Apple Snubs Microsoft–A Retaliatory Move?

JohnLast Friday, Apple publicly announced its refusal to publish a Windows RT iTunes app. But why?

Back in February, Microsoft announced that it would not be releasing any sort of iOS app versions of its popular Office suite of products, which was a questionable choice to say the least. You can read my thoughts on that situation here.

Microsoft has since changed it’s tune, but only slightly, with plans to release a version of Office for iOS (and Android), but not until Fall 2014 at the earliest. Which brings us to Friday’s big announcement that iTunes will not be coming to the Windows RT app collection.

This is all mere speculation, but it seems odd for Apple, a company that’s made very few missteps over the last decade, to alienate a large number of its users by not releasing a Windows RT app (the full desktop version of iTunes is unavailable to tablet Windows 8 users). For a company that’s always going on about the importance of usability, this seems like a strange choice. Could it be that Apple refuses to release it’s most popular cross-platform product as an app for Windows simply because Microsoft refuses to do the same for it’s most popular cross-platform product (at least not in the foreseeable future)? It’s certainly plausible.

Or maybe Apple is confident that Windows RT will fail, and doesn’t want to bolster sales by giving the struggling OS the vote of confidence that is developing an iTunes app. Apple certainly has a lot of stock in giving people as few reasons as possible to get a Windows device, and keeping iTunes off of those devices is huge. Considering 20 million new iPads are sold each quarter, and Microsoft still has yet to release its sales numbers, Apple is at a serious advantage.

Regardless of motivations, both companies would do well to learn from Google, which is slowly but surely beginning to become the mobile kingpin. This editorial in Forbes makes a great case for why the accessibility of Google-developed apps on iOS devices (despite Google having a lot of stake in moving people to Android devices) is quietly removing Apple’s relevance. Perhaps iOS and Windows RT will both fall to Android by this time next year.

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