Microsoft Office Coming to iOS, Android: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is reportedly working on bringing its Office software to the Android and Apple mobile platforms. The reported plan would involve offering a free viewing app for users, and light editing tools for subscribers.

At the moment, Office functionality on mobile devices varies widely. Handsets running Windows Phone have a limited range of viewing and editing tools, while Microsoft's Surface tablet comes with Office pre-installed.

Now, a combination of leaked screenshots and a press release from Microsoft's subsidiary in the Czech Republic make it clear that Office is coming to devices running Apple's iOS software and Google's Android system. (Source:

Free Office Apps Read-Only By Default

The screenshots suggest there will be a free app for each of the major programs within the Office suite, including Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. Once users download the app, they'll register with Microsoft or sign in using an existing Microsoft account.

By default, the apps will allow users to view files only if they are received in an email, downloaded from a website, or accessed on a USB memory stick.

Mobile device users will be able to subscribe to Office 365, allowing them to create new documents and edit existing ones. Office 365 already allows users of laptop and desktop computers to subscribe to an online (or cloud) version of Office.

Businesses will have the option to buy Office 365 subscriptions in bulk. They'll then be able to provide individual codes to employees to activate the editing tools on their devices.

Subscription Pricing Not Yet Confirmed

There's no word yet on some big issues, including pricing and how Microsoft will deal with Apple's rules for mobile apps.

Normally an iPhone or iPad app user pays for an app subscription through their iTunes account, and Apple takes a 30 per cent cut. Experts believe Microsoft will be keen to avoid that payment scheme. (Source:

In any case, Microsoft has confirmed that Office is coming to Android and iOS, but not when. Unofficial reports suggest the iOS version will be released in February or March 2013, with Android following in May.

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