Office for iPad and Android – latest news

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Reports that Office for iPad and even Android are due later this year.

Boy Genius Report is reporting that Microsoft will release versions of Microsoft Office for both Apple iPad’s and Android devices.

By this rumor, Redmond is aiming for a November 2012 release date. This would put it in line with the release of the next Office – aka Office 15.

Back in February, The Daily said that Office for iPad was ‘expected in coming weeks’. Microsoft firmly denied the story and said the accompanying photo was a fake. Three months later and there’s no sign of Office for iPad.

Office Watch has been reading MS Office rumors for more than a decade and we’ll believe Office for iPad or Android when we see it – not before.

Microsoft would prefer that people switch to their upcoming line of Windows 8 tablets which will have some version of Office 15. The corporate hope is that the lure of ‘real’ Office will get people to buy a Windows 8 tablet.

However they can’t ignore the popularity of Apple and Android devices. Microsoft’s fear is that someone will create a compelling Office suite rival based around non-Windows tablets. There are some apps to edit Office documents but none have become very popular. If that changes Microsoft Office will have a competitor. Microsoft has always been ruthless in beating down any attempt to grab a share of the Office pie.

Making even a trimmed down version of Office for Apple iOS or Android is a big job. Developers would have to start from scratch on an entirely different operating system. Look at how Microsoft struggles to keep Office for Mac up to date.

Microsoft will have a team working on Office for other tablets but it could be shut down at any time. Such ‘exploratory’ teams happen at Redmond. Many years ago MS developers worked on Office programs running in the Java environment until the project was shuttered as unnecessary and impractical.

Don’t discount that these rumors are deliberate feeds from Microsoft. They’d want to deter any company thinking of making an office suite rival for tablets. Anyone thinking of making an iOS/Android suite won’t want to invest in something that Microsoft could squash like a bug.

Any Office for iPad/Android would be a scaled down version of Microsoft Office without anything like a full set of features. It would be similar to, and maybe based on, Office for Web Apps.


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