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.


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…

About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. ( and The Redmond Cloud (

Related Posts

What would you say to a consumer version of Microsoft 365? One that could include Windows...

Brace for impact! It looks like Microsoft may have had enough of the Edge adventure, as a...

Looks like Microsoft is aiming big! The company is said to be working on Windows Lite, an...

  • CompUser

    I think Microsoft is crazy. I’d be willing to bet that a pretty good percentage of the people who are planning to buy a Surface tablet are planning to do so at least partly because it has Office on it. So if they can now buy an iPad or Android tablet and be able to put Office on it, why would they buy a Surface? This could kill the Surface tablet, and it tells me that Microsoft isn’t all that serious about being a hardware company (other than Xbox).

    • Onuora Amobi

      That was my initial impression. Hopefully we are wrong.

  • Rodney Longoria

    While I agree with CompUser for the most part, I don’t think it’ll kill the Surface tablet outright but it won’t help its sales, either.

    • Onuora Amobi

      Yeah, it’s not the way I would have played it for sure.

  • Pogo

    Crazy? Like a fox (four leg, bushy tail version that is)

  • Aaron MacIntyre

    You’ve been able to get office since the beginning of time on the mac OS, who cares? It’s straight up a non issue, you guys are over reacting.

    • Onuora Amobi

      I hope so.


  • stephen bates

    it all depends on which way we look at it are they getting desperate or just trying to amalgamate the market so that people can buy whatever hardware but with a variety of software fro whoever

  • Chris Robertson

    Users with competing tablets (Google, Apple, etc) are going to find other ways or apps to open/use documents and spreadsheets in the BYOD environment. I see that Microsoft knows they won’t sway some of the users into moving away from those platforms based on exclusive software (Office), and may well be opening a bridge to convert next-time hardware purchases with a limited-functionality Office product on those competing tablets. Makes some sense to me.

    • Onuora Amobi

      I think so too. It took me a while to get there but I did.

  • Dan Dar3

    Wow, so let me get this right. I’m an iPad user, no intention to switch, and Microsoft is offering me Office to buy… Hmm, they must be mad.

    • Onuora Amobi

      My early thoughts as well.

      • Dan Dar3

        MS Office will always shine best on Windows, whoever is going to take it on other platforms is because they wanted to stick to the platform, but they needed an Office suite.

        They won’t switch because they don’t have MS Office, they will just buy other Office offerings. So I think it’s a good move if they can do it, at least for the Office division 🙂

        They’ll get more revenue from selling other services, Exchange servers or SkyDrive space.

        Ballmer said it earlier: “Microsoft is a devices and services company” – I think this move goes in line with that.

  • chris8160

    There have been MS Office compatible apps on Android for a very long time – I bought mine for about £9.00 (about $14.00). I would not consider paying MS for something that offers little or no advantage – and I doubt that anyone else will. Cannot see why they bothered.

  • Steve Morris

    If it is only basic access and control of office then one can do that on alternatives. If one wanted to do any in depth work such as in Excel would you want to be doing it on a mobile device? I think not. Most people will just want to view documents possibly emailed to them whilst on the move so I think that the alternatives already available will suffice.

    I believe that Microsoft choking of Android and Apple users would only spite themselves. Apple and Microsoft users generally are happy with their OS’s and would not switch anyway and certainly not because Office was not available on their products.