Mary Jo Foley on Office for iOS

Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet.com the other day:

“A month ago, Microsoft execs basically confirmed Office for iPad exists, but said it wouldn’t be released until after Microsoft delivers its own, touch-first set of core Office apps, which I’ve been calling “Gemini.” 

I’ve been wondering whether Microsoft was simply sitting on Office for iPad, delaying it to give its own Surface tablets a leg up. A year ago, Microsoft’s ARM-based Surface RT shipped with Office RT bundled for free, and this October, the ARM-based Surface 2 shipped with Office RT plus Outlook RT, bundled for free. 

After digging a bit, I’ve heard from my sources that Microsoft’s “delay” in releasing both its own “Gemini” apps, as well as touch-centric versions for the iPad and Android tablets may be about a new and evolving product strategy as much (if not more than) about internal politics.”

Microsoft is clearly a company in desperate need of a strong corporate leader and visionary.

Quickoffice Coming Bundled With KitKat, Trouble for Microsoft Office?

Yesterday I was poking around the Google Android website for an updated version of their SDK, and stumbled across the KitKat features page.  Starting with Android 4.4 KitKat, Google will begin bundling their Quickoffice software into the update.

Quickoffice is Google’s mobile productivity office suite for the Android operating system.  With the current version of Quickoffice, available from the Google Play Store, you can read and edit Microsoft Office documents from your smartphone or table.

So the question I have is: With free office productivity suites available for both Google Android and Apple iOS, why is Microsoft waiting to get the real deal Office on to people’s devices?  Sure there is an Office Mobile application for the iPhone, but you must already have a subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 service to use it.  And what about a version optimized for the iPad?

If anything, the automatic deployment of Quickoffice to any Android device that receives the 4.4 KitKat upgrade is putting even more pressure on Microsoft to get Office on more devices.  In the past, Microsoft’s our-platform-or-no-one-elses strategy for Office is really hurting them.  As a business customer, I rely on Microsoft’s Office suite to get my job done, but on smartphones and tablets, I hardly miss them.

And that, I feel, is Microsoft’s problem.  The inclusion of Quickoffice with KitKat alongside of the free Google Docs web application, Google isn’t just going after a mobile productivity suite for mobile, they are working to actively destroy Microsoft’s long establish revenue staple – Office.

Only time will tell if mobile Office document editing will gain any real traction with prosumers or not.

Microsoft Office Mobile Coming to iOS, Android Early 2013

The Verge is running a breaking story that Microsoft will be releasing versions of the new Microsoft Mobile suite for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Google Android devices in early 2013.

“Microsoft’s Office for iPad, iPhone, and Android is a reality. Although Office Mobile has been rumored and reportedly spotted in the wild, Microsoft has remained persistently quiet about its plans for the product. The Verge has learned through several sources close to Microsoft’s plans that the company will release Office versions for Android and iOS in early 2013.”

[Via The Verge.com…]

Rumor: Microsoft Working on a Version of Office for the iPad

Take this one with a grain of salt; a big one.  According to The Daily, the iPad only News Corp. daily newspaper, Microsoft is working on a version of Microsoft Office for the iPad.  Just imagine being able to run Word, Excel, and PowerPoint natively on your iPad.

Sounds too good to be true?  It might be.  Microsoft has come out denying that they are working on an iOS edition of Office and that The Daily flat out got bad information for their exclusive scoop.  I read the report this morning, interestingly enough, on my iPad while reading The Daily.  You can read the full story on The Daily website.

Following up on the story, The New York Times wrote today:

“A Microsoft spokeswoman issued this statement: “The Daily story is based on inaccurate rumors and speculation. We have no further comment.” She added that a screen image included with The Daily’s article showing an Office product for iPad was “not Microsoft’s software,” she said. 

But perhaps that isn’t the entire story. Peter Ha, tech editor at The Daily, said that a Microsoft employee had demonstrated a version of the app on an iPad. “The launch screen may not be final, but the app itself is real,” Mr. Ha said. “We were told that the app was done and it was being tested internally.””

So is Microsoft working on a version of Office for the iPad?  They might be.  And they might not be.

Pros:
1. Windows and Office have long been cash cows for Microsoft.  By releasing Office for the iPad, Microsoft opens the door to some 55 million plus new customers.

2. Microsoft Office is the de facto office productivity suite, and now we can get Office on our Windows, Mac, and iOS devices; there by eliminating a number of cross platform translation and formatting headaches.

3. Chances are that you’ve used a version of Office before and you will be instantly familiar with how to use the software.

Cons:
1. Microsoft wants to keep Office as a Windows Phone 7, Windows 8 Tablet Edition exclusive to help differentiate tables and phones running Windows from those running Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, or RIM’s BlackBerry OS.

2. The iPad is regarded, by-and-large, as a content consumption device, not a content creation device. There may not be a strong demand for Office-on-an-iPad to justify the cost to develop the software.

3. The development of iOS applications will draw resources away from the Windows and Mac OS X Office development teams.

Personally, I think Microsoft is testing the water for iOS applications.   They’ve already released Bing, MSN for iPad, OneNote and Microsoft Lync 2010 for iPad.  There are a few iPhone applications also, including SkyDrive, Windows Live Messenger, and Photosynth.  That’s a lot of toes to dip in the water without developing a full blow Office suite.  I think OneNote and Lync 2010 are strong indications that Microsoft is at the very least, considering releasing a version of Microsoft Office for the iPad.  Only time will tell.

[Via The Daily, The New York Times…]

Office Mobile 2007 Upgrade

I just ran across a link on the Microsoft Windows Mobile website for the Office Mobile 2007 upgrade.

Depending on the build of Windows Mobile 5.0 installed on your smart devices the upgrade will be free for some users while others will have to pay $49.95 for the upgrade kit. (Yikes!) Before purchasing the upgrade, I strongly suggest that you check with your smart device vendor to see if they have any Windows Mobile upgrades available. You might be able to upgrade your install of Windows Mobile and then qualify for the free Office Mobile upgrade.

On the Microsoft Office Mobile Upgrade or Purchase page, there is a simple series of questions that helps you determine if your device qualifies for a free upgrade or not. Microsoft was nice enough to publish a Office Mobile 6.1 FAQ so you can learn about what is included in the latest version of Office for Windows Mobile devices before pluncking down the cash for the upgrade. Upgrades can be purchased from Handango, and volume licenses are available if you have a fleet of Windows Mobile 5 devices to upgrade.

I see this upgrade being important for users who find themselves with a Windows Mobile 5 device with no vendor provided upgrade to Windows Mobile 6, and who need support for Microsoft Office 2007 files. If you are a non-corporate user who doesn’t need the latest and the greatest, I would skip the upgrade until you need to purchase it. $50 is a lot of money to gain support for Office 2007. DataViz Documents To Go 10, which added support for Office 2007 on the Palm OS platform, only ran customers $29.95.