While I slept back in Bombay, Microsoft announced two very interesting applications. One of them was the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone 7 and iOS; the other was Kinectimals for iOS and the Xbox app for iOS. This much iOS love in the same week where OneNote now supports the iPad and rumors of an actual Office version for the iPad.

OneNote for iPad is an excellent decision. Mary Jo Foley makes a valid observation around possible Office for iPad pricing. I’d like to see Microsoft embracing the iPad too. They’re a software company. There is Office for Mac, there should be Office for iOS. The tablet version of Office is certainly not going to be like the full fledged desktop Office. It’ll  be more functional than Office Web Apps and will respect the platform’s design elements.   Given Apple’s head start in tablets, Microsoft bringing their flagship product to the platform takes away a huge USP from Microsoft’s own tablet platform.

If the iPad can do Microsoft Office, why do I need a Windows tablet?

It’s a simple question, the answer to which will be a complicated marketing speak listing out a bunch of feature comparisons of Windows 8 against iOS. The biggest one being you can switch to a full desktop.

Well, it’s a tablet.

At this point, I don’t have a convincing line of argument. If Frank Shaw has one, I’d love to hear it. It’s a tricky situation Microsoft has itself in. Bringing a suite like Office which clearly is a reason to sell Windows 8 tablet on the iPad or not. If Microsoft does, they are shooting themselves in the foot.

Let’s talk about Kinectimals for iOS. According to Kotaku, the iOS version does everything the WP7 version can do. And it supports the iPad too. Microsoft is now making a strong case for an Xbox in an Apple household. When Microsoft demonstrated WP7 and Xbox making sweet love together it made a statement; a statement that you should invest in Microsoft’s living room ecosystem. Now that Microsoft supports the same functionality on iOS, give me one good reason to buy a Windows Phone device if I own an iPhone?

Now that Microsoft supports full capabilities in one app, it’ll make Microsoft look foolish if they don’t for all games. And if they bring full Kinect/Xbox integration to iOS, they are pretty much shooting themselves in the foot regarding Windows Phone 7’s major USP. It’s a lose-lose situation for Microsoft.

Let’s talk about SkyDrive. Microsoft introduced a SkyDrive app for the iOS. SkyDrive team’s single best decision yet. I tried to convince my university’s IT department to endorse SkyDrive over Dropbox. (Live Mesh and free account for each Exchange backed @syr.edu user.) A snappy response I got was, “Does it have Android and iOS clients like Dropbox?” I did not respond. Now I will. The iOS app looks promising, it makes SkyDrive useful for iOS users; it is the WP7 app that has me baffled. It is useless. Given the native integration in WP7, the SkyDrive app offers pretty much nothing to me. I’ll cut my rant short, here’s what I need:

  1. The ability to upload an email attachment (PDF file) to my SkyDrive from my phone
  2. Access to my stuff at devices.live.com and the ability to move around files in there

Till Microsoft can’t provide these, the SkyDrive app has no use for me (and I’d say majority of the WP7 users who are aware of the native integration). Microsoft cloud promise with SkyDrive and Live Mesh is a broken promise since access to content at devices.live.com is limited. The WP7 app Microsoft released is so lame that the only plausible explanation is them trying to avoid the shit storm of

Microsoft released a SkyDrive app for iOS, leaves WP7 users wanting…

An attempt to not shoot themselves in the foot but given that they aren’t doing enough to give me access to devices.live.com, any announcement around SkyDrive is shot in their foot.