Reports: Microsoft Office for Android, iOS Early in 2013?
Expect Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to deliver Office Mobile for Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone and iPad and devices running Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android OS — platforms standing in the way of the software maker’s own Windows Phone — perhaps as soon as the close of Q1 2013, according to a number of new reports.
Office Mobile rumors aren’t new — a report in mid-October on a Czech web site quoting Microsoft product manager Petr Bobek as confirming native iOS and Android Office editions slated for early next year subsequently was refuted by the vendor as untrue. Still, even though Microsoft has taken a page out of Apple’s book and not said boo about it, this time the chatter is said to be different, according to one report, mainly because the speculation evidently stems from in-the-know sources.
According to the report, Microsoft’s Office Mobile initially will be offered as free applications, such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel, and will require that users have a Microsoft account to access — similar to how SkyDrive and OneNote currently operate. As the apps launch, users will gain access to view data but not to alter it. The apps will be read-only — iPhone, iPad and Android device users won’t be able to make changes to docs, spreadsheets or presentations — but with an Office 365 subscription editing and more functionality can be enabled, although not to a level that matches the full desktop functionality of Microsoft Office. Businesses will be able to buy Office 365 subscriptions for employees, the report said.
A key part of this equation — how much Microsoft might charge users to activate extended functionality for Mobile Office — goes left unsaid at this point, but, obviously, it will be a considerable factor in how well the suite is received. Still, it’s a bit challenging — actually, more than challenging; baffling, to be more precise — to find the usefulness of read-only Office Mobile apps, irrespective of Office 365 subscriptions even at a ridiculously favorable price, that adds oxygen to the basic app. Who’d want it anyway?