Whew, that took a long time! It was always inevitable that Microsoft was going to bring its famed Office Suite to mobile devices, since it’s too lucrative a market to miss. Still, the Redmond-based Windows maker is now said to be finally working on ports for tablets on both iOS and Android, a foreshadowing – we presume – to a Metro iteration in a future Windows 8 tablet.
In the absence of Office, there have been plenty of valiant attempts at bringing the word-processing, spreadsheet-creating, presentation-pushing tool set to the popular tablet devices, and while many have managed to do rather well on Android’s sleuth of tablets, a peek at the iOS App Store charts suggests iPad users are sticking with Apple’s very own Keynote, Numbers and Pages trio.
By releasing OneNote for iPad earlier this year, Microsoft outlined its intentions to bring its famous desktop apps to the mobile spectrum, and although Windows 8’s progress has been the software maker’s main distraction, Office for iPad was always going to be the natural progression.
That said, it’s rather surprising that the report, courtesy of BGR, reckons an Android tablet release will also arrive this November. Citing a tipster, both versions will apparently arrive in time for the holiday season, although given that Android releases are nearly always a significant period of time behind that of iOS, that one will have to be seen to be believed.
Still, it’s an exciting prospect for those lost without Word, PowerPoint and Excel, and while Apple will be wary of the effect it may have on sales of the aforementioned iWork suite programs, it will certainly help to market its domineering iPad as the perfect supplement to academic success.
The BGR source is said to have seen Office running on an iPad first-hand, and the report also toys with the idea of an iteration being released for iPhone and iPod touch, since the source specifically stipulated the loading screen stating "Office for iOS," as opposed to simply for iPad.
As a Microsoft Office and iOS user – one of many millions – I find this news incredibly encouraging, although given the price of the desktop version of Office, I do have reservations about the potential price point.
The experience will likely be as rich as the full version, thus I suspect Microsoft will be charging top dollar for the privilege of using it. If it does turn out to be the ultimate productivity app as it should be, I sincerely hope Microsoft doesn’t "do a TomTom" and charge a ludicrous amount.