Read about how rumors of Microsoft Office for iOS and the upcoming iPad 3 came and went quickly — and yet might still be alive.
High hopes for Microsoft Office becoming available on iOS in time for the iPad 3 were quickly dashed today, with Microsoft making it perfectly clear that there are no imminent plans to do so. This new revelation comes on the heels of a story in The Daily that purported to show photos of an imminent Microsoft Office app that would be available for iOS. Brian X. Chen of the New York Times is reporting that “A Microsoft spokeswoman issued this statement: ‘The Daily story is based on inaccurate rumors and speculation. We have no further comment.’ She added that a screen image included with The Daily’s article showing an Office product for iPad was ‘not Microsoft’s software,’ she said.”
Microsoft moved quickly to quash the spreading rumor of Microsoft Office being added to the iOS app store repertoire. Yesterday, a myriad of tech media outlets reported that Office could be ready in time for the launch of the iPad 3, ostensibly in March. Jonny Evans at Computerworld had this to say: “Microsoft isn’t sitting on the sidelines for iPad development. Apple’s oldest adversary and ancient ally is already developing a version of Office for the tablet. The Daily tells us iPad versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are set to be sent for approval by Apple’s App Store team ‘imminently.’”
At first glance, it would seem that the chances of Office arriving in time for the iPad 3 are now nil, with Microsoft weighing in directly on the matter (obviously they don’t play PR by the Apple playbook, letting the rumor mill grind its own grist). But many in the tech media feel that the possibility of an imminent release of Office for the iPad is still very much a possibility.
Going back to the New York Times piece, Chen says this: “Peter Ha, tech editor at The Daily, said that a Microsoft employee had demonstrated a version of the app on an iPad. ‘The launch screen may not be final, but the app itself is real,’ Mr. Ha said. ‘We were told that the app was done and it was being tested internally.’”
So, it’s The Daily‘s word versus Microsoft’s. Who should we believe?
Microsoft most definitely has more at stake in blowing any excitement over Office being launched for the iPad 3. But it would seem odd for them to offer such a strong denial, and then turn around and reveal Office on the iPad 3 in just a few weeks. That being said, Microsoft’s denial was far from concise; by stating that The Daily’s story was based on inaccurate rumors, Microsoft still has plausible deniability should they end up revealing Office for the iPad next month. Peter Ha’s clarification may in fact fix the inaccuracies.
How Is Microsoft Office Going To Work On The iPad?
Assuming that Microsoft Office does make its way onto the iPad this year, I’m a little bit confused as to how business users will get the full use of it. The Computerworld article only mentions that “Word, Excel and PowerPoint files can be created and edited locally and online” with the new, purported Office app. Granted, having the ability to launch Powerpoint presentations and create/edit Word and Excel documents will give the iPad a real business productivity boost. But without a USB port or ability to print directly from the iPad, the productivity of Office for the iPad is limited.
Business users use Office as their primary source for creating and printing documents. Thus, it will be a cumbersome task to stunt iPad-created Word and Excel documents into an environment where they can be easily printed.
Perhaps, however — and we have yet to hear this in the rumor mill — the iPad 3 will feature print ability and/or a USB connection, and Microsoft knows this. Perhaps they know something that we do not, and because of their own insider information, this year will be the year that they roll out Office for the iPad.
By Michael Nace