09:52 AM

Microsoft Office For iPad Nears Release?

Microsoft appears close to debuting a version of its Office productivity suite for Apple's iPad.

10 iPad Annoyances, Solved
10 iPad Annoyances, Solved
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
iPad news app The Daily says it has spent some time with Microsoft Office for the Apple iPad. Though Microsoft has been ambivalent about plans to bring its productivity suite to the world's most popular tablet, The Daily believes that the software will be submitted to Apple for approval soon and released to the app-purchasing public in mere weeks.

According to The Daily, the application suite adopts a user interface similar to that of Microsoft's OneNote service, though it also shows hints of the Metro UI. Specifically, it resembles the look and feel of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform and the forthcoming Windows 8 platform.

What can you do with it? Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files can be created and edited both locally and online. The Daily doesn't say anything about integration with Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud-based storage product.

Microsoft is not working on a similar version of Office for Google's Android platform, though it is preparing a new version of OneNote for iOS that will also adopt the Metro UI.

[ Read Kindle Fire Vs. iPad 2: Top Tablet Troubles. ]

That's where The Daily's info ends, but ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley picked up the story and shared more details.

Foley believes Microsoft Office for the iPad will resemble Office 15 for Windows On ARM, which Microsoft has shown off recently. It would include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. Foley also noted, however, that Office 15 for Windows isn't scheduled for release until closer to the end of the calendar year, which makes the likelihood of an imminent tablet release appear to be less solid.

Foley points out that Microsoft CFO Peter Klein said last week, "Microsoft believes it has a 'great tablet experience with Office,'" though he didn't specify on which platform.

Last, Foley speculates that the picture of Office on the iPad published by The Daily hints that the "application suite" might be nothing more than remote access to Office via a tool similar to Microsoft's OnLive Desktop app.

Bottom line here is that Microsoft has not announced that it is bringing Office to the iPad. Should it? Some question why Microsoft would support a competing platform, but application sales are application sales, no matter the platform. If Microsoft's customers are asking for Office on tablets (and specifically the iPad) Microsoft could kick out a version for the iPad while it takes the time necessary to develop a more powerful version for Windows 8.

Today's technology should make it possible to engage students in new and unique ways, but tight budgets and aging infrastructure mean that's not always possible. In our Education's Technology Dilemma report, find out how two public school districts are using technology in innovative ways to close the gap between growing expectations and shrinking budgets. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
3/14/2012 | 5:01:21 PM
re: Microsoft Office For iPad Nears Release?
Back in the day, when every organization and most every individual used Office, it helped to sell PCs. Folks didn't want Macs unless they could generate Office documents that would port from home to work and vice versa. Data Viz made sure that every PDA under the sun could handle Office files.

We all know that those days are over. Google Docs, Open Office, iWorks, etc. can all read and write documents that are compatible with the office format to a very high degree. People and even corporations are jumping ship in droves to these other platforms. Those using smartphones and tablets have numerous options as well.

Microsoft knows that too; they aren't blind. Yet it's in their corporate DNA to act as though they get to call all the shots, even when it's no longer in their interest to do so. And Office is a very fine product and that still has a huge market share. There's a reason why the Office document format remains the lingua franca for all of the above products that I mentioned and others that I didn't mention.

My theory of how the interaction of these forces will play out? I agree that The Daily most likely saw something "real". It could have been an OnLive demo but I'm betting that there's also a test version of Office for iOS. For now, it's vaporware. Microsoft will likely release a version of Office for Windows 8 for tablets first. They'll make a point of this in their ad campaign. Finally, the actual software that you use at work on your tablet. Blah blah blah.

Office won't be enough of a driver to launch Windows tablets though. At best it will attract some diehard users who would have gone Windows anyway. Once the new tablets find their level, then look for Windows to offer an iOS solution whether it's an app or a great implementation of OnLive or both. They will realize-just as they did with Macs-that it's better to make money from app sales than it is to let a competitor's products succeed and get nothing from it.

Alas by the time we get Office for Windows on the iPad, it will be even less relevant than it is now. Too bad so sad.
User Rank: Apprentice
2/21/2012 | 5:28:39 PM
re: Microsoft Office For iPad Nears Release?
I'm sure that ab Office iOS app will do very well however, it's not something I'm interested in. I've never had a problem running Google Docs on iOS, or any other major OS for that matter, and don't plan on paying any future MS Office App much attention.

I think the thing that interests me most is MS's dedication to that Metro theme. I'm not a big fan of it. I really felt that it was clumsy (or maybe I mean awkward) in the Windows 8 betas. Although I'm not a fan of it, I am very curious to see how the general public will receive it once it's released.

Thanks for keeping us up to date on this, IW!
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of July 24, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.