According to documents obtained by AllAboutMicrosoft, iPhone, iPad, and Android users may not see a version of the desktop publishing suite until the fall of 2014.
The roadmap, which was leaked to AllAboutMicrosoft by sources inside the company, points to a more prolonged wait for users of Android and iOS than previously speculated for Microsoft Office. Versions of the suite for these platforms wouldn’t arrive until 2014 as the roadmap lists fall 2014 as “iOS/Android support for Office”.
If true, a 2014 release of Office would mark three years that iPad users have gone without native access to Microsoft Office, a sizable omission otherwise for a platform that has no shortage of companies with mobile applications looking to cash in Office’s absence.
In the 4th quarter of 2012 iPad usage accounted for 46.5 percent of all tablet sales according to IDC. Together with users of Android tablets from Samsung, Asus, and Amazon, 40.9 million tablets don’t have the ability to run Microsoft Office in a native environment.
As more and more users turn to tablets for everyday computing tasks, the number of users Microsoft leaves open to poaching by alternative solutions like Google’s Google Drive, and Apple’s iWork grows. It seems Microsoft is betting on these users turning to its Office Web Apps instead, however as its browser based, some users could find it a mixed blessing.
iPhone users have gone six years without a Microsoft blessed way to read and edit documents created by the suite and also have access to Google Drive, and iWork. For these users, Office Web Apps isn’t an alternative.
Users of Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Surface RT do fare better in terms of updates. The next major update to Office, referred to as “Gemini” pegs 1.0 Windows 8-style versions of the four major Office applications –that is Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for arrival on Windows RT and Windows 8 by this October. Both of these products ship to users with Office preinstalled free of charge.
For the fiscal year ending June 2012, the Business Division at Microsoft, which Office is part of, accounted for $6 billion of the company’s $18 billion in revenue according to Microsoft’s fiscal reports.