Since last year, rumors have percolated that Microsoft would soon release a mobile version of Office for Android and Apple iOS. And why not? The software is long, long, long overdue, and plenty of users (and we count ourselves among their numbers) are hungry for a workable, accessible Android/iOS word processor.
But now comes word that such an app may not appear until next year, at the earliest. According to Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, who has seen a recent Microsoft roadmap – an outline of forthcoming product releases, essentially – the Redmond giant will release "iOS/Android support for Office" in fall of 2014. A year and a half away, in other words.
It's worth noting that as recently as last October, a Microsoft representative in the Czech Republic was promising a 2013 launch for an Android/iOS Office suite. But Microsoft later walked back that promise. "The information shared by our Czech subsidiary is not accurate," the company said in an official statement. "We do not have anything further to share at this time."
Over at Computerworld, Preston Gralla chides Microsoft for delaying the launch of the software. "The strategy is a mistake, and an example of Microsoft being hurt by its over-reliance on Windows," he writes. "Windows is no longer Microsoft's biggest money maker. The Office division outperforms it financially. There's no doubt that iOS and Android versions of Office will be substantial financial successes," he adds.
But Ms. Foley cautions Android and Apple users from getting too dejected. After all, release calendars can be extremely elastic, she writes. "Even when Microsoft commits to ship targets in road maps, things can and often do change," she writes. "Demand (or lack thereof) can result in planned products releasing earlier or later than the planners anticipate."
Here's hoping the release of an Android/iOS Office suite hits sooner than a year and a half away.
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