Microsoft Office coming to Android and Apple devices in early 2013

Microsoft Office coming to Android and Apple devices in early 2013

Summary: A Microsoft executive let slip in the Czech Republic that the long-rumored Microsoft Office for Android smartphones and tablets and Apple iPad and iPhones will be arriving in early 2013. Microsoft now denies that their executive was speaking accurately.

Office 2013 will soon be appearing on Android smartphones and tablets and Apple iPads and iPhones.

We've known for months that Microsoft was bringing a version of Microsoft Office 2013 to Android tablets and Apple's iPad family. Now, according to the Czech tech news site, IHNED, Microsoft product manager Petr Bobek has said that Microsoft is planning to release native iOS and Android versions of Office 2013 in the first quarter of 2013

Bobek, a Microsoft Office portfolio manager in the Czech Republic, said that these new versions of Office will be available to larger companies and Microsoft partners In December 2012. small-office/home-office (SOHO) and household users will have to wait until at least February. The online version of Office 365 edition for mobile devices and tablets will appear in early 2013.

In an e-mail, the author of the INHED story clarified that the release would be after March 2013. "We had a slight miscommunication with the MS guys and the timeline for Office for iOS and Android is not a March release, but release sometime after March."

Officially, the only thing Microsoft had to say at first was that "As we shared previously, Office Mobile will work across Windows Phones, Android phones and iOS, and we have nothing additional to announce today about retail availability of the new Office."

Later the same day, Microsoft's head of corporate communications, Frank X. Shaw, denied the whole story. Shaw tweeted, "The information shared by our Czech Republic subsidiary is not accurate. We have nothing further to share." 

No matter when Microsoft delivers the Android and iOS goods, Microsoft's support of any version of Office on a non-Windows smartphone or tablet strikes me as an odd move. In a shareholder letter, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft is shifting its model to focus on devices and services. This is a radical and dangerous shift for a company that's always made it money from software licensing. And, now, instead of using Office as a crowbar to pry users from iPads and Android tablets to its Surface tablets, Microsoft is going to offer Office 2013 on its device rivals? Odd. Very odd.

Historically, Microsoft has locked its customers into its software ecosystem. Since Microsoft is a non-starter in the mobile space, I find it surprising that they're not trying to exploit its Office suite in a similar manner in this new market. 

That said, given the early reports of Office 2013, which didn't even have touch enabled for its tablet versions by default, I don't see Google, with Google Docs and QuickOffice, being worried about Microsoft being a rival on either devices or services anytime soon. 

Updated with correction on releae date by Otakar Schon, the author of the orginial Czech story and Microsoft's denial of the story. 

Related Stories:

Topics: Microsoft, Smartphones, Mobility, Mobile OS, Android, iPad, iPhone, Google, Apple, Tablets

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  • Microsoft Office coming to Android and Apple devices in early 2013

    Just another way for Microsoft to get android and Apple users to convert to Windows. By seeing how well the Office works on the mobile platform and its compatibility the android and Apple users will warm up to Windows by needing the fully functional version of Office. It's quite the plan to win over some potential customers.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Doesn't this possibly freeze the Surface market?

      One of the reasons for considering Surface is the ability to run Office apps that currently don't run on iPad. Now that corporate types know that they can expect this capability on iPad in a few months, doesn't this remove at least part of the motivation to switch to Surface?

      I understand the competing priority...that not being on iPad creates a vacuum that could make Office it could be a Catch 22...damned if you do, damned if you don't. It's a tough call for MS.
      • except...

        i'm willing to bet that there will be deficient features in the office products for iOS just like google maps. Google Maps could not do turn by turn direction because Apple would not allow the app access to internal data... i'm sure apple will be restricting access to the office app as well. so if you want the "full feature set" then you will have to go with a surface tablet. Android on the other hand is all about openness, so unless microsoft is the culprit and does the restricting theirselves, then the android version should be about the same functionally
    • I disagree.

      Seems to me that if they can offer Office, one of the few long-standing reasons to run a Windows machine in most offices, on a non-Windows platform, perhaps this is a sign that Microsoft is realizing they no longer control the world. Truth is, I highly expect most non/casual-gamer, non-developer type computer users to be switching to tablet / smart phone devices exclusively in the next few years. There's almost no reason left to keep a big, bulky computer around for these folks. Android is seriously just a couple hop-skips away from being a fairly solid all-purpose operating system for anyone who just does the typical web browsing / email / occasional time-waster game play.
      Robert Showalter
      • Regardless of MS Office, tablets are mainly consumption devices

        As awesome as today's tablets and smart phones are they are no substitute for laptops and desktops when creating spreadsheets, powerpoints, word documents. They just don't compare and possibly never will. Physical keyboards and mice allow workers to work so much quicker when switching between multiple open apps, copying, pasting, typing. Who knows what the future will bring as far is input methods for these mobile devices.. Maybe they will catch up with the physical keyboard and mouse someday, but that day is not here and isn't in the near future.
        Burger Meister
    • Re: Just another way for Microsoft to get android and Apple users to conver

      How will these new Office users even know what Windows is?
      • Errr....

        [Your biasness is showing.]

        Your dreaming, right?
    • let s do it
    • Office is Microsoft's Flagship Product

      MS-Office is the best and user friendly office application. Most of the people get familiar with Office. If they launch the office for mobile at a prize range of 9 USD to 19 USD, people will love it.
      Karthick J
  • Services

    I guess Microsoft want to sell their Office subscriptions and maintaining Office as the "world standard". If Office not on iOS and Android, it will soon not be the standard for documents. Google drive is getting better on iOS all the time and is a true crossplatform wordprocessing program. People is paying big money for Microsoft office due to its marketshare. If some other Office software gets large enough marketshare, it will demote Microsoft office from being the default choice for many people with low and medium demands.
  • Yes this is dangeraous and odd

    but this locking down thing has become kind of their worst enemy in this new era! look at google they don't lock their services only to their own ecosystem and despite that android is doing really good along with their services!
    if MS does not do that its rivals eventually make their office irrelevant...seriously man look at LibreOffice, in 3.0 it was so ugly that i wouldn't even open it but now with 3.6 it has become the only office i need this is an alarm for MS!
  • Perhaps not so odd

    If one accepts that Android and iOS will slowly eat into PC sales and therefore MS Office sales, MS has to try to sell what they can. This may be an indication of how truly freaked out MS is over the future of its Windows/Office franchise. This is basically MS Office for Linux.

    Android is here to stay and LibreOffice is coming to Android. Do they really have a choice?
    • Heated discussiosn

      Dollars to donuts there have been some heated discussions in Redmond over the past 18 months or so about whether it would be a greater folly to limit the Office brand to Windows and Macintosh, or extend it to iOS and Android for just the reasons you mention.
    • Definitely not odd

      What is odd is Steven's comment "No matter when Microsoft delivers the Android and iOS goods, Microsoft's support of any version of Office on a non-Windows smartphone or tablet strikes me as an odd move." This is pretty obtuse for someone "blogging at the intersection of business and technology"...
      • continued... (submitted while still typing)

        Last year, Microsoft made a comment regarding enterprise and their products, they don't necessarily care about the platform, as long as their products are in use.

        MS office being ubiquitous is more important. It's a huge revenue generator, and they need to prevent fragmentation to stave off competition. The success of Netflix and Amazon (Kindle) has been there efforts to provide an app for every platform, including Windows Phone 7 upon introduction.

        Microsoft is also following this same strategy with Lync, which is why one of their most recently announced partners is Damaka, which has an app called Xavy on iOS and Android. This app allows Lync users to use Lync on iOS/Android. And Microsoft is gaining marketshare in this space from Cisco and IBM because of this!

        So the fact that Microsoft's Products can work on other platforms is not odd at all, it's good and smart business considering the current market.
  • Microsoft Office coming to Android and Apple devices in early 2013

    About time!
  • iOS and Android will be dead on tablets soon.

    Who wants to buy an iOS/Android tablet when they can get a far superior and capable experience for the same money by buying a Surface /Win 8 tablet. That said the market volume of smartphones is many times more than tablets. iOS/Android has a huge share in the smart phone space, so its a no-brainer for MS to sell its Office 365 service and make cash. This will also speed up the conversion of iOS/Android to Windows platform.
    • With Office...

      I am not sure an RT tablet is as capable as an Android. With office on Android there will be even less incentive. An RT tablet feels like another run on netbooks, which I tell you is no fun compared to my Nexus 7. A laptop and a tablet are for different things for me. just saying.
    • Seem to recall a similar sentiment with Zune & the Windows phone.

      and they went virtually nowhere. The consumer commodity market is not the same as the business market and the same rules do not apply.
    • bwahahahahahaha....

      Is this Steve Ballmer in disguise? You must be dreaming if you think latecomer rip wan winkle can now push out iOS / Android. Micronort will be lucky to get a 10% market share by 2015.