Microsoft Prepares Its Attack On Evernote

Microsoft Satya NadellaMicrosoftMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft is finally getting ready to launch a Mac version of it’s note-taking app, OneNote and rumour has it that it will be free.

At the same time, Microsoft is expected to give away a Windows desktop version of OneNote for free, report both ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley and The Verge’s Tom Warren.

These wouldn’t be the first free versions of OneNote. But it still represents Microsoft’s softening attitude towards free Office apps, and towards Macs and iPads.

For instance, Windows 8 users can already get a free version of OneNote. Plus, a freebie cloud version is available to anyone with a Microsoft OneDrive account. OneDrive offers free versions of all the Office apps, though these aren’t the full-featured apps that you get when you pay for Office.

So if this free version of OneNote for Mac and Windows is the full-fledged deal that currently costs $US70 as a stand-alone product, that would be a big shift for Microsoft.

It would show that Microsoft is willing to do battle with Evernote on Evernote’s successful freemium turf. If Microsoft had done this long ago, it could have crushed Evernote from the get-go, instead of watching it grow into a company valued at perhaps $US3 billion and marching toward an IPO.

Here’s another indication that Microsoft’s attitude is changing. iPad for Office is also said to be finally about ready to ship and could be out even before Microsoft launches the touch-friendly version of Office for Windows 8, reports Foley.

After years of stalling and foot dragging, Office for iPad is expected to be out in the first half of 2014, so sometime in the next couple of months.

There’s no word how Microsoft might try a freemium model with Office for iPad but it’s likely to be quasi-free for those that buy a subscription to Office 365. Office 365 Home Premium costs $US99 a year and lets you install Office on up to five machines, Macs or Windows. A student version costs $US80 for four years and lets you install it on two devices. With that subscription, you can get a free app called Office Mobile that lets you use Office on your iPhone and Android phones.

Seems likely that Microsoft would simply support iPad as an option when buying Office 365, or update Office Mobile for the iPad.

Microsoft declined comment.

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