Microsoft still unsure about when, or if, they’ll release Office for iPad

“If Microsoft couldn’t find compelling enough reasons to release its Office applications for the iPad, Google just gave it one,” Nick Wingfiled reports for The New York Times. “On Tuesday, Google acquired Quickoffice, a start-up that makes a set of applications for iPads and Android tablets that let people open and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Productivity apps are among the best sellers in the category of paid apps for the iPad. Quickoffice currently ranks seventh on that list in Apple’s iPad App Store.”

“Microsoft’s apps group is not ignoring the iPad; the company is working on a version of its Office apps for Apple’s tablet, according to several people familiar with the project who were not authorized to speak publicly about it,” Wingfiled reports. “According to one of the people familiar with the effort, Microsoft still has not settled important details, such as when it will release the software and [for] how much the software will sell.”

“These are gut-wrenching decisions for Microsoft. First, the company has its own answer to the iPad coming out this fall in the form of Windows 8, its first operating system designed from the ground up with touch screens in mind. One of the chief selling points of Windows 8 tablets, especially to business customers, will be that they can run an official version of Office designed for those devices. An Office for the iPad could hurt Windows 8’s chances of capturing a chunk of the tablet business,” Wingfiled reports. “There is also the question of how Microsoft designs Office for iPad and prices it so it doesn’t cannibalize sales of the software for computers.”

Wingfiled reports, “But the risks of neglecting the huge growth of the iPad could be even greater for Microsoft. The iPad is becoming especially popular among the professional customers Microsoft focuses on with Office. Office, along with Windows, is a pillar of Microsoft’s still-enormous profits.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last Friday, “For Microsoft, Office for iPad is a catch-22. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. How much do you want to bet that Office for iPad, if released, will be a dumbed-down version à la Office for the Mac?”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Makka” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Microsoft to launch Office for iPad on November 10th, report claims – May 31, 2012
Microsoft set to release Office for Apple iOS devices in October, sources say – May 23, 2012
Microsoft Word is cumbersome, inefficient, and obsolete; it’s time for it to die – April 12, 2012
Microsoft: Office for iPad story based on inaccurate rumors and speculation – February 21, 2012
Microsoft Office for iPad coming soon; no Android version planned – February 21, 2012

34 Comments

  1. How many failures can MS handle in one year? Windows 8, then the first commercial iPad app? Highly unlikely. Plus, they are not likely to price it anywhere near other iOS apps… like a couple other companies out there – which will limit the market.

  2. I really, really, really don’t understand why MS Office matters, even for business. Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iPad all work seamlessly with Office for PC/Mac.

    1. Amen brother. Microsoft Office for many is just not a necessary expense with so many alternatives around. And matters less on a tablet. This cornerstone of the Microsoft monopoly and raison d’être is eroding away and with it Microsoft relevance.

    2. Unfortunately, in many workplaces where Word docs filled with split and merged table cells are standard (eg schools), there simply aren’t any alternatives that can convert the confused table formatting accurately. It’s one area where iWork just isn’t as seamless as you might think – ditto complex Excel formulas. Thus, in some situations, MS Office sadly matters…

      1. Yes. The years of the Excel “programmer” have left a terrible legacy. They took tasks that really called for a relational database and abused a spreadsheet into acting all wrong so the printed report would resemble an Access product. Truly a case of “When your only tool is a hammer, every challenge looks like a nail”.

    3. Office matters for lots of reasons. People have massive document libraries filled with office documents. Office compatible programs like Pages do a horrible job of interpreting those documents especially with regard to formatting. There is a vast workforce out there that knows and understands Microsoft Office and they aren’t going to switch to iWork. Just. It gonna happen.

      So when office shows up on Windows tablets, that’s a big deal, a really big deal.

  3. Pages and keynote are fine alternatives to office, but numbers isn’t even close to Excel. Neither is star office, open office, nor google docs. Sorry. Professionals need MS Excel.

  4. You RDFers are delusional. MS Office has like 90% market share with Google and Apple practically non-existent in business software, and there’s nothing threatening its monopoly. If Windows 8 tabs have Office and the iPad doesn’t, watch how quickly the iPad begins to disappear from businesses.

    Microsoft would be fools to release Office for iPad anytime soon when they can leverage it to instantly gain a foothold in the tablet market.

    1. @R2:
      Good thing that you’re shilling er…opining from outside any RDF bias yourself, as is clearly evidenced from your words. To trot, no FUDs either. You’re like winning!

  5. “But the risks of neglecting the huge growth of the iPad could be even greater for Microsoft. The iPad is becoming especially popular among the professional customers Microsoft focuses on with Office. Office, along with Windows, is a pillar of Microsoft’s still-enormous profits.”

    1. Yes, the iPad is “becoming popular” among businesses because there is no attractive alternative in the tablet market. Once they’re presented with decent Windows 8 tablets that work with Office while the iPad doesn’t, the ground will begin to shift. The only risk Microsoft would have of neglecting the iPad would be if A) they didn’t have alternative tablets and/or B) the iPad had some good alternative business software acting as a trojan horse that could threaten the MS Office monopoly. Since Microsoft is ready to unleash an army of tablet competitors and Apple’s business software sucks ass, there is no risk in ignoring the iPad unless all of those Windows 8 tablets turn out to be shoddy failures (which is unlikely).

      If the Windows 8 tablet strategy turns out to be a miserable flop, then you release Office for iPad in defeat.

      1. Let me fix that for you….”WHEN the Windows 8 tablet strategy turns out to be a miserable flop, then you release Office for iPad in defeat.” You seem to forget the there Windows tablets for 10 years before the iPad….huge flops. What makes you think that someone simply trying to substitute some Windows POS in place of the iPad will make a difference now?

        1. unfortunately there may be some truth to what R2 says. Businesses tend to value cost and legacy productivity software more than the stuff Apple excels in, such as UI, stability, design etc. Right now there is no good business alternative to the iPad. If Windows 8 tablets are halfway decent and are the only ones to offer Office, that’s all they need to be to provide an attractive option to enterprise. They won’t be as good as iPad, but that isn’t what matters.

  6. Not that I would use Office for the iPad but I’m really not interested in using something from Google now. As I said before, MS forgot what they are/were. They are a software company first and foremost and shouldn’t have got into a pissing match with Apple or the whole PC/Mac thing when it came to Office. Had they done that, there would have been very little reason for anyone to compete with them in office apps. Now, not so much and the flood gates are open. There is a whole group of people who have realized they don’t need Office and see no reason for it on an iPad or the new mobile world, kind-of like Flash.

    MS is to late and miss guided. Balmer is possibly of the worst business men I have ever seen. I feel sorry for their employees for the way the company is run and the environment they are imprisoned with.

    Game over, your move is irrelevant.

        1. Doesn’t mean they aren’t still huge profits. Apple makes profit like no other – that doesn’t make all other profits tiny. Billions of dollars and still growing is huge.

  7. Office is the one killer app missing for iPad. Those of us in a work environment where we have to use word docs with lots of formatting and macros are held back from full iPad use at work until we get a version of office or another app that can handle these issues. So far no other app can do it.

  8. Google is becoming irrelevant. I just switched to DuckDuckGo for all my iOS, Mac and PC search requirements. I just finally got fed up with being “sold” ads and people invading my privacy.

    All Mac users and iOS users should switch to DuckDuckGo, just like staying away from MSFT crap.

    Fig

  9. “There is also the question of how Microsoft designs Office for iPad and prices it so it doesn’t cannibalize sales of the software for computers.”

    This is where iWork kills Office hands down. At $19.99 ea on the Mac App Store, it is a really affordable suite. Not only so, but when I switched to Mac a few years ago, I was impressed with the ease and beauty of Pages and Keynote over their MS counterparts. (I have never needed Excel, and have used Numbers for 1 or 2 projects so I can’t agree or disagree with those who say that Excel is superior).

    When they brought iWork to iOS, especially at $9.99/ea., even though they are somewhat limited versus the Mac versions, it was a no-brainer. I use Pages on iPad all of the time, and it is great! And when I do make the occasional Keynote presentation, it is mind-blowing all that I can do on the iPad. With the ability to e-mail the documents in iWork, Office, and .pdf formats, there is arguably no reason to shell out $200-$500 for Office Home & Business, Office Professional, Office Home & Student, Office Lite, Office Ultimate, Office Basic, or any other configuration.

    It took me all of one project to know I was never going to look back…

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