Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

Summary: You can be guaranteed that Microsoft is working to bring Office to the iPad, because not to do so would be tantamount to suicide.

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That photo in The Daily showing an iPad running Microsoft Office might have been a fake, but don't worry, the world's most popular suite will be coming tot he iPad real soon - it has to!

I agree with Mary Jo Foley's assessment of Microsoft's denial - saying that the report was "based on inaccurate rumors and speculation" doesn't mean that there's isn't a team of developers in Redmond busy working away to bring Microsoft Office to the iPad. In fact, it's as close as we have to proof that the Redmond giant is indeed working on bringing those business powerhouse applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint to the iPad.

And it should. Because right now it's lagging far behind the pack when it comes to breaking into the post-PC market. There are already countless apps in the Apple App Store that can handle Office documents (albeit in a variably patchy way - in my experience, some documents work well, others not so good, and some just break completely or crash the app that was used to open them), so Microsoft is already behind. We're so close to the release of the iPad 3 and Microsoft isn't a name that you see all that much in the App Store.

So why does Microsoft need to bring Office to the iPad? Because it needs to keep the suite relevant because there's a lot of money and significance riding on it. The competition here isn't coming from Apple (Apple's iWork is no threat to the Office juggernaut) but from Google, which wants to make apps a thing of them past and replace them with online and cloud services. The more Google entices people into the cloud, the less relevant Office becomes, and a key strategic market that Microsoft once held an iron grip on evaporates.

And if interests in Office evaporates, that puts a huge chunk of revenue on the line. Microsoft's business unit, which includes Office, Windows Server, SQL Server and the like, is worth over $20 billion a year. That's a lot of revenue at stake if people start replacing their copies of Microsoft Office with Google Docs. The only way Microsoft can prevent the erosion of Microsoft Office is to bring it to every screen and every platform, and since the most dominant post-PC device is the iPad, not putting Office on that platform would be a silly idea. It wouldn't just be a case of Microsoft shooting itself in the foot, it could be shooting itself through the head.

So, despite cryptic remarks from Microsoft PR, you can be guaranteed that the company is working to bring Office to the iPad, because not to do so would be tantamount to suicide.

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    Topics: iPad, Collaboration, Microsoft, Mobility, Software

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    26 comments
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    • I wonder.......

      if using Word will be as hair-pulling maddening on the iPad as it is on other platforms.
      Userama
    • They probably will

      Of course, the instant it comes out? I know that I'll see a blog, or five, about what this means in terms of how much "Windows 8 will fail" and how "even Microsoft knows this". It might not come from you, but I suspect that there will be a blog post from you about it.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

        @Michael Alan Goff This is why I think MS will wait to see how Windows 8 does first.
        slickjim
        • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

          @Peter Perry

          No time for wait and see. If I was Microsoft, I would time the release of Office with the release of the iPad 3. Actually I would go one further and present 'Office for iPad' on stage at Apple's launch event. Frenemies.
          dave95.
    • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

      Microsoft like to make money...just like Apple. So for them not to make a version for the iPad would be really dumb.

      People who will buy a Win 8 tablet, probably wouldn't buy an iPad, so they have no competitoin there. So why not expand your customer base?
      IT_Fella
      • Exactly!!!!

        @IT_Fella

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

        @IT_Fella "Microsoft like to make money...just like Apple. So for them not to make a version for the iPad would be really dumb."

        That's probably a [b]far[/b] better explanation of why they may be doing it rather than some nonsense about competition or whatever.
        CobraA1
    • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

      If they do have Microsoft Office for the iPad it won't be until after it comes out for Windows 8. It will be exclusive to the Windows platform first, then worry about getting it on iPad. It won't be that big of a deal because they already have Office for Mac.
      Loverock Davidson-
      • I think you're totally wrong there.

        @Loverock Davidson- In fact, has anyone considered that MS is being so cagey because [b]Office for iPad was meant to be announced with Apple at the iPad3 launch?[/b] It would explain why Microsoft is clamping down.
        matthew_maurice
    • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

      It needs to be on Windows 8 first and foremost before the iPad.
      jatbains
    • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

      I've never used an iPad, so someone please help me understand how anyone could efficiently use any Office-type application on that platform (without a mouse and full-size keyboard).
      JSC99
      • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

        Aside from the fact that you could buy a small keyboard to use with it? I suppose the idea is to use the keyboard that pops up whenever you want to type something.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

        @JSC99 The hardest App to use was the spreadsheet, everything else works fairly well.
        slickjim
      • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

        @JSC99

        I've found that I can type pretty accurately and quickly on the iPad (with both hands, all ten fingers) when in landscape. It's really not much different than a normal keyboard, minus not being able to feel the keys and a little less efficiency when the need to type numbers and special characters arises.
        TroyMcClure
    • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

      "You can be guaranteed that Microsoft is working to bring Office to the iPad, because not to do so would be tantamount to suicide."

      I disagree. Office on the desktop isn't really going anywhere. Google Docs is nice, but hardly big competition. Office is a big cash cow either way.

      But they probably are working on Office for iOS. I wouldn't be surprised. Microsoft has been pushing Office to the web, they have Office for the Mac, and they already have OneNote for iOS, so it doesn't sound far-fetched. I wouldn't go as far as to say that not doing it is tantamount to suicide, however.
      CobraA1
      • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

        @CobraA1

        Exactly, the Author is exagerating. They might do it, and they might make a bit of money, but being afraid of google docs is not a reason, in any case, ios doesn't really make a good platform for a productivity app like office in any case.
        sjaak327
    • They might be, but

      There are so few iPads out there that they still count as a niche market at this point.
      x I'm tc
      • Silly and snide

        @jdakula
        As of July there were 100 million Office licences sold. Over 50 million iPads have been sold. That would be a 50% rise in revenue and profit for the Office business unit. I guarantee you, Ballmer wants that.
        Robert Hahn
        • RE: Ignore Microsoft, Office will be coming to the iPad real soon

          @Robert Hahn : You'd assume that many will buy it. I don't think it will be much cheaper than Office for the Mac - definitely not 99 cents!
          Gisabun
    • Fleet buys

      One reason they might do it is that they are already getting pressured by their major account customers to offer it.

      If I buy things in quantity 5,000 for a big sales force, the thing that scares me the most is the failure of hardware OEMs (other than Apple) to make a dent in the tablet market. Imagine if I had gone on record as saying "we ought to buy 5,000 RIM Playbooks" or "5,000 HP Touchpads."

      The old saying is supposedly that "no one ever got fired for buying Microsoft," but if you can't buy Microsoft except from a company that has either already pulled its failed tablet offerings from the market, or looks like they will because they are losing money hand over fist, then maybe Apple is not so bad after all. And then the question becomes, "OK, how do we make Apple work?" and one of the answers is, "We tell Microsoft we'll buy 5,000 Office licenses for iPads... if they make it."

      There might be a strain of arrogance somewhere in Redmond that wants to hold out to see if the corporate buyers can be persuaded to buy Windows 8 tablets, but the question there is, "how long will it take before one of the Windows 8 tablets is unambiguously successful, such that an IT guy proposing to buy 5,000 of them doesn't feel like he's putting his neck in a noose doing it."

      Look how long it's taking Windows Phone to take off. No hardware OEM is really succeeding with it... yet. And it's been on the market for a year. Will corporate IT wait another year for Windows 8 tablets, when every day another 50 iPads sneak in the door via BYOD?

      It may come down to this: Microsoft is being told that, "at least for now, we're going with iPads. You want to sell 5,000 Office licenses, or do we have to teach people Google docs?" And then Microsoft has to worry that people might -like- Google docs. The price sure is right.
      Robert Hahn