Billions on ‘The’ tablet: Why Microsoft’s Office for iOS is coming soon

“ has a story making the rounds this morning that quotes a Morgan Stanley analyst who says that Microsoft is potentially making a very costly mistake by not offering an iPad version of Office. ‘Two and a half billion dollars. That’s how much Morgan Stanley’s Adam Holt estimates Microsoft may be leaving on the table by not offering a full version of its Office suite (Word, Excel, etc.) on Apple’s iPads,'” Greg Bussmann writes for The St. Louis Social Media and Tech Report.

“The only problem with this is that, by all accounts, Microsoft is going to release a version of Office for the iPad,” Bussmann writes. “The analyst may be seizing on a recent ‘no comment’ Steve Ballmer issued when asked specifically about it, but there is pretty good indication that Office for iOS will be here soon.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, no, Microsoft. You don’t want to release Office for iOS. Remember, that would kill your Surface sales, not to mention further obliterate Windows-licensed PC sales as those who think they need Office opt for iPads. No, stay away from that nasty iPad, protect your Surface tablets and Windows PCs!

Related articles:
To stellar CEO Steve Ballmer, Office without iPad support makes ‘a lot of sense’ – January 30, 2013
Microsoft to release Office for Apple iPhone, iPad in early 2013; stripped down apps to offer limited functionality, sources say – November 7, 2012
Microsoft Office killer: Apple and VMware team to build cloud-hosted office suite for iPad, sources say – October 22, 2012
Microsoft working on Office for iPad, say sources – November 29, 2011


  1. Microsoft WILL release Office for iPad. It will be deliberately crippled and buggy. It will enforce the illusion MS Office is relevant, but the only way to continue to use it fully is on Surface.
    Clever ploy

    1. Is Microsoft working on a Surface version of Office that I haven’t heard of yet?

      I figured if Microsoft were to make a touch screen compatible version of Office, they would make it for iOS, given that it has the market share. Also, leaving Surface users stranded with an Office version made for desktops just feels like the Microsoft way to do things.

      1. There are loads of low quality apps for iOS. They meet Apple’s minimal standards but still crash and burn or offer lousy service to the victims who use them. Typically we don’t hear about them amidst the competition, then they drop off the store with time.

        Years back I wrote an article about a crap developer of iOS apps named ‘xhumans’. At the time they had something approaching 50 iOS apps, all total crap.

    2. And … this is not a target audience of “Mac users”. This is a huge swath of the population of which very few are “Apple fan boys”. A sucky Office appication on the Mac was not big news outside of the Mac community. But if Microsoft releases a buggy crashing App for the iPad and maybe the iPhone, well that would be a very visible story.

    3. “…be deliberately crippled and buggy.”

      I disagree. It will be the very best work that Microsoft has ever done and it will still suck because Microsoft just doesn’t know how to make good software.

    4. The question is, do Microsoft actually know HOW to write stuff the Apple way, you know, stuff that doesn’t crash all the time or need constant wet-nurse update service packs?

      Word for regular Mac’s is a huge over-blown file featuring software that doesn’t follow the usual Mac house rules for software standards and I personally hate using it and always try to use native Mac apps.

      The Surface is complete proof that MS don’t understand tablets or iOS in particular so any release for iOS is probably going to be buggy and bloated too. Serve ’em right if Apple rejects it on incompatibility grounds at least the first dozen attempts….

    1. Apple offers their own office apps that can read and write that Microsoft Office files crap. I would rather not have any application from Microsoft in my tablets. That is the door that many hackers use to get into your computers. I would rather leave the lepers back on the old school PC box island where they belong.

    2. Forget the 70/30 split. How on earth will MS price the mobile version of Word or Excel? If it is competitive with iWork, MS makes no money, but if it costs much more, people simply won’t buy it. The iOS app store has completely changed the software pricing game.
      The absolute most they could charge imho, is maybe $20 or $30 and even that might be too much. But they will never come close to the $200 – $300 price of Office.

      And the user can install it on five devices.

      And Apple gets 30%!


      Office will not be a cash cow for MS in the mobile space.

      BTW, MS has the exact same problem selling WindowsMobile licenses. They simply can’t earn significant money on their mobile OS even if they take significant marketshare.

      1. Yep, that too. Apple has turned software from something big companies do at big prices, to something small companies do at small prices. One of the greatest end runs of all time. MS is screwed no matter what.

  2. Microsoft has no choice. At this point if they want Office to remain relevant in the mobile space they WILL have to release Office for iOS. We’re talking hundreds of millions of potential customers. iOS is a market that has surpassed the PC market in unit sales.

        1. Apple does not need competition to succeed. It was not competition that made them produce the iPhone, the iPad or the iPod touch.

          Apple is driven by the desire to produce products that will delight their customers.

          1. I totally agree with you in that Apple has an incredible concentration of collaborative people who create because they are naturally driven to create. This is never entirely the case within any organization. Self-driven people are unfortunately a rather small minority. Everyone else either requires competition to keep moving, or they are driven specifically because they desire competition.

            As I was just writing to our pet troll ppeterson, there are frequently times when Apple requires a kick in the ass to get something right. Today ppeterson was on a rag about Apple Maps. The simple fact that Google’s Map app is in some ways fundamentally better is a great motivator for Apple to fix Maps, and they have.

            All business requires competition in order for it to remain on its toes and innovate. Self-quoting: Competition is the father of innovation. Some people, like me, don’t need or want competition. I work great without the added pointless stress of it. But most people don’t, sad to say.

  3. But it will not be rethought for iPad. It will have dropdown menus with four layers of sub menus. The menu text will be so small that even on retina displays it will be impossible to read. The ribbon will not scroll properly. Files will have to be save to some M$ cloud somewhere. It will have advertising on every screen. The files won’t be compatible with other versions. It will only work in landscape.

  4. Don’t want Word on my iPad. What I want is a much better Pages. Documents should look the same on OSX and iOS versions of Pages. The compatibility is a nightmare. Tim, so something about it. By the way, Pages 09 could get an upgrade. Just a quick idea.

  5. I agree with others that iWork needs a refresh. I wish Apple would adopt the open document format for iWork. Let Microsoft be the only game in town with proprietary file formats. I also wish Apple would take iWork cross platform. I work in school where I am constantly changing between Macs and PCs. I wish I did not have to change my iWork file formats to view my documents on the PCs when I need to. Of course we have LibreOffice installed on our PCs, so the open document format would be ideal for solving that problem. The world could leave Microsoft behind if all the right pieces would fall into place. More items to add to my wish list…

  6. What I don’t understand is, why, with the billions that Apple has at their disposal, are they unable (unwilling?) to invest some of that money into building a team that can at least bring Numbers on a par with Excel? Or maybe just update the iWork suite more frequently than once every 3 years. I just don’t understand why that’s never even discussed.

    1. You’re right, I too think they’re missing a match there. I use Excel. The Mac version retains its menus, and the dreadful ribbon can be turned off. But I like the clean design of Numbers. If only there were more to it, I could migrate away from Excel.

    2. It’s obviously not a money problem.
      But totally agreed. I would like to see Apple up it’s game in some of these quieter foundational arenas.
      For example, there are many non-revolutionary areas where they could tighten the bolts.
      iWork, iTunes, OSX, iCloud. All these could use a little more love.
      They have the cash. Why not take their reputation for quality and “it just works” to the next level?

    3. There’s something else that I don’t understand. Why is it, with the ever-growing popularity of OS X and iOS, that no third-party developer has come out of the woodwork with a truly exceptional spreadsheet application? Are the software developers too afraid that having spent their time developing the app Apple will come along and subsume them? We have Excel and Numbers to work from as examples of how it might be done. Can no one make a business case for doing it better?

  7. MS isn’t the enemy anymore. Not sure they’re worth getting worked up over on something like this.

    The real enemy has been Android these last few years. Shit, I’d hug Steve B/MS if he could break metaphorically Android’s shins somehow and help Apple in the process.

    1. Due to Fragmandroid, wouldn’t MS have to offer different versions of Office for the various Android versions?

      And wouldn’t Microsoft come to the same conclusion as Nike and so many others, that it only makes sense to focus solely on iOS?

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