Microsoft Office for iOS

Microsoft product manager Petr Bobek has confirmed that the software maker is planning to release native iOS and Android versions of Office 2013 next year.

I’ll tell you this — if Office for iOS is anything like Office for the Surface tablet, it will suck balls. Microsoft has to release a touch-enabled and optimized version for it to be successful.

  • bet you Google hits the iOS platform with a Map App before MSFT shows up with an Office App…sometime in 2013 or 14 maybe 15….

    dying the slow death here..

    just saying

    • Mother Hydra

      I’d be hesitant to bet against that prediction, sure rings true to me.

    • JohnDoey

      I bet nobody cares about the Google maps app by the time it ships.

  • Jerry Register

    The Surface Office is a port of Windows code, right? The Mac Office is native Objective-C/Cocoa since Apple dropped support for Carbon, as I recall. Bet it’s a whole lot easier to port a Mac app to iOS than to rewrite office in HTML5 or whatever Surface requires. That should leave a lot more time to work on the interface, which should also be fairly easy to do since iOS’ touch paradigm is well understood. They’re not building everything from scratch with this one.

    • EzraWard

      Office that runs on both the Surface Pro and Surface RT is simply Office. They didn’t port it. The most they probably did was optimize for battery life and flip the switch to compile for ARM.

      • JohnDoey

        To move MS Office from Wintel PC to Windows RT ARM-based tablet requires a “port.” That is a term of art, look it up.

        • EzraWard

          My point was simply that Microsoft used the existing code and simply compiled for ARM rather than having to do extensive work to port it. I don’t know that, I just believe that scenario is quite likely.

  • Dennis

    It probably will totally suck, and the worst thing is it wont matter if it does, at least in the short term. Many people will buy it just because it’s Microsoft Office, regardless of how easy-to-use it is. What Microsoft doesn’t realize is the difference between making a crappy version or making a good version will affect mindshare over the next few years. It’s the difference between “Microsoft is adapting it’s current products to be useful and important to the users of the future.” and “Microsoft’s continuing it’s slide into irrelevance and unimportance by proving it doesn’t understand what people want or where the industry is headed.”

    • JohnDoey

      I don’t think many will buy it, because people who have an iPad and a need for office apps already blew all of $30 on Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, and they are better apps for 90% of the people, 90% of the time. The few who are dissatisfied with Keynote, Pages, and Numbers on iPad have only one choice: a full Wintel PC with a mouse and a full version of Microsoft Office, because they are accountants who use formulas and macros that legitimately exceed the capabilities of every other office tools other than MS Office for Windows. For the other 90%, they make better work faster with the Apple tools.

  • Mother Hydra

    After using both versions of Office 2013 (touch-centric and not) I can say that the ridiculous choices they made with on-screen keyboard positioning, touch target size et all just baffles me. I mean did they even try?! It feels so tacked-on and so impossibly half-baked like, say, the tablet PC software of yore.

    Oops, showing my age there.

    Ballmer moaning about a “fundamental shift” in yesterday’s edict from Redmond read to me like something I enjoy saying when the obvious is stated: No shit, Sherlock.

    so late to the party, and he doesn’t realize that his fly is down. Hey Ballmer, I can see your doodle. (Shut up Flanders)

    • JohnDoey

      They aren’t going all-in enough on hardware.

      The CD/DVD they used to ship their software on has been replaced, but not by downloads or SSD — rather CD/DVD has been replaced by iPods: you bolt a little tiny computer to the SSD, and you secure the downloads from a central server so they don’t have viruses and malware.

      If you compare the product “Windows 7 Ultimate DVD” and “iPad 2” you get the picture. Both are $399. The Windows product leaves out the entire computer. The iPad 2 essentially includes the hardware for free. And the iPad does not require anti-virus, I-T setup or support, extensive training, and its 3rd party software is better and costs much less than 3rd party software for Windows because there is almost no piracy and there is no malware.

      So Microsoft literally has to include a free computer with OS software purchase. $799 Windows-on-ARM tablets with no apps and another go-round with $999 Wintel tablets is not even trying. They needed to dupe up millions of identical Windows-on-ARM tablets just like they used to dupe up millions of identical DVD’s. That is the only way to get it cheap enough to compete with iPad 2.

      And we could see iPad 3 at $399 by early 2013. The $799 Windows-on-ARM tablets all have low-res screens and do not even compete well against iPad 2. Against iPad 3 — they have nothing. Against a $399 iPad 3 — start your Microsoft layoffs.

  • Office for Surface needed to be GREAT to make the Surface successful. The iPad is already successful. Office for iOS only needs to be slightly more compatible than existing Office-“compatible” readers for it to be a WILD success.

    But I will take Dennis’ mindshare argument further. A terrible Office for iOS will be a wild success (in terms of copies sold) but will HASTEN the mindshare loss the more people use it.

    • JohnDoey

      I really don’t think there is that much love for MS Office out there. If you have an iPad and need office tools, you likely dropped the $30 on Keynote, Pages, and Numbers long ago, and your work not only got easier and more fun, but your work output also increased and got much better looking. MS Office compatibility is just as good as any arbitrary version of MS Office which all have slightly different files anyway. And the Microsoft solution will be crashy and raw and soulless and expensive and late and not iPad-like and it will be nonstandard within the context of tablets.

  • JohnDoey

    The thing is, MS Office for iOS would have to be much better than MS Office for Windows, or else it will not compete against Pages, Keynote, and Numbers on iPad, which are 100% designed for touch. And are they going to sell for $10 per app? And how are they making the Android one? Rewriting Office in Java?

  • Office for iOS will be an interesting test for Microsoft.

  • I’m going on record as saying this will not happen for the same reason Google withheld turn by turn: competitive advantage.

    If Microsoft still believes that it can leverage the Wintel Hegemony in a manner that would make them relevant in mobile again, under no circumstances would they cede any territory for “real work” to iOS. Whether anyone still believes it (market data would suggest ‘no’) Microsoft and it’s partners are obsessed with the idea that “enterprise” and “no compromise” and “real work” are still the prime concern of some silent majority who are holding back billions in purchases waiting for Microsoft to take Apple head on. Allowing iOS to have the capacity to perform Office tasks would undermine the entire marketing angle of Microsoft’s renewed interet in making their own gear. That is, after all what almost everyone means when they talk about “WIN32” on a tablet: Office.

    Except for those idiotic edge cases that think Crysis will run on an Atom.