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  1. Context Setting: How I Use OneNote
  2. Shortcomings of OneNote for iPad
  3. Speculation About Microsoft's OneNote for iPad Goals
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Speculation About Microsoft's OneNote for iPad Goals

Speculation About Microsoft's OneNote for iPad Goals

Overall, as a happy user of OneNote 2010, I'm disappointed with several of the design decisions that led to the initial release of OneNote for iPad.

I suspect that the design reflects two possible higher-level Microsoft goals:

  • First, for people who use OneNote 2010 and also use an iPad, Microsoft needed to minimize defections to Evernote, so it may have rushed to get OneNote for iPad to market, limiting the product's feature set in order to minimize the development cycle. If that's the case, I'm hopeful that a far more feature-rich version of OneNote for iPad will appear at some point in the future.
  • A second possible goal that may have guided the design of OneNote for iPad is Microsoft's need to establish clear competitive differentiation for OneNote on Windows 8 tablets (expected sometime in the second half of 2012). I assume that OneNote on Windows 8 tablets (Intel-based tablets, at least) will include the full OneNote 2010 feature set—at some point, possibly even some of the compelling capabilities envisioned in Microsoft's innovative (but unfortunately short-lived) Courier prototype.

If Microsoft continues to under-invest in OneNote for the iPad, with the hope that the overall market perception will be that the iPad is a super-sized iPhone while Windows 8 tablets are fully-featured PCs, I think that strategy will only serve to drive more OneNote 2010 users (including me) to shift their emphasis to Evernote. I'll revisit the broader OneNote/Evernote competitive landscape in my next article.

As a final consideration for people who want to leverage more of the OneNote feature set on an iPad than is available in OneNote for iPad, you should also consider MobileNoter, a non-Microsoft client application for iPhone, iPad, and Android clients that's more ambitious, in terms of porting OneNote capabilities, than Microsoft's own non-PC Windows OneNote apps.

Peter O'Kelly is an independent software industry analyst/consultant focused on topics at the intersection of collaboration and information architecture. He has worked in product and strategy roles for Lotus Development Corp., IBM, Groove Networks, Macromedia, and Microsoft, and he previously worked as an analyst/consultant for Burton Group and the Patricia Seybold Group. Read Peter's blog at pbokelly.blogspot.com.

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