Blog Post

iPad reportedly getting Microsoft Office in 2012: Do we need it?

Microsoft, (s msft) lumbering giant that it is, is reportedly arriving late to the iPad (s aapl) party with a version of its Office document editing suite in 2012, according to The Daily. But at this point, I’m wondering whether iOS users would covet an official Office solution from Microsoft, or whether the possibility leaves you indifferent.

The reason I suspect this news might not excite some is that the iPad currently has a number of very good Office-compatible document editing options from third-party developers. There’s QuickOffice, for instance, and Documents to Go. Both offer Word, PowerPoint and Excel file editing, creation and exporting abilities, and both perform well, coming from developers with a long history of doing document editing on mobile platforms. Then there’s Apple’s own iWork suite for iPad, which is also capable of handling Microsoft files via import.

A Microsoft solution would have the advantage of working natively with Office files in the way the company that created them intended, however. That would mean no minor formatting oddities to occasionally iron out when you shift back to Office, and maybe even tight, wireless integration with Office on the Mac or PC, as well as Office 365 on the web.

The Daily says the cost for official Office iPad apps would be somewhere around the $10 mark Apple currently charges for its iWork titles, which would be a refreshing change from the often high price tags found on its desktop offerings. But for me at least, an official Office app would have to be a lot better than the competition in terms of its mobile interface before I’d be willing to drop the third-party solutions. What about you?[polldaddy poll=5712567]

15 Responses to “iPad reportedly getting Microsoft Office in 2012: Do we need it?”

  1. engteacher

    When??? I’m a school teacher who was just given a single ipad to use in class (the students do not have ipads). I NEED office, and I hesitate to get doc 2 go or any of the others because of the negatives. When the heck is Office Suite going to be available?? Ridiculous that it hasn’t been offered yet. We use Microsoft at work, but I’ve always used at Mac at home with Office Suite. Sure would like to have that option on ipad, and really I don’t get why it doesn’t already exist. ???

  2. “Do we need it?” is the wrong question. “Do IT managers want it?” is more important. Personally, I want Google Docs to keep improving on the iPad. I know a few IT admins that would love to be able to control Office on employees’ iPads.

  3. Microsoft will no doubt rise to the technical challenge and deliver a best of breed Office experience. The biggest problem for Microsoft is App Store pricing and cannibalization. For us on the outside, the pricing is obvious. But Microsoft struggles with multiple strategies. Desktop Office is Microsoft’s most profitable division. How much will end users pay for iPad Office vs Desktop Office vs Windows 8 Tablet Office? And every enterprise buys Software Assurance – how will Microsoft price in iPad access? If they take any longer to debate this, Adobe may have lost with Flash but PDF will be entrenched as the defacto cross device document format.