Microsoft Office once again reportedly on its way to iOS

Microsoft Office may finally be making its way to iOS. Yes. Again. This time the rumors come courtesy of a press release from Microsoft’s Czech Republic team, as well as Microsoft product manager Petr Bobek. Tom Warren at The Verge got busy translating:

Microsoft product manager Petr Bobek has confirmed that the software maker is planning to release native iOS and Android versions of Office 2013 next year. Speaking at a press event in the Czech Republic earlier today, Bobek told Czech site IHNED that native apps will be made available from March 2013.

While Microsoft already has a number of apps for both iPhone and iPad, including OneNote and SkyDrive, most of the Office Suite has so far remained desktop-only. There have been rumors of release earlier this year, with many speculating that Office for iOS would debut with the iPad 3, but no such luck, and Microsoft denied the legitimacy of a photo of Office running on an iPad.

Many other developers on the App Store have tried to make replacements for Office, and Apple themselves have released their own iWork apps, but some consumers feel that the presence of Microsoft Office is necessary for them to consider the iPad a device on which they can work. With the launch of Windows RT, Office will finally be coming to tablets, and while Microsoft hopes for the success of Windows RT tablets, and with existing online versions of Office and Outlook, it may feel that it is prudent to put their software on devices that millions of consumers already own.

Still, how many tech companies would "announce" a major, transitional new product via the equivalent of a the deputy team dude in eastern Europe? Could you see Apple announcing Xcode for Windows via the lead designer in Latvaria? And they list Symbian as a supported operating system, which makes about as much sense as BlackBerry 7.

Either Microsoft's marketing communications are as out of whack as their branding, or somebody's going to have some explaining to do... Any bets on which one?

Source: Ihned.cz, via: The Verge

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Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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Reader comments

Microsoft Office once again reportedly on its way to iOS

10 Comments

Paraphrasing Scoble (his wife, really), 10 years ago, most people thought you needed MS Office to get "real work" done. The iPhone and iPad themselves were not the big blow to MS so much as the fact that years of their use has taught people that they can get actual productive work done without MS Office, or even a single MS product. Yes, there are still some uses where MS Office is the best choice, but it is no longer the reflexive must-have first choice. That is their real long-term loss, even if Win 8 partially stems the sales tide -- they have lost, and will never regain, that unassailable default position in every consumer's mind.

I disagree. In business it is still the reflexive must-have first choice, and business has always been Office's main focus, for obvious reasons, while Apple's focus is clearly on consumers. Like you say, Office is not always necessary, but it's still usually the best choice. And athough they are capable of it to some degree, I know of very few people who actually do productive work on tablets and phones. Reading emails and looking at presentations is about the most they ever do. They have become executive toys. Business uses vary from company to company of course, but in my rather typical office, from middle management on down, people who do the actual work executives make decisions on use Office.

You misunderstand me; it is not an Apple versus Microsoft thing at all. To throw in my two-bit anecdote against yours, I have seen more MS Office-free offices over the past year than I had in the previous 10 combined. It is still a small number, but the shift in perception is noticeable even among the pure MS shops:

2002: "MS Office is the *ONLY* thing for real work"
2012: "MS Office is the *BEST* thing for real work"

That is a subtle, but crucial, difference. MS Office still dominates, and I expect that to continue for a long time, because, as you say, it is still "usually the best choice." However, in 2002, perhaps 90% of potential consumers literally were unaware any other choice existed. In 2012, that number is far, far lower; far more people believe they can look elsewhere. True, most will still choose MS Office, but they choose it, rather than feel it is chosen for them. That is why Microsoft's position is not the unassailable one it was 10 years prior -- MS Office increasingly has to earn its position as a first choice, as opposed to being the only perceived choice. Good for us, to be sure, but a positional change Microsoft (any company in their position, really) would rather have avoided.

You are absolutely right. I'm starting to find myself creating basic to medium spreadsheets/word docs etc on my ipad in pages and numbers. Yes they're not as powerful, but the intuitiveness (if that's a word) actually makes them much faster and quicker to make a good looking document. And most will pick ease of use over anything else.

I absolutely care. If I had MS Office on my iPad I wouldn't have to take a laptop with me when I travel, which is at least one week a month. I still can't believe that they don't have an iOS app yet. The business development center in Microsoft has got to be losing their minds. If they could field this app they would have access to millions more potential customers. Repeat customers at that. I already have it on my work computer and personal Mac. I would buy it in a second.