There’s good news and bad news for those who want a version of Microsoft Office for their smartphone or tablet: the apps are reportedly going to be free, but very limited. Real functionality will require paying a monthly subscription fee.
There have been rumors for some time that Microsoft is going to release versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPhone, iPad, and Android tablets. These will supposedly be introduced in early 2013.
These will be free, but will be for viewing files only. In order to do any editing, users will have to subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. This costs $6 a month.
Those who get their tablet from their company may get their servcie paid for that way. Individuals, on the other hand, might be happier with one of the already-available applications that offer support for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. There are a number of options — just a couple of these are the suite Apple makes for the iPad and iPhone, and DataViz Documents To Go, which runs on Android devices or iOS ones.
Microsoft allegedly intends to introduce the iOS version of Office in Q1, but the Android one won’t be out until Q2 of 2013.