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Microsoft Office Coming (Eventually) to the iPhone?

We seen both mobile players, QuickOffice and Docs2Go announce upcoming Word and Excel editing suites for the iPhone, but rumors of the king of the desktop doc jungle, Microsoft itself, entering the space remain just that: rumors. For now. TechCrunch has the latest:

I’m here at the Web 2.0 Expo keynote, where Stephen Elop, President of Microsoft Business Division, hinted that we may be seeing Microsoft Office make its way to the iPhone some time soon. After his interviewer Tim O’Reilly caught him on the comment, Elop backtracked a bit, stating “not yet, keep watching”. But it’s clear that an iPhone version of Office is on his mind.

So, do we need Big Redmond to give us Office for iPhone, or are the already-announced mobile players enough? Could they provide something no one else outside of Microsoft ever could? Like... Clippy for iPhone?!

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • After migrating everything to OpenOffice, I see nothing to lure me back to Microsoft Office. I certainly won't be spending any time editing documents on the phone, so viewer programs are all that I need.
    I just can't see this as a big draw. Anyone having any real need to edit documents on a device this small and with a keyboard this finicky would be better served by a netbook or small notebook.
  • Microsofts Mac team make some pretty good software. I'd love to see Office on the iPhone, and I'd certainly buy it over the other companies which have spoken about it. I'd like to see them bring MSN too!
  • Interesting idea, but useless unless I can connect to my iPhone with a BT keyboard.
  • I agree that MS on the Mac is pretty good. However, I'm betting that Apple will release iLife and iWork on the iPhone when they announce the next iPhone and show us more of 3.0. Those programs already allow you to edit Office dox. I wouldn't be shocked if they add iWork to MobileMe as well - not that this hasn't been rumored before.
  • No! What we really REALLY want is iWork in the iPhone. At least Pages + Numbers, oh plz.
  • I think this (and other Office apps to come) provides mostly a "cool" factor. I think most people who buy them will rarely use them for editing, but will just like having them on their phones (and I say "most" so I don't mean everyone won't use it). I just don't believe the majority of people are unable to wait until later to use their desktop apps.
    But, I guess it's still nice to see REAL business apps (rather than crap) being developed, that's for sure.
  • Steve: I never thought I'd do serious email or web browsing on a mobile device a few years back. The iPhone has changed everything, perhaps a genuinely usable office program is the platforms next conquest.
  • I agree that a BT keyboard is the key to success here. If we can get such a peripheral, a lot of people could make do without a computer for some applications.
  • I really want to see iWork for the iPhone.
    What is the difference between quickoffice , docs2go and microsoft office ?
  • P.S. That is the funniest picture I ever seen on top of a article on this site :)
  • I store all my school files on my iPhone to read when I'm at work or just in between classes. I would definitely use the editor to make changes to notes or to finish an assignment on the go. But as far as doing an entire assignment, I'll wait till I'm at a desktop. I think the small screen size and constantly having to move around the document would be more annoying than the keyboard. I'm pretty good with this keyboard (hoo-ray for unlimited SMS plans), but I can't imagine how annoying excel would be without a bigger screen and a mouse...or a tab key for that matter.
  • @frog:
    I never thought I’d do serious email or web browsing on a mobile device a few years back
    I still don't do "serious" email or web browsing. Its all mostly casual or spur of the moment browsing, and some limited family email. Can't see me handling much company related mail on the platform.
    Great for travel, and keeping in touch, but miserable to type on.
    What can change that?
    If you install the Google app, you will find the voice recognition used for the search is uncannily accurate. (and the monkey has me giggling like a school girl).
    When Google and/or Apple offer that service for filling in any field (or writing email), then we will have a quantum leap in usability. The keyboard is the ball and chain around this phone's left leg.
  • Nothing wrong with the keyboard. It's great.
  • icebike: problem is that app only works for North American accents, and language. Other accents, and there various slang are a disaster on that app. The keyboard is one if the iPhones strong points!
  • I don't think these will be installable apps, just web based tools. MS is planning an online version of Office and they have already stated that it will be compatible with Firefox and Safari. Making it work on the iPhone shouldn't be a big issue.
  • I have absolutely no problem typing on the iPhone. The only problems I have with it are when the freakin backspace key sticks and deletes a line and a half and when the shift key randomly turns itself on after some backspaces. Well, that and it's making me worse at typing on a regular keyboard...
  • Web-based Microsoft Office 14 WILL RUN on the iPhone. See for details.