Microsoft executives were asked once again this week when will there be a version of Office for non-Windows tablets. A company exec gave a vague answer, but didn’t deny that iOS and Android versions are in development.
Qi Lu, the head of Microsoft’s Applications and Services Group, said at a meeting with analysts on Thursday, “We are working on touch-first versions for our core apps in the Office suite, Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and we will bring these apps to Windows devices, and also to other devices in ways that meets our customers’ needs, and the customer value of those experiences, and in ways that economically make sense for Microsoft, and at a proper timetable.”
Many believe that what is going to withhold a version of Office for iOS and Android tablets until Windows-based tablets gain greater marketshare. This is something Microsoft denies, however.
This summer, the company released a native app for the iPhone that gives Office 365 subscribers the ability to work with .docx, xlsx, and .pptx files in limited ways, but an iPad version has not been introduced.
There are an increasing number of free options for those who have an iPad or Android tablet and want to work with Office files. These don’t have all the features of Word, Excel, or Powerpoint, but they are native apps that are available now.
Quickoffice, which used to be a relatively expensive suite of apps for working with Microsoft Office documents on iOS and Android devices, became freeware earlier this week.
In addition, Apple is including the mobile version of iWork (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) free with all iOS devices bought in the future.