Microsoft Office for iPad might actually beat Windows 8 version to market

Microsoft Office for iPad; apparently it's alive and well and might actually come to market faster than a dedicated Windows 8 version. Crazy talk? Not according to Mary Jo Foley over at All About Microsoft:

According to one of my contacts, Ballmer OK'd the suggestion by the Office team that they'd bring Office for iPad to market as soon as it was ready, even though that would likely mean before the Windows 8 version.

It's at this point a lot of us ask ourselves whether we even still care? After all, Apple has some decent alternatives of its own for iPad in Numbers, Pages and Keynote. Then we've got Google Drive, Quickoffice, and a number of other third-party office-type solutions. And if we really needed it, we've likely found an alternative we're happy with, right? Further still, Foley goes on to add that she's heard that Office 365 would likely be involved, as it is in the current iPhone version.

Truth is there are those folks that need Microsoft Office, particularly in Enterprise. And a lot of them. So there's still likely a market for it. What's interesting is the thought that Microsoft would put an iPad version out before a dedicated version for its own touchscreen optimized devices.

We might be seeing Office for iPad, finally, in the first half of 2014. Too little, too late? Or are you still waiting oh so patiently for it?

Source: All About Microsoft

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Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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Reader comments

Microsoft Office for iPad might actually beat Windows 8 version to market


The iWork suite is great for me. I especially like the way I can send Pages, Numbers, and even Keynote as Microsoft equivalents. The question is does Microsoft Outlook get to go on the iPad for those prefer Outlook?

Considering what Office 2011 does to my MBP, I'm rather trepidatious with a version that goes onto weaker hardware.

Enterprises would lap it up though!

With the way MS has blundered on Win 8 and failed to get Office for iOS out to market after all these years I'd be real hesitant....if I were even interested any more. And then there's the price MS is gonna ask for it, which could be a deal breaker for many. Especially after so many have long moved on. Enterprise may be about all that's left to them now.
I'm happy with iWorks for my needs. MS Outlook may be of interest, but there are a number of variables for me there too.

It's not all that unprecedented, if you recall Microsoft released an iOS version of Messenger before Windows Mobile... in fact they never released a version of Messenger for WM, much to the disappointment of WM users.

It's 2014. The average person has figured out by now that they don't need Office, since there are so many great alternatives at little to no cost.

It will undoubtedly be popular, only way I will use it is if I don't have to fork over more money than what I already paid for my office 365 subscription (4 years for $80, I got the university edition which is the main reason bought it). Another thing is I only use OneNote on my iPad, which is a great app. I use everything else on my mac, not sure if I would like using excel or word on an iPad.

It would be funny if it came out on iPad first, considering not long ago they weren't gonna release it for iPad at all and one of their main campaigns for selling the surface was the iPad didn't have office. Would releasing office for iPad hurt their surface 2 sales?

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Actually, not entirely true. Steve Ballmer, when asked last year whether or not there would be a touch-enabled version of Office, responded by saying it was being worked on. He further said they wanted to release it for Win8/WP first because he felt they'd be able to get it to market for the MS platform quicker.
In response, he was asked about an iOS version, to which he replied there would indeed be a touch-enabled version of Office for iOS, and that it would likey follow close behind the Win8/WP version; in fact, he gave a goal date of September, 2014 to have it out for iOS.

If it's hitting iOS first, then great; in some ways, that makes sense, the iPad is a natural extension for what is unarguably the #1 Office suite. Windows 8/RT on the Surface can already run Office; it's just not touch-enabled, so I don't see a huge demand for it on MS's own platform. Sure, you've got decent real estate on the 5-inch+ Nokia phones, which is enough to use Office passibly, but otherwise, any kind of serious use on a phone with a 4-inch screen is difficult because the screen is just not big enough to let you see enough of the document you're working on without having to scroll it constantly.

Finally, I don't see Microsoft charging their Office 365 customers for essentially what would be an upgrade to the existing Office 365 client on iOS; the whole point of the Office 365 subscription model is you always have the most current version of the software that's been released at no additional charge.

I doubt they can make Office a worthwhile value proposition on the iPad. For plain documents, any number of applications can handle then well. For those who need more, the things that really make Office sing - things like object embedding, inter-app communication, or macros - are expressly forbidden by Apple on iOS.

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As far as I know, object embedding & macros is also forbidden when writing Metro / Modern UI apps. Only inter-app communication (AKA Contracts) exists on Windows RT. And that's not to say Apple will never implement inter-app communication on iOS.

I would like to be able to purchase Outlook only. And only if it featured full Exchange support. My company uses shared calendars, organizational forms libraries, shared folders, journals, you name it. Although I like quite a bit, I have to go to my laptop for these features which is less than optimal. I would love to be able to access all of the Outlook features from my iPad Air and I would pay whatever they want for it.

I still firmly believe that office is still the best productivity suite out there on the market. Bar none. What is will boil down to is cost. U can't beat free with Apple's suite.

Microsoft releasing Office on iPad now, feels a bit like RIM releasing BBM on the iPhone... Too little, too late given the number of well established competitors out there (Viber, WhatsApp & iWork, QickOffice etc). Even if it comes out it will be a v1.0 vs well developed apps!

Not tied to an office 365 requirement. I've got iWork, docs to go, and other I can use without yearly subscription or ridiculous up front cost. For free??? Sure, pay more than $5-10??? Way too little way too late!

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