Microsoft Office for iPad might land as soon as March 27!

Microsoft Office for iPad might land as soon as March 27!

Microsoft Office is tragically late in arriving for the most popular platform in post-PC computing — the iPad. But, in hopes that better-late-for-never works better for Microsoft this time than it has in the past, it looks like they might finally be ready to let the Apple tablet-optimized version of their productivity suite loose. Perhaps as soon as March 27. And perhaps by none other than brand-new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Mary Jo Folly writing for ZDNet:

According to several sources of mine, Microsoft's latest timetable calls for the company to finally introduce the long-rumored Microsoft Office for iPad suite of applications before the end of March 2014. This March 27 event sounds like it might be the time and place.

The suite for the iPad is rumored to include only Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, and possibly no other Office client apps. It is expected to be downloaded from the Apple Store but most likely to require a Micrososoft Office 365 subscription, similar to the way Office Mobile for iPhone works.

So here's the question — is it too little, too late, or is it finally the Office for iPad you've been waiting for?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Microsoft Office for iPad might land as soon as March 27!


Too late as far as I am concerned. With Pages, Numbers and Quick Office and Readdle products MS have missed the boat and my $$.

The subscription requirement would be a real put off for many customers, myself included. I have office via the home user program, so it's just not an option.

Same here. And what? No Access, Visio, and Project? ;)

(In response to only including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote)

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If it were $10-15 per app or $30-40 for all 3, and DIDN'T require a subscription, I'd consider using it... But I'll pass if a subscription is required. Too many decent alternatives, including from Apple.

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If it does not require a 365 subscription, I'd be interested. I need full Office compatability but I cannot justify a software subscription. Purchase for a reasonable cost, yes.

I don't lease my car, I don't rent my home, and I have no interest in renting software. None. Plus my company won't allow any corporate data stored in the cloud.

Pages is fantastic so have no need for MS word but there is a no substitute for Excel. Need to have a paid version that can be used without Office 365 in my opinion. I would like Excel on my iPad but I don't want to pay a monthly fee for it. Would rather pay up front for it.

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So if it requires a office 365 subscription will it allow you to create/edit documents offline?

I have the WiFi Only iPad and there will be times when I have no network access.

Although I'm guessing that most home users don't probably need the power (bloat) of Microsoft Office, I actually think it's more affordable than it has been in the past.

A look at this site shows the stand-alone version (without the 365 subscription) is $139 for a single PC. The subscription gives you 5 PCs / Macs and Mobile versions for $99 / year. This basically includes all updates as they are released.

I would imagine that MS is going to start releasing incremental and feature changes more frequently from what we have seen so far. I don't really think it's *that* bad of a deal as far as one-time purchase vs subscription goes.

(And for someone sitting on the Apple dock, stuck with a toe in the MS Windows / Office water, it's pretty much a no-brainer. Also assuming that anyone using the business versions of Office 365 get this as an option for their business plans as's great for anyone wanting to use their Mac but stuck in a Microsoft-centric business.)

Since it should also allow for offline editing, it may be the case that it will function as a reader for Office files that get sent in the mail. At least I hope it can be used to open and work on local documents without the subscription or they are not going to get many users.

After a while, and after many documents opened in Office for iOS, eventually the user will buy into the cloud portion anyway. It's a good strategy for Microsoft to try and capture the users that are currently on iOS, but spending a lot of time throwing Office documents back and forth.

If they end up pissing off these same users with a sub-standard or limited product, then they will probably lose.

I really want Excel but will definately not subscribe. For the right price I am prepared to buy it, but it better not be too expensive.

4 generations of ipad later...

This story writes itself doesn't it!

It's a bug bear of mine why companies don't make their software available on competing platforms, what is the point exactly? What they don't want to earn money or what... Suddenly the world was spinning backwards

Who cares? Office has missed the boat. Nobody uses its esoteric features, it's expensive as hell, there are too many alternatives, and there has been for years while they warmed themselves in front of the fire.

Stick it, Microsoft. Tell us just one reason, Renee; and no, compatibility doesn't count. No customer I have ever had could even spell Pivot Table, and have no idea my documents are coming from iWork.

Will it ship with a unicorn and Santa Clause too?! Who cares, I moved on from Office years ago! They've waited so long now that, even if someone was holding out for it, they've already found an alternative or just returned their iPad for a MacBook Air.

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Too late. For me, anyway.

Four years since iPad's debut and about a bazillion people have found out that Word is not the sum total of word processing, and that spreadsheets are possible by means other than Excel. iWork is included with the price of a new iPad now, so Office would have to be awfully good and awfully cheap to get people's attention.

Further, Office is just not fundamentally a mobile app. It's mainly about hard copy and local data, and those are not the priorities they used to be even on desktops. Take away a faithful Pad Person's copy of Evernote and he'll beat you with a stick, but I'm not sure Office has the appeal some think it does.