Microsoft's long-rumored mobile version of its Office application suite for Apple iOS and Android devices will be available in early 2013, according to a published report.
Such a move would expand the potential market for Microsoft's flagship Office product, while simultaneously providing a widely used software product for Apple's iPad and iPhone as well as Android-based devices. Microsoft is trying to compete with those devices with its own Surface tablet and Windows 8 Phone mobile operating system.
Microsoft plans to release Office Mobile for Android and iOS in early 2013, according to The Verge, which quotes "several sources close to Microsoft's plans."
Office Mobile will take the form of free applications running on iOS and Android devices that allow users to view Microsoft Office documents, according to the The Verge. Like Microsoft's SkyDrive and OneNote applications, Office Mobile will require that users have a Microsoft account that provides basic viewing functionality for Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.
To be able to create and edit documents, users will need a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft's cloud version of the application suite. The Verge's story says Microsoft plans to allow iOS users to buy Office 365 subscriptions through the Office Mobile app or let organizations distribute code to enable Office Mobile editing. But, the editing capabilities will be limited compared to the desktop version of the Office applications.
A recent press release from Microsoft's Czech Republic subsidiary disclosed that the Office Mobile apps for iOS would be available in March 2013, while the Android version will ship in May, according to the report.
A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the report.
PUBLISHED NOV. 7, 2012