceans started draining [xkcd.com]? Yeah, it would eventually devastate the oceans, but there's so much water there that it takes forever. For Microsoft to fold up shop would take at least a decade of consistently bad decisions, and even then it would almost have to be willful.

            For modern examples of tech companies in decline, consider Blackberry, formerly Research in Motion. Everybody says they are dead in the water, but if you look at it, they still have billions in cash,

      • "has", he's still an active leader in several critical linux code trees and new kernel revs don't go out the door with out his personal approval.
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Insightful)


  • WINNING (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:48AM (#44446401)

    I don't know if it's something distinctly American or what but having a broader choice of operating systems and software that can run on a variety of them means WE WIN.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... the game changed and Microsoft is losing this one.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:51AM (#44446457) Homepage Journal

    Linux already "won" - his goal was to create a Unix-like OS and it became incredibly popular. As far as I am aware he has never shown much interest in getting MS Office for it, or for market share.

    Nice try creating animosity where there is none. The summary is full of typos and weasel-words. I'm not huge MS fan but the summary is full of bias in an attempt to turn a mildly interesting story into a flamewar or hatefest.

    • Yes, a better question is, is that still the benchmark that Linus uses for determining success? Something tells me....no.

    • by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:00AM (#44446583)
      Linux is bigger and more important than 'beating' Microsoft. Sure, many of us go through the puerile stage of trying to win people over from Windows, but that usually ends when maturity teaches us two things: first, to be content having free as in freedom software we can use; second, not to volunteer ourselves for tech support by telling giving friends and relatives unsolicited advice to make significant changes to their computers.
    • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:20PM (#44447595) Homepage
      Actually, Linus' stated goal was "world domination".
  • Linux the kernel is the core of both Android the operating system and GNU/Linux the operating system. If one gets pedantic, then technically Microsoft Office for Android satisfies the argument that it's supported on an OS running Linux the kernel, but when most people use "Linux", they're not referring to the kernel, but the operating system with all of its GNU and POSIX stuff.

    So, this is a win in the same sense that the Spruce Goose flew.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by PPH ( 736903 )
      So what you are saying is that both Linus and Richard Stallman won.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      You can pretty easily add that stuff to android.
      My phones and tablets are doing just that.

    • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:07AM (#44446709) Homepage Journal

      Linux the kernel is the core of both Android the operating system and GNU/Linux the operating system. If one gets pedantic, then technically Microsoft Office for Android satisfies the argument that it's supported on an OS running Linux the kernel, but when most people use "Linux", they're not referring to the kernel, but the operating system with all of its GNU and POSIX stuff.

      So, this is a win in the same sense that the Spruce Goose flew.

      If you're really being pedantic, and really want to start the flame war that you seem to be encouraging, "Linux" is the name of both the kernel and the original operating system, and some other organization has attempted to rename it to put their own brand in it more recently. Someday we may know it at MIT/BSD/GNU/Canonical/RHEL/Linux if that trend keeps up. Or we could just call it what the person who created it called it, and if GNU wants a GNU/whatever OS, they can release a distro with their name on it.

    • Thank you!

    • Linux the kernel is the core of both Android the operating system and GNU/Linux the operating system. If one gets pedantic, then technically Microsoft Office for Android satisfies the argument that it's supported on an OS running Linux the kernel, but when most people use "Linux", they're not referring to the kernel, but the operating system with all of its GNU and POSIX stuff.

      Actually he's won using that definition too. The Linux kernel has virtualization code [arstechnica.com] from Microsoft already.

    • So, this is a win in the same sense that the Spruce Goose flew.

      Naw, Hughes flew the Goose once then shelved both it and himself for the rest of his life. Linus, although living in a small house in Portland (or wherever) and only coming out to rant at his developers like a maniac, actually gets out and about to shout at the world, and Linux is flying in shops all over the world, so, no, its not at all like the Spruce Goose.

  • by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:56AM (#44446535)

    It seems silly to conflate this with Microsoft making products for Linux.

    This is just an app that's a wrapper for a web app. The same web app you can already run on Desktop Linux.

    Besides which, last I checked this wasn't a free webapp and was, in fact, a way for Microsoft to milk more money out of companies that would have otherwise only had to pay Microsoft for each Office license once. Now it's a monthly fee.

    The fact that it also works on other OSes is just a "bonus."

  • the only thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:57AM (#44446549) Homepage

    The only thing that O365 - a closed web platform available only to those who pay a subscription - on Android means is that users lose.

    • Now Android users can have the same experience iOS users have had for a couple months - swearing at their phones, wondering why Microsoft bothered to release such a neutered product!

      I'm sure Linus is having a piece of cake in celebration...

  • by nashv ( 1479253 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:00AM (#44446579) Homepage

    Microsoft has already released several applications for Android, as is evidenced here https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Microsoft+Corporation [google.com]. I still cannot find any thing for Microsoft Office, except maybe Onenote.

    MSN Messenger for Android was released in 2012.

  • Only if you consider a nice platform being poisoned by that software winning.

  • If anything, this benefits MS. They've hopefully learned and adapted to:
    Use semi-monopoly to force stupid crap that customers don't want down people's throats = less money, benefits the competition by losing sales
    Give people what the market research says they actually want = more money, hurts the competition by losing them sales

    If this is the beginning of them pulling their heads out of their asses, this is not good for Linux at all.
  • Linus has seen Wargames and knows that sometimes
    the best way to win is not to play the game

    He does it just for fun.

  • Android Inc has shown what many of us have always said. If the OSS moment got around to making user friendly easy to use stuff, it will take off. All your forking and hiding behind the command line are just killing you. Installs are getting better, much better, but still the amount of work someone has to do is too steep a learning curve for your Average joe to be able to setup and maintain a general Linux system. In the old days it used to be said someone with an Average IQ could EITHER remember the road ru

  • It's easy to win when you can declare your own victory conditions.
  • ... more likely, since this is just a rehash of what's available for Windows and iOS, it's more substatively a reflection of Microsoft's pathological fear of change, driven by the company being managed by individuals unwilling to confront their own mortality. "Hope I die before I get old ..."
  • Genius... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Real1tyCzech ( 997498 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:14AM (#44446805)

    Guess what?

    Microsoft didn't release Office for Android.

    They released Office Mobile for Office 365.

    What you imply is that they released an office suite for Android, when in fact, they merely released an Android client for Office 365 users.

    As much as you might care to think one is pretty much the same as the other, you would be wrong. This app is not for editing office documents on your mobile device. It is for Office 365 users to view items synced to their cloud....nothing more. It cannot even access items on your mobile device...

    • I hope they didn't put to much effort into that convoluted pile. If you actually need to edit office docs and must do it from a tablet or can't get to a desktop, I"ve had good results with the kingsoft office suite, it is quite amazing for free.
  • If by "win" he means Bill Gates will finally get even richer off a Linux app, then sure he won.
  • A well executed decoy by the allies of Linus succeeded to lure MS to make a wrong move after about 20 years in this epic battle! The ambush took MS by surprise because of the lack in their intelligence about the quotes of Linus. Whew I'm glad it's over!

    So what's in the future of Slashdot after all this? The currently still low burning Distro Wars?

  • Does it matter? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:31AM (#44447041) Homepage
    The whole idea of 'winning' or 'losing' is misguided. The whole idea of marketshare being an indicator of quality is also misguided. I am an admitted Microsoftie. I'm on a Surface tablet right now. My Windows phone is sitting next to me. I've got an Xbox, subscription to Office 365, etc. I'm all in. The phone market has really taught me a lot. I used to carry an iPhone, but I was never really impressed with it. Eventually I switched to Windows and I was much happier (with my phone). A lot of people look at my phone as a lesser product. They'll send me links to articles predicting the demise of Windows Phone, or articles describing the horrible marketshare. But guess what? None of those articles...or the low marketshare...or the possible impending demise make me think less of my phone. Not at all. They have no impact on how I feel about the technology in my pocket. So the point is- I feel that others should do the same. Ignore the marketshare (unless you are an investor or developer) ignore the articles written by the hacks (Motley Fool is determined to bash Microsoft 30 times per day) and just use the technology in the way it was intended. Don't get emotionally invested in someone else's business. Microsoft put (a decidedly strange version of) Office on Android because they want the money. It has nothing to do with either satisfying, or challenging the fanboys. It has to do with money. That is what companies do. Apple had a horrible marketshare in the desktop OS market. It didn't mean they had an inferior product, just a less popular one. Getting emotional about this is silly.
  • ...the apps is just an Android front end of Office 365 and is accessible only by the paid users.

    More such victories and we are undone.

  • microsoft is trying to force everyone onto it and it will only take one major system failure for people to abandon office. The cloud is just mainframes all over again and the problems have not changed. No one cares about your data as much as you do.
    • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:12PM (#44447487)

      Microsoft is pushing for subscription services because they realised their greatest competitor is themselves from five years ago. Look how long it took to get people off of XP. They reached the point where their software was 'good enough' that no-one has a compelling reason to upgrade to a new version, and the loss of a perpetual upgrade cycle ruins the whole business model.

  • by Twillerror ( 536681 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:36PM (#44447799) Homepage Journal

    "Since Microsoft has a very vague idea of what users want" ... BS

    Do you own a truck? If you don't and don't want one you wouldn't tell Ford and Ram(Dodge) what they should put in their trucks.

    Excel is the Grep\AWK\Sed of the enterprise\business world. Not all of it, but a large percentage. The fact of the matter is there is a whole lot in your life that was built with the assistance of Word, Excel, and hell even PowerPoint. You think the construction company that built the building your in uses VIM to manage there shit.

    Slashdot in general does not get this. I'm sure there are plenty of desktop support guys on here who do. Google docs is great an I use them all the time, but it's a tinker toy to some of the more advanced features in Excel that most people haven't even heard of.

    Throw together a pivot table with a slicer and then see me in the morning. Take a look at stock symbol DATA for tableu...there is a world outside of compilers, web servers, and VIM people.

    You can't tell me you haven't heard a iPad guy tell you he wishes he had Excel on there.

    MS has done okay with the XBox. I think the phone and tablet is a catch 22 for them. If they don't do it people will wonder why. If they do people will wonder why.

  • by hAckz0r ( 989977 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:36PM (#44447807)
    This is nothing more than a front end to Microsoft's vendor-lock-in engine running in the cloud.

    You pay a $10 a month fee to have Microsoft control your access to your own documents. While I have not used it, I can not imagine being able to do anything on a mobile phone via the web that would be worth the price. And don't even think of trying to install it on a tablet, you are not allowed. Microsoft probably thinks that a person with a tablet might actually expect to be able to do something with it, and wanting money for nothing they thought it easier to just deny tablets. Like that's really going to make me want to buy one of their tablets. Dream On!

    * A qualifying Office 365 subscription is required to use this app. Qualifying plans include: Office 365 Home Premium, Office 365 Small Business Premium, Office 365 Midsize Business, Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 (Enterprise and Government), Office 365 Education A3 and A4, Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 University, and Office 365 trial subscriptions
    NOTE: If you don’t have an Office 365 subscription, you can buy Office 365 Home Premium from http://www.office.com./ [www.office.com] With Office 365 Home Premium, you also get the latest version of Office for up to 5 PCs, Macs, and Windows tablets - and an additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage and Skype world minutes***.

    * Requires a phone running Android OS 4.0 or later.

    * Microsoft Office 2013 on a PC is needed for features like recent documents and resume reading.
    **Office 365 account and setup necessary. Data connection required. Storage limits and carrier fees apply.

  • by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @02:04PM (#44449115)

    Doing a poll of the general population around me, not a single one of them uses any office suite on their phones.

    Now, it's a biased sample. Almost half are iphones, almost half are androids, and there are a couple "dumb" call phones. None of them have a Windows 8 phone. (I like to call that 'Biased towards reality'.)

    Most of us get Microsoft Office files. But the email reader either opens the files natively or can shunt it to a simple document viewer to open the files in a read-only mode.

    The point is that having office (either Microsoft Office or any other office suite) on a cell phone is overkill. Even on a tablet computer. It's not until you have a real keyboard (and, likely, a mouse) are you going to make "office-type" documents.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @02:12PM (#44449251)

    ... the code is owned by the community, we all have won.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"