At its recent
WWDC 2018 event in San Jose, California,
Apple announced its next macOS update, entitled
Mojave, would include significant revisions to the App Store on the Mac platform. In the revisions, the Mac App Store front end is to be brought in line with the updated look iOS 11 devices received last year. The availability of downloadable software will also improve to include titles from some big publishers, including Microsoft, which until now has not listed any products on the store.
CEO Tim Cook did much to talk up the success of the App Store during the event, noting the platform now attracts half a billion visitors a week and revenue distributed to developers has topped
$100bn in its almost 10 years of operation. However, the Mac App Store has languished far behind the iOS App Store in popularity, undoubtedly in part due to the fact that industry-standard products such as Office 365 have only been accessible directly from Microsoft or other outlets. This omission has meant that not only is the Mac App Store less necessary as a place to obtain important software, but Office and other commonly used business programs like Adobe Lightroom suffer from an unwieldy update process on Mac and are not easily shareable.
By tying Microsoft products to a Mac user’s Apple account, the Store gains traction as a more useful destination, while Microsoft can curtail a certain amount of support for Apple users. Apple itself also presumably would gain an amount of revenue from Office 365 sales. Ultimately, however, the move should help Mac customers who use Microsoft products by allowing the update process to be more simply handled by the operating system and storing more of their purchase history in one place.
So far, it is not yet totally certain when Microsoft will allow Apple to list Office 365 on the Mac App Store, with speculation there are terms to be worked out and negotiated by both companies. Microsoft is busy preparing Office 2019, which is currently in preview for some business users and will only be able to be installed on Windows 10 PCs. Windows 8 and earlier users will either miss out on its enhancements or need to upgrade. When exactly Mac users will see an update and find out which versions of macOS it will work with is not yet known. The current version of macOS (High Sierra) will run reasonably comfortably on Macs manufactured as long ago as 2009, while more Windows 10 users would consider using such an old machine to be out of the question.
There is also the issue of revenue distribution. Microsoft lists applications from the Office 365 suite on the iOS App Store as a free download. It provides In-App Purchases to obtain an Office subscription, from which Apple can take a 30% cut. However, it is possible that subscriptions bought directly from Microsoft will be applicable to copies of Office 365 downloaded from the Mac App Store, circumventing Apple’s ability to take its percentage.
For more information in the latest developments in Office 365 and other Microsoft products such as SharePoint, get in touch with us at WM Reply. Our friendly customer service team is ready to help your business.