Feeds

Office for Android and iOS to ship by March 2013?

Maybe, but not in the sense you're hoping for

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

A product manager for Microsoft's Czech division may have let the cat out of the bag on Wednesday – almost – when he announced that versions of Microsoft Office for Android and iOS devices may ship as early as the first quarter of next year.

After spotting a report on the Czech site IHNED, The Verge was first to cite Microsoft product manager Petr Bobek as saying that Redmond plans to unveil versions of Office for Android and iOS in March 2013.

But while your Reg correspondent's Czech is a little rusty – all right, nonexistent – Google Translate's actually isn't bad, and a read of the robo-translated IHNED article fails to reveal such definite dates. All it appears to say is that Office 2013 will be launched in the first quarter of 2013, and that Microsoft will gradually publish versions for other platforms after that.

So it's a non-story? Frank X. Shaw of Microsoft's corporate communications department seemed to think so, having issued the following terse smackdown via Twitter:

When El Reg reached out to the Redmond home office for clarification, however, the response wasn't quite so categorical. "We have nothing to announce today about retail availability of the new Office," a Microsoft spokesperson said in reply. "As we shared previously, Office Mobile will work across Windows Phones, Android phones and iOS, and we have nothing additional to announce."

Refreshingly, for a non-response response this actually yields some information. It appears that yes, we will be seeing official Office products coming for Android and iOS at some point in the future. But it will be Office Mobile that ships for those platforms, not the full Office 2013 suite, and it will be aimed at phones, not tablets.

Forgive us for being a little disappointed. Microsoft has promised a full-featured version of Office 2013 that will run on Windows RT–powered devices like its upcoming Surface line, so we know that it's at least theoretically possible to port the suite to devices with ARM processors and large touchscreens, like Android tablets and the iPad.

Office Mobile, on the other hand, has never been much better than any of the various third-party Office document viewers and editors that can be found in the Android and iOS app stores today.

Still, it's an encouraging sign that Microsoft seems committed to releasing apps for mobile platforms other than Windows Phone, as it has already done with such products as SkyDrive and OneNote.

As for whether the Office Mobile apps for Android and iOS will launch by the rumored March 2013 date, however, that seems possible but unlikely.

So far, the closest thing to a launch date for Office 2013 we've heard is for the Windows RT version, which will ship when Microsoft debuts its Surface devices on October 26. But even that version will only be a preview release; the final version of Office 2013 RT isn't scheduled to appear until a few months later.

So while Bobek's comments seem to confirm that the full version of Office 2013 for the Intel architecture will ship in the first quarter of 2013, it might be safer to assume that means March, rather than January. To expect Microsoft to deliver new Office software for non-Windows platforms before then sounds like wishful thinking to this hack. ® 

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.