Microsoft Office for iPad Awaiting Completion of 'Touch First' Interface for Windows Version

Dating back to the launch of the original iPad in early 2010, Microsoft has been considering the possibility of releasing a version of its Office productivity suite for the tablet platform. But despite repeated claims of an imminent launch, the only iOS release so far has been an Office Mobile app for iPhone available for subscribers to the company's Office 365 service.

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The most recent word on Office for iPad came back in April, when a leaked roadmap indicated that the next major version of Office was due to ship in spring 2014, with an iPad version arriving in the fall of that year.

Microsoft does indeed appear to be waiting to launch the next major version of its main Office suite before launching an iPad version, as The Verge reports that outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today revealed that Office will come to the iPad once a "touch first" interface is ready. That interface will reportedly be arriving on the next version of Office for Windows.

Speaking at a Gartner event in Florida today, Ballmer said "iPad will be picked up when there's a touch first user interface." That touch first interface appears to be making its way to the Windows version of Office first, with the iPad edition to follow afterwards. Ballmer noted the touch first interface is "in progress." [...]

Microsoft's head of applications and services, Qi Lu, also commented on touch versions of Office at an analyst meeting recently. Lu said the company is "working on touch-first versions for our core apps in the Office suite," and that Microsoft will "bring these apps to Windows devices, and also to other devices in ways that meet out customers' needs."

The timing for an Office for iPad release remains unclear based on these most recent developments, but they appear to be consistent with the previously leaked roadmap, which would put the Office for iPad launch into late next year.

Top Rated Comments

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91 months ago
Microsoft needs to break into separate companies. There is no way the Office division should have to wait for the hardware division before becoming established on the iOS platform. What a huge wasted opportunity.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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91 months ago
Only way they will release this is if they decide to completely scrap surface. So yes, about late next year seems correct ;)
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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91 months ago
... only 4 years after the release of the first iPad.

Meanwhile, how many third-party Office-compatible apps have sprung up to fill that void?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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91 months ago
Microsoft has to know that if they release Office for iPad, the Surface will "officially" be dead to the world.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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91 months ago
Microsoft made a huge mistake. a $49.99 pure profit price on a full Office suite for iPad would have easily made more money then the Surface disaster has, or ever will make. You are a software company Microsoft, stick to it. Now they are in a situation where many people have found alternatives that work for them. People will either not even think about buying it, or only pay a much lower price.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
91 months ago

QuickOffice is now free for anyone with a Google account. This is huge.

And of course, iWork is free for anybody who buys a new iOS device.

I have iWork + Docs2Go. With both I have not had need of anything else. I use Apache OpenOffice on my Mac along with iWork.

Two years ago, I would have forked over $150 for Mac licenses of MS Office and $100 for an iPad MS Office suite (assuming full document compatibility between them). Today (and especially by the time MS Office releases for iPad), I doubt I will even consider wasting my money.

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Subscription basis?: no thanks I'll use iWorks, good enough for tablet work.

iWork's touch interface is amazing. I only wish document compatibility with the MS Office and the desktop version of iWork were better. Most of my problems are missing fonts, but there are some things you can do in the desktop versions of iWork that break or confuse the iOS versions. It's an issue when saving a document to iCloud and moving between platforms.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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