Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Office for the iPad nearing App Store submission: report

In early December, The Daily said that Microsoft was planning an Office Suite for the iPad, priced at $10, which is a reasonable price for an iPad app, but way out of bounds for a Microsoft Office Suite. Now, Rupert Murdoch's tablet news daily has gone further: it now reports that sources have told it that the app will soon be submitted to the App Store for approval (or rejection).
The reporter said he only had a "brief hands-on" and described the software he used as a "working prototype," which could very well mean it is not the same version that is near submission to the App Store.

Still, the report provided a working screenshot showing the that Office for the iPad app (assuming that's what it will be named) will have Word, Excel and PowerPoint capability, with editing available both locally and in the cloud.

The UI was described as similar to the OneNote iOS app. OneNote is the only Office app Microsoft currently offers for the iPad. In addition, there were definite Metro-ish (Windows Phone / Windows 8 design language) aspects.

An exact launch date wasn't given. However, despite saying the app was near submission to the App Store, the report stated that "the design team has since wrapped up the project" and that "it [Office for the iPad] could be released in the coming weeks," which makes it sound a lot more incomplete than the report implied.

We'd think also that development for this new iPad product could definitely be leveraged for Office for Windows 8 on ARM (WOA) tablets. Windows President Steven Sinofsky blogged on February 9 that versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote would be “included” on WOA tablets and PCs. However, those were said to be desktop-style, not Metro-style, apps.

One other thing: The Daily's source said the Microsoft was not currently developing an Office for Android suite. Although Android tablets are still having problems competing with the iPad, that will probably change in the future. They may not dominate as they do on smartphones, but its clear that Android tablets are gaining market share.

Could it be that Microsoft sees Google as its biggest "enemy," and not Apple? Even if it does, this is sort of like shooting off your nose to spite your face.

Update: Microsoft denied the report, but The Daily stood by it, saying it had been given an actual demo of the upcoming product.

No comments: