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Microsoft Office for iOS, Android not coming before October 2014: Report

Microsoft Office for iOS, Android not coming before October 2014: Report
Looks like we'll have to wait to wait till October 2014 to see Microsoft Office running on the iPad. According to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley an alleged roadmap about Microsoft's Office updates (code named 'Gemini') indicates that Office for iOS and Android, and Outlook for Windows RT would not see a release before fall (October) 2014.

According to the report the roadmap lists Office for iOS/ Android, as part of the Gemini Wave 2.0, along with Outlook RT, set for an October 2014 release. But it doesn't specify whether the apps will also support iPad and other Android tablets.

The roadmap also mentions that the Gemini update cycle would start with Wave 1.0 in October 2013 with Windows Blue app updates that will see the release of the Metro/ Modern UI Office applications - Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for Windows 8 and Windows RT.

The next set of updates, Wave 1.5, will be out in April 2014 which will include the release of the next version of Office for Mac and an updated Office for Windows Phone, in addition to an Office update that will bring support for large screen devices. It will also bring a new version of Office for Windows RT.  

We've been hearing about Office apps for iPad for more than an year now. It was first reported by The Daily in February 2012 that Microsoft was working on Office for iPad. There were more reports that suggested a November 2012 release. However, earlier this year, Kurt DelBene, head of Microsoft's Office unit refused to comment on the matter and instead said that online versions of Office apps were available for all browsers and that the company had enhanced the web applications substantially, in partnership with Apple.

The risk for Microsoft is that putting Office on the iPad takes away one of the key advantages of its own Surface and other Windows tablets, that already run Office natively. Removing incentives to buy Windows tablets would be a blow to Microsoft's flagship Windows unit, which although less profitable than Office, is still key to the company's overall strategy.

As Paul Thurrott points out in his writeup, it is most likely that Microsoft is holding up the release of Office for iOS until Windows 8/ RT gets firmly established in the market. He also points out that if Office for iPad/ Android was released along with Office 2013, it could have most likely killed the market for Windows 8 and RT devices.

Microsoft does offer native iOS versions of some Office applications, including its OneNote note-sharing software, Lync communication suite and SharePoint collaboration site, as well as its SkyDrive online storage service.

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