Microsoft no longer bothering to deny Office on iPad

Microsoft no longer bothering to deny Office on iPad

Summary: More references (and non-denials) of the existence of Microsoft's Office Mobile for iPad have surfaced in the past few days.


Microsoft officials have stopped bothering to deny that there will be some kind of Office support on the iPad. But the Softies still aren't sharing when this support will arrive or in what form.

Reports that Microsoft was developing Office for iPad began circulating, courtesy of The Daily, earlier this year. Reporters at The Daily claimed a Microsoft representative demonstrated privately to them Word, Excel and PowerPoint running on the iPad. Microsoft officials, at that time, tried to throw cold water on The Daily's claims.

In subsequent appearances, Microsoft officials danced around questions as to when and whether Microsoft would deliver Office for iPad.

The latest non-answer to the "when is Office coming to iPad" question came last week from Bill Koefoed, who is now the Chief Financial Officer of the Skype unit at Microsoft. Speaking at the December 4 NAS DAQ OMX Investor Program, this was Koefoed's reponse to a queestion about how Microsoft is thinking time- and unit-continuum-wise about moving Office to the iPad:

BILL KOEFOED: There are some of the Office services that are available on the iPad. We have OneNote available on the iPad. I know we have Lync available on the iPad. And so as you look, we obviously think that Office is a differentiator on the Surface and you should obviously watch the Office momentum that we have with the Office 2013 release, and they'll have more to say on the products and how it lights up the different devices. (Emphasis mine)

As first noticed by bloggers over at the Mac4ever site, there also are references popping up in Microsoft's support pages to Office Mobile apps for the iPad. Again, there are no specifics as to specific capabilities, pricing or packaging. But based on recent leaks, it could be the case that Office Mobile for iPad and Android, as well, will require an Office 365 subscription.

Among the rumored release dates for Office Mobile for iPad are "early 2013" (The Verge) and May 2013 (various reseller and other sources).

Again, if you think of Microsoft's new desire to be a "devices and services" company, a subscription-based offer of Office on non-Microsoft devices makes sense....

Topics: iPad, Collaboration, Microsoft, Unified Comms


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Cross-platform is the way to develop

    if you want to play in today's marketplace.
    • The more things change...

      Look up the ColecoVision, Atari 2600, and other platforms - everybody developed and ported their apps... which was harder to do back then, hence unified standards like Java and Flash (which love to get railed by those who want to devolve the industry back to that ye olde era thanks to walled gardens and double standards...)
      • Original Flash (before Adobe) was light weight

        and was used for things that REALLY benefited from the platform.

        Today's Flash is nothing more than INSECURE bloatware used primarily for two things:
        - Spyware
        - Power hog media player

        Very few websites are using Flash for what it was designed for.
    • Re: Cross-platform is the way to develop

      Trouble is, it's very expensive for proprietary software to go cross-platform. Open-source software seems to have an easier job of it, due to its more scalable development model.

      Remember how Windows NT itself was supposed to be a cross-platform OS? Look what a big flop that was. Meanwhile, Linux runs on over 2 dozen major processor architectures--more than any other OS in history.
  • Perhaps it makes sense but ....

    either way MS may be cutting its own throat.

    No Office for iPad (and eventually Android) -> potentially big loss of Office market share, and ultimately loss of Windows market share.

    Sell Office for iPad (and eventually Android) -> potentially big loss of market share for Windows and ultimately a loss of market share for Office also.

    It is tough making decisions when caught between a rock and a hard place.
    • It never hurt them before

      Office has been on the Mac for about as long as it has been on Windows.
      Michael Kelly
      • The Mac was never a threat

        MS threw Apple a bone to keep them alive.

        Now Apple (and Android) may be threatening MS's very existence.

        Hardly the same circumstances - not even close.
        • Indeed

          It seems to me that MS has tried to position Macintosh as the "legitimate" alternative to Windows; Linux being the illegitimate one. At least that's what I've gathered from the party line propounded by pro-MS Talkbackers (some of whom undoubtedly work for MS) over the years.

          The problem with that game is that the "legitimate" alternative isn't guaranteed to remain non-threatening (as the leaders of Mexico's PRI discovered just over a dozen years ago).
          John L. Ries
        • RE: The Mac was never a threat

          True that the MAC is not a threat and I don't think it will ever be a threat. There is no way that Microsoft would go away...I can see them going back to just sticking to OS reconstructing but not go away.

          One thing for sure I don't think Apple would ever come into any small or corporate offices. Why, because would you really spend over $2,000 on two workstations if you were to start a business? Would a corporate business want to switch over their Windows servers to go over a Apple server??? Do you think that any IT department would ever want to go through the nightmare of switching over to MAC? Would a corporate/small business company want to spends hours/money training people on how to use a computer or have their IT department spend hours/$$$$ on operating a new server?

          It is a good thing that only technical or some technical background people read these type of websites. Because it is a JOKE to compare a portable OS with an actual OS.
          • Microsoft is becoming irrelevant

            If you have been weened on Apple stuff throughout college and maybe also during your high school years as well, and you start a business -- are you really going to switch to switch to Microsoft? And traditional servers and business apps are fast going the way of the cloud, leaving the home and business users needing only basically an enhanced terminal device like, oh say, a tablet.
          • Move to the cloud.

            Of course many users are beginning to make adjustments toward the cloud. What you fail to see is that the cloud is build on Linux and Windows servers. MSFT has that in their portfolio. Then, in the consumer space, the client system OS' needs to recognize and work seamlessly with these cloud servers. To date, Windows 8 and Office 2013/365 has strong ties to the cloud, or completely built upon it. I think that about sums up and negates your 'sky is falling' scenario for Microsoft.
          • From the small businesses perspective

            They don't care what platform the servers that provide their cloud services are run on as long as they work and guess what, Windows and Office are not the only ones with strong ties to the cloud.
          • Small business

            Macs are quite prevalent in small business. It is easier to justify more expensive workstations when you are buying 10 instead of 10,000.

            I started my law office in 2006 and currently in addition to (attorney) I have two paralegals, two legal secretaries and a manager. With the exception of a Windows Small Business Server (we use Exchange for email), everything is Mac. Was it more expensive? Yes, and it is more expensive every time I replace a 3-year-old Mac with a new one. We currently have 4 iMacs and 5 MacBooks in use.

            Of course, it is cheaper in that I can support everything myself, easily, from anywhere I have an internet connection (Apple Remote Desktop). Yes, the same or greater levels of automation are possible in Windows, but not without some serious geek creds which I don't have, or an IT department/person, which my business is too small to justify.

            I am not the only one. My accountant's office (4 people) is all Mac. The firm that handles my marketing (2 people) is all Mac. Mac won't replace Windows in the large enterprise any time soon, but for small business it is a terrific fit.
          • i'm just curious

            what is it that you can do in OSX that in Windows requires the "geek creds" you don't possess? The only thing i can think of is there is no built-in remote access in consumer-oriented versions of windows. But you can use services like LogMeIn for free or install the same VNC you use for remote access on macs.
          • for your curiosity

            Generally MS based PC are very unstable, they get ver slow , specifically when you load many anti... something software in it. There is no one week or one month where you don't have to fix something that goes wrong. As there are so many companies making so many peripherals the chances that something does not work the first time are pretty high. And to sum up , Windows is a bad OS compared to OSX
            Since I moved to a MAC all these things are just memories or past nightmares.
          • Large business PC

            I worked for more than 30 years in a large corporation, the reason why they use MS based PC's is because of the existing infrastructure. Actually al the PC's we had were priced the sames as MACs, as it was not allowed to buy cheap laptops who do not last more than 6 months with some mechanical failure ( employees tend to treat stuff they did not pay for as potato bags ) , therefore we had mainly IBMs top of the line laptops.
            Now I am retired and converted to Mac , and I can say that a corporations would save a lot fo money in the long run if they moved to a MAC system. That without saying the embarrassment when a PC let you down during a board presentation, pushing me to have 2 pc's at all time !
          • Apple server???

            Apple server??? didnt they give up on that, never hear anything about a server version of osx now days
          • Out of the server business

            but they still offer the Mac Mini with OSX Server.
          • Small business yes, enterprise not so much

            I know of at least a dozen businesses just in my area that are primarily if not total Mac based.
          • Not common, but it happens

            Within the last month I have been in a hotel in Soho that uses a Mac network, a restaurant in midtown and a music store as well. All are higher end businesses, with higher end clientele. They like the look and feel of the Mac platforms. The restaurant uses iPads to submit orders. These businesses all cater to a certain crowd, and the apple products give their businesses I higher end feel. Macs and apple may just be the ticket for a certain sector of business. Will it dominate, no. Will it find a larger niche, yes. Apple's biggest issue now is they habpve become big brother, they need to free up their products. They design this awesome stuff then throttle it back. People,jailbreak it to get he full potential, which is vast compared to what they dole out. Apple started the supplier paradigm. iPod saved apple...or more correctly, iTunes did. Very profitable business model, but even their users are seeking more freedom.
            Rich Kaelin