Apple, Google, or Microsoft? Your platform will dictate your office app

Signs point to an Apple-only, Google-only, and Microsoft-only set of productivity apps for their respective platforms

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But Google bought Quickoffice in June 2012, which is when Quickoffice Pro for iPhone and Android smartphones appears to have been abandoned. Like Apple, Google is not too interested in cross-platform compatibility. Yes, apps that feed Google's search business are available for practically every platform, but the same is not true for apps that serve other business interests at Google.

When it bought Quickoffice, Google killed the poorly executed Quickoffice Connect product that integrated Quickoffice better with OS X and Windows, for example. At the same time, it delivered earlier this year an offline mode for Quickoffice on its Chrome OS laptops, essentially bolstering the poor editing tools in its Google Drive service. The new Quickoffice app clearly cements it to Google's services, making it too a separate ecosystem at least on the document storage side of things.

We seem to be moving to a world where you'll realistically have a choice of just iWork on iOS and OS X, Quickoffice tied to Google account holders, and Office on Windows and (in a limited version) OS X. (Yes, Microsoft has Office for Android smartphones, the iPhone, and Windows Phone, but it's horrible on Windows Phone, Android, and iOS and can't be used seriously.) If this scenario plays out, Google Drive will be the barely functional cross-platform "solution" for non-Google platforms, just as the Web versions of Office 365 and iWork will be for the non-Microsoft and non-Apple platforms, respectively. And cloud document access becomes tied to your platform of choice, with the awkward Open In method being the only way in iOS to use your cloud storage service of choice.

If that's how it goes, we'll lose an important asset: independent apps that work across platforms. Maybe Google will refresh its Quickoffice app for the iPhone after iOS 7 launches, and these fears will not come to pass. But the larger trend doesn't give me much hope that the future will be increased platform isolation, dividing the world into increasingly chasmed application camps.

This article, "Apple, Google, or Microsoft? Your platform will dictate your office app," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Smart User blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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