Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) appears to be closing in on a release of Microsoft Office for both iOS and Android this fall, despite previous denials.
The software is expected to be ready for a release in November, sources tell Boy Genius Report. This would match up with a previous report from The Daily, which claimed to have seen a working prototype of Office on an iPad.
Microsoft was quick to deny, calling the report “inaccurate rumors and speculation.” So much for that: BGR’s source claims that the Office they saw looked “almost identical” to a picture shown by The Daily, so maybe the folks in Redmond weren’t entirely truthful.
In any case, releasing a mobile version of Office for both Android and iOS makes a lot of sense. Windows Phone is behind its larger competitors in terms of market share and, although Windows 8 is supposed to be tablet-friendly, there’s no guarantee that those tablets will be able to compete with the market-leading iPad.
Users Want Productivity Apps
If you need more evidence of the public’s desire for mobile Office, look at the top paid apps in the iTunes App Store. In the Productivity category, Apple’s Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps are consistently in the list of top ten bestsellers, and have been since iWork for iPad’s launch in January 2010. As of Wednesday evening, Pages was third, Keynote ninth, and Numbers is 11th in that category.
These apps serve their purpose, but are far from perfect. iWork does not natively save documents to Office formats, and its export function trips up sometimes when it comes to formatting. Microsoft can obviously build better support for Office in its own productivity suite than Apple could.
Microsoft is silent this time when asked about the rumors. While it was quick in February to deny, this time it declined to comment. That silence speaks volumes about Redmond’s future plans.