It was a similar story with Word Perfect, their failure to move to a GUI basically handed MS Word market dominance. Their belated port of the DOS UI was very awkward at first, and the move to 32-bit in 95 was the final straw.
The time I saw MS Word deployed on a Xenix box it didn't work terribly well - was fine on the system console but was barely usable on serial terminals as the make of terminals (Wyse something or other) had Alt keys which did nothing. And, as far as I recall, the Alt key was pretty important in Word.
Of course, this wasn't Microsoft's fault - rather the idiotic salesman who had sold all of this without checking with anyone whether it would work or not.
Borland certainly did, but they also had plenty of bad luck.
Just as they were getting close to finishing Quattro Pro, their head offices were hit by the 1989 World Series Earthquake (they were very close to the epicenter).
Apparently, many of their computers survived the earthquake itself but were rained on by the damaged sprinkler system and covered in mushy ceiling tile debris. They commandeered a tennis court to try to dry off, clean and revive as many of the computers as they could
They did end up releasing Quattro Pro, but then were soon sued by Lotus.
Windows Phone leper colony reporting in. I got a bright idea to take a spreadsheet that I use for tracking my workouts and uploading it to skydrive so that I could punch my workout in after I finished. It turns out the mobile version of Excel doesnt support a number of formulas and macros like the desktop version does. I think i read that Excel for Office on RT will have the same limitations. I will probably end up getting the ultrabook version of Surface (sans keyboard) for this reason and for pen input for OneNote.
There are a ton of people out there who used to think they needed office, and have been using iOS happily without it. Microsoft made a huge mistake not releasing Office for iOS as soon as they could -- these people would all have bought it and remained convinced it was indispensable.
Now, most of them won't care (and probably figured out that Office wasn't actually very good at its core functionality, like word-processing and creating presentations, compared to cheaper, easier-to-use alternatives). In any event, the strangehold MS had over the enterprise where even people who didn't want Windows were forced to use it, is broken.
I think the parent commenter was merely stating that a large portion of Office users realize that what they're doing isn't "serious" - despite it being critical to their uses, it's something that doesn't require the full power of a desktop Office suite (and thus can be done without Microsoft).
Fact is, even Surface won't be as mobile as something that fits in your pocket - and I seriously doubt Microsoft can or even wants to make (perhaps a stripped down) Office into a $10 smartphone app.
I don't think MS needs to lower the price that much for businesses, given that a full licence of Office probably costs about that. Checks website, oh it's $499 for 1 user, 2PCs (obviously bulk discounts will be massive, but still).
For most of those people, it's simply the only software they're moderately competent with. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I wonder how much Excel has ended up shaping our world because of the point of view it implies.
I wasn't precise enough, I meant financial departments within companies of all areas. Finance as in banking of course has its special tools - but I would be surprised if Excel is not used for anything quick and dirty.
MS Excel is not precise enough in a lot of areas, you can't compare it to something like SPSS for statistics for example - but it's good enough.