Microsoft released its Office 365 product for iOS earlier this month. Why would Microsoft release one of its prized possessions, a strong reason why someone would consider switching to Windows Phone, for the iPhone? It’s the same reason Google has put Gmail, Maps, Voice, Now and other Google services on the iPhone. Let’s call it the Trojan Horse strategy. Here’s how it works.

As Microsoft, I give iPhone users access to one of the most compelling reasons that they would want to try a Windows Phone. I show them how great the experience is, as well as hint at how much better it is on Windows Phone. In other words, you can still be productive using Office 365 on an iPhone, but you can be a lot more productive using Office 365 on a Windows Phone.

It’s the same strategy that Google has employed by releasing all of its prized applications on the iPhone. Besides maintaining a persona of openness, it also shows users how good (and in some cases, such as Maps, how much better) the experience is on Android. In this way, when you switch from an iPhone device to and Android device, provided you’ve already been using Google’s tools, you already feel right at home. There’s really no reason to turn and look back, because all of your key information is already available to you.

It makes total sense that Microsoft would employ this strategy, especially since they are behind in the mobile game and need a way to catch up. I would suspect that you will see them also release Office 365 for Android as well. Why not? No reason to give that user base a taste of the good stuff as well.

In fact, I would contend that the more Apple hoards its software applications, the more it is going to handicap itself in the mobile market. As an Android user, I’m not able to test the key Apple applications, like Mail and Maps, to see how they compare to the Android versions. Apple claims it is doing this to protect its brand and ecosystem, but in effect, it is ignoring a marketing channel that it could be using to lure more users to its platform – one that I’m sure is cheaper than all of the money it spends on television advertising.

So don’t think that Microsoft was being nice by releasing Office 365 for the iPhone. They have an ulterior motive in mind. One that involves getting people to start using Windows Phone.