Microsoft Office for iPad, iPhone and Android phones and tablets is set to come soon. Microsoft product manager has hinted MS office app for iOS and Android would be arriving in March 2013
The rumours have been around for over a year now. Every time Microsoft has denied the rumours. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet has reported that Microsoft would be releasing office web apps for current office 365 – the version of office on mobile phones – customers near the end of October. The new web apps would be arriving as part of a SharePoint update. Even though Microsoft officials had earlier said that Office Next/Office 2013 will launch simultaneously sometime in 2013, it seems that some of the parts would be arriving a bit earlier.
“We update Office 365 with new capabilities on quarterly basis and sometimes more frequently. This is part of our regular cadence of updates,” a Microsoft spokesperson reportedly said when asked about Web Apps’ timing, suggesting that they would arrive as scheduled.
While Microsoft has still not confirmed that the release date of the apps, which have been together codenamed ‘Office 15’ they have said that Office Home & Student RT, which will be “included” with Windows RT-based devices will begin rolling out to customers sometime between early November 2012, and January 2013. Also the touch-enabled Lync unified-communications clients for Windows 8 and Windows RT will hit the market some time near the end of October 2012, which means after the official launch of Windows 8, which is scheduled for October 26 launch.
The customer preview was already out in July 2012. What is awaited is the final version of the software. The new web apps promise better performance, better collaboration, web based services, and touch support. The apps would work in popular web browsers like Chrome, Safari, Mozilla and of course Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer. While they would not have all the functionality of the full desktop versions, they would have enough of Office to work on the web.
One official who reportedly talked to Czech website IHNED confirmed that the apps would be arriving in March 2013. Technology website The Verge also cited a press release from the Czech arm of Microsoft which said “In addition to Windows, Office will be also available on other operating systems, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS, Android, iOS and Symbian,” confirming web apps for other platforms were on the way. “Office 365 services and other Office products for mobile (phones and tablets) will be released from March 2013,” the press release added.
When Verge reached out to Microsoft officials in US to get confirmation of the same, they were told that release dates for the web apps was not available, but confirmed that the apps would work across different platforms. Later however, Microsoft Corporate Communications chief Frank Shaw tweeted that the information shared by the Microsoft Czech subsidiary is not accurate.
So it is again up in the air. But the press of rumours, and the press release from the Czech arm indicate that Microsoft is indeed working to make Office available across the platform, even if they are unwilling to share the details at this point. Keep your fingers crossed.