Microsoft's Office for iOS, Android: Not until fall 2014?

Microsoft's Office for iOS, Android: Not until fall 2014?

Summary: An alleged roadmap for Microsoft's two-year wave of coming Office updates implies Office for iOS and Android may be further away than many industry watchers thought.


An alleged roadmap for Microsoft's coming 'Gemini' wave of Office updates, if accurate, indicates Microsoft's Office for iOS and Android -- as well as Outlook for Windows RT -- may be further away than many hoped and expected.


A source of mine shared what appears to me to be a real roadmap for Gemini.

It kicks off with "Gemini wave 1.0," which includes the "Blue" Metro-Style/Windows Store complements to the core set of Office products -- namely, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. From what I've heard previously,  these four apps will be more touch-centric and will work on Windows 8 and Windows RT. They will supplement, not replace, the desktop/Win32 versions of these apps that already exist. These apps will be made available to customers by October 2013, according to the purported roadmap.

The 1.5 wave of the Gemini updates is set for April 2014, the roadmap indicates. This is when the Office team will deliver the next version of Mac Office and an update to Office for Windows Phone. April 2014 also is listed as when Microsoft plans to make Office customized for LSX hardware. LSX is "large screen experience," i.e., Perceptive Pixel large-screen, multitouch systems.

There's one other interesting projected milestone for April 2014: "Office RT." I'm thinking this is a refresh of the desktop version of Word RT, Excel RT, PowerPoint RT and OneNote RT -- the desktop versions of the current Office 2013 RT suite that Microsoft ported to ARM and bundled with Windows RT.  I'm doubtful this will be other Office apps ported to Windows RT, even though one of my contacts claimed recently that the Office team already completed ports of most, if not all, of its Office apps to ARM.

One app that seemingly won't be part of the spring 2014 update, if this roadmap is real and accurate, is Outlook  RT. It appears Microsoft may be holding back the Outlook RT application until the fall (October) of 2014 for some reason -- despite the fact that this app is in the midst of being tested privately, both inside and outside Microsoft. I really hope this is wrong and that Microsoft has decided to speed up delivery of this one, given the Mail app on Windows RT is still nothing to write home about, even though Microsoft did make some needed improvements to the Windows 8/Windows RT Mail app in March 2013.

Also on the roadmap for fall 2014 is what's listed as iOS/Android support for Office. One would assume this is the expected and widely rumored Office for iPad release. It could, however, be Office for iPhone and Android phone, given that it's not listed on the roadmap as being tablet-specific.

Rumors about Microsoft's plans to deliver Office for iOS and Android have been circulating for more than a year. Microsoft officials have never outright denied these apps were in development. A number of us Microsoft watchers heard from our various sources that these apps were on track to be delivered by early- to mid-2013.

The most recent rumors/expectations have been that Microsoft may be making these mobile iOS/Android versions of Office available as part of an Office 365 subscription of some kind. The alleged roadmap makes no mention of an Office 365/subscription tie-in. It only mentions "iOS/Android" as a Gemini Fall 2014 deliverable.

In sum, this is what the alleged roadmap indicates:

Gemini Wave 1.0 (October 2013): Windows Blue app updates

Gemini Wave 1.5 (April 2014): Office for Mac; Office RT refresh; Perceptive Pixel support; Windows Phone support refresh

Gemini Wave 2.0 (October 2014): Outlook RT; Office for iOS/Android

I do not know how old this purported roadmap is, but my contact indicated it was likely current as of the start of 2013. I asked Microsoft Office officials for comment on the alleged roadmap, but they declined to do so.

"We don’t have any information to share about the next set of updates to Office," a spokesperson said.

One last thing to keep in mind: Even when Microsoft commits to ship targets in roadmaps, things can and often do change. Demand (or lack thereof) can result in planned products releasing earlier or later than the planners anticipate. 

Topics: iOS, Android, Collaboration, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, Windows 8, Windows Phone


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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • They just don't get it

    Microsoft just doesn't get it. They are losing the battle in the mobile space. And the longer they sit on their crown jewel the worse it is going to get for them. These things should be released now, not 18 months from now. By then everybody in the mobile space will have standardized on some other product.
    • Really?

      The iPad has been out for 3 years and people STILL haven't standardized on "some other product". It's Office or nothing else. Period.
      Jeff Kibuule
      • Not Really

        While Office is still dominant, there is a slow shift away from proprietary data formats happening. Unless you are living in a MS bubble, there are several alternatives out there that meet more and more users' needs.

        MS is caught between a rock and a hard place. To try to maintain Office's dominant position, it must be on non-MS mobile. Supporting Office on non-MS mobile however may undermine Windows.

        It will be a long and hard struggle for MS to try to maintain its Windows/Office (almost) monopoly.
        • Quickoffice


          Google brings Quickoffice to Android & the iPhone

          • Quickoffice

            is horrible, it always has been.

            If you want to talk about any possible replacement, it'd be a tablet version of Libre.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • QuickOffice

            I agree that it's horrible. I thought it worked pretty well until it bombed back to the icon screen on my iPad. That's when I learned that it doesn't save your work. I haven't used it since. The iWork apps are pretty weak, but work OK for my needs.
          • Save

            iWork apps do actually auto save at least.
        • Consumers don't need Office on their devices

          If consumers want Office on their devices they can choose Windows phones and tablets.

          For enterprise they is no reason to buy and iPad/ Android and then wait for a half-ass Office released in 2014. The much superior Windows tablets are readily available.

          So the better choice is to use Windows tablets and Phones for Enterprise use.
          • Consumers don't need Windows mobile

            Windows tablets and phones are only superior in your mind. MS can trash talk iOS and Android devices all they want and the 'faithful' that drank the kool-aide will believe them but it doesn't change the reality of their market share. Everyday that MS delays releasing Office on other platforms is another day that someone else has to replace Office as the dominate office suite. MS used to own the smart phone market and had working tablets in the early 90's (I had a Compaq running Windows 3.1) and gave both markets away because of unjustifiable opinions of product superiority like yours.
          • Use a Windows Phone device first

            and then you can figure out yourself how Superior it is
          • Windows Phone

            Windows has been on phones for quite a while. I had a Samsung Blackjack phone running Windows Mobile 6.1 years ago. The Blackberry was better. The iPhone is even better.
          • Windows Mobile is not Windows Phone

            The Blackjack had "Windows Mobile". The new "Windows Phone" is something completely different.
          • Windows Phone

            For now, I'll stick with my iPhone and Windows 7 Pro on my PC.
          • Windows Phone

            Which of the Windows Phone mutations you have in mind? WP7, that was killed by MS? Or WP8 that is slated to be killed by MS. Or some imaginable future WP mutation that will live for a year or two.

            Microsoft managed to already alienate their faithful developers. An task considered unimaginable. Nobody considers Windows Phone for anything, but feature phone, that can be replaced on a whim and will not be relied upon.
          • Windows Mobile 6.1 is to

            Windows Mobile 6.1 is to Windows Phone 8 as Mac OS X is to System 5.
          • Actually...

            In reality Windows Mobile 6.1 to Windows Phone 8 is more like Windows 3.1 to Windows 8... And they really are that far apart in code too.
          • no thanks

            if its anything like windows 8 on the desktop, forget it.
          • WP8 blows them all away.

            Windows Phone 8 is far superior in operation to any phone on the market today. You just don't understand that unless you use one.
          • Re: WP8 blows them all away

            Wonder why their market share is so tiny if they are so good? Could it be that most great apps are missing from the platform? Or that you are ever so slightly overestimating how good they are?
            Ted T.
          • Slow realization

            People still think Windows Phone is same as Windows Mobile, and most have not used it but still comment about it.

            Regarding market share, it has already reached 10% in some places and slowly improving. If sub 5% share is supposed to be death sentence, then Mac and Linux desktop would have been dead decades ago.