Office on the iPad – Microsoft thread the eye of the needle

Supersite The Verge has learned through several sources close to Microsoft’s plans that the company will release Office versions for Android and iOS in early 2013.

From The Verge:

Office Mobile will debut in the form of free apps that allow Android and iOS users to view Microsoft Office documents on the move. Like the existing SkyDrive and OneNote apps, Office Mobile will require a Microsoft account. On first launch, a Microsoft account will provide access to the basic viewing functionality in the apps. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents will all be supported, and edit functionality can be enabled with an Office 365 subscription.

Microsoft will allow iOS users to purchase an Office 365 subscription within the app, or let organizations distribute codes to enable Office Mobile editing for users. The apps will allow for basic editing, but we’re told this won’t go very far in attempting to replace regular full use of a desktop Office version.

We reached out to Microsoft for comment on this story and a company spokesperson says “Office will work across Windows Phone, iOS and Android.”

So when I first read this, I was about to go HAM on this decision.

I have long believed that this was suicidal behavior on the part of Microsoft – enabling competitors to provide Office to their users.

I understand that it’s a tremendous potential source of revenue for Redmond but I also long believed that this  would kneecap the Surface or any other Microsoft tablet in the future.

And then, I read the fine print in the story..

The apps will allow for basic editing, but we’re told this won’t go very far in attempting to replace regular full use of a desktop Office version.

Makes a ton of sense.

Allow people to perform basic functions on competing tablets – you can’t win em all and you’ll get some money from licensing there. A lot of money.

Save Microsoft Office advanced functionality for Microsoft tablets and therefore sharpen the contrast between Microsoft Surface Pro and other tablets.

Brilliant.

Threading the eye of the needle. I’m impressed.

What do you all think?

Is Microsoft making a mistake by making Office available to competing platforms?

Use the comments below and let me know…

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