You know that guy "sources"? BGR does. The tech blog has heard from Sources that Microsoft is working on a tablet-optimized version of the Office suite, which is expected to land in November of this year. According to BGR, their source actually saw the app working on an iPad, and insisted it looked nearly identical to a leaked shot that Microsoft has since disavowed.


To be clear, Microsoft has said that the above image is fake. Of course, while more often than not, companies simply decline to comment on rumors, it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility that Microsoft has denied the authenticity of the image solely to throw the media off the scent. More likely, though, is that Office simply looks similar because, let's face it, Metro has a pretty easy-to-simulate design language.

If it's true that the above image is fake, there's not much new information that we can safely rely on that we couldn't have assumed before. It's reasonable to believe Microsoft is working on a version of Office for tablets. It's not a market segment the company can afford to ignore. Also, Windows 8 is already in Consumer Preview and is rumored to be released in late 2012. Since Windows 8 will be the first version to explicitly support tablets, it's not unreasonable that Microsoft would be developing Office for competing platforms while it's working on Office for its own tablet OS.

Then again, maybe none of it's true, maybe Microsoft wants to keep Office a Windows exclusive on tablets to lure customers, and we're merely hearing rumblings of something that will never make it out of Microsoft's labs. With little besides BGR's sources to go on, we can't say for sure. We certainly hope it's true, though. Office on tablets would be a huge step towards making tablets better productivity tools.

Source: BGR

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

    Not sure if I really care...it will probably be feature limited.  I'll just stick with CloudON as it works really well and is close to the real desktop office.

  • Daniel

    Well they also made onenote for android, so why not full office?

  • Skillit

    Doubt that would make tablets better productivity tools, there are already several office  editing tools for smartphones and tablets, the MS office is not going to bring anything new, just different and certainly doens't address the issues that hinder tablets as productivity tools.

    • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

      Nothing really works 100% though.  I have tried them all and, while they do a good job, they often screw things up.  Especially with complex documents using all of the features of a full-fledged Office suite.  I always have to send it back to my PC to clean up any artifacts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001235596936 Jason Wilkinson

    Microsoft Office "15" or 2012 is supposed to have Metro support in Windows 8. That is supposed to go into beta sometime this summer. I wouldn't be surprised if a similar look and feel will be developed for iOS and Android. It would be great to have true Microsoft Office on these devices that Microsoft has left out for the last years. It would be even more amazing if you can get a license for the Android/iOS version free with the purchase of the Windows license. I would imagine that this "app" would cost anywhere between $15 and $30 for a standalone license. Better than $150+ for Windows, but still expensive

    • http://twitter.com/Waazzupppp Ron Lunsford

      They won't do it because of the open hacking of Android software. Too many users just hack the APK and share it... They will keep it under lock and key and maybe give Apple a crack at it.

      • shonangreg

        What is there to stop microsoft from putting some form of authentication into their Office for android suite?

        MS could offer Office for android on a subscription basis, and IF they ever get traction with Windows tablets, then tell all their customers on android that their license and documents can be transparently migrated to their next Windows tablet.

        Plan A (Office on Windows tablets only) is out the window. MS has just been too slow to come up with an alternative and Windows phones are doing to poorly to give investors confidence. MS risks losing everything in the tablet sphere if they insist on Office on Windows only.

        Plan B would presumably be what I'm guessing at above. MS just wants to keep Office users in the fold and hold off competition from google docs and other Office alternatives. But if android and iOS users come to love their collection of apps enough, then Plan B might be insufficient to get many to switch as well. Users might very well prefer to go with OpenOffice android/iOS or an improved google docs than make the switch to a less-than-appealing Windows 8 app ecosystem.

        Plan C would just be to become an app vendor for the other OS's. And you know both Apple and Google would try everything they could to make MS unnecessary for office work.

        Oh, how the mighty are falling ;-)

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          Plan D, the android application is really just a front-end to the Office365 service (formerly known as OfficeLive) with expanded features and a native, tablet-centric re-implementation of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.  I personally consider this the most likely case.  It skirts the issue of piracy completely, also avoids per/device licensing issues completely, ensures a constant subscription fee from users, it's VERY attractive to small and large businesses, the apps won't require native upgrades for many features as they will rely on the online service for much of it...which also means they don't have to write as much to begin with, and as a product is has a viral quality to it (once a few people in a group/company are using it, others will eventually use it too)...If this isn't the route they are planning, they are making a mistake.

          Also worth saying, Microsoft may not be making these apps for you and me (even though so many people would like to think so).  They are making these apps for corporate partners who have surely told MS that they have uses for and budget for tablets and they'd like to be able to use these tablets for things like editing Office documents.  There's already a lot of companies with Marketing departments singing the praises of tablets, it's not hard to imagine other departments wanting to get on board. Unlike Marketing who uses Photoshop and web pages (both are pretty easy to push to any tablet out there), these other departments need full editing ability on their Office documents.  I'm sure somebody in the planning meetings kept asking, "how can we make this good for the regular consumer", I'm just not sure anybody else cared enough to answer. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001304123315 Luiz Metello Jr.

    Call me when Libreoffice gets realeased on android. I don't care about MS office since they introduced that stupid ribbon interface.

  • Mike

    if only microsoft would tablet/phone fully featured version of onenote... 

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    This isn't a rumor, and it's actually old news (well, technically an old theory).  Around a year ago (give or take a few months) the Office division posted a couple of job positions for iOS developers.  Sure, it could have just been for OneNote or simply replacement hires...but even then it looked more like a version of Office suit would come to reality.  In all likelihood, this is going to result in apps that aren't that dissimilar to the iWork set of apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) but compatible with something other than Apple's very closed off formats.

    I'm not going to call the rumor wrong about Office coming to Android tablets, but I can speak from personal observation that MS has far less interest in courting the Android ecosystem.  When I interviewed with a different division late last year it was clear the manager wanted to talk about the iPad and every time I brought up Android it was either ignored or answered with 'maybe'.  It would be smart to release for Android as well, but I would be very surprised to see it come out at the same time or with comparable feature sets.

    One contrary point, Microsoft has a (mostly) consistent pattern of releasing new versions of Office shortly after releasing new versions of Windows.  If they are building Office for all platforms, it would be consistent with their pattern to hold back on the release of the Windows and iOS versions until Windows 8 has been out at least a couple of months, and it seems entirely possible they could get Android development wrapped in the remaining time.

  • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    It seems Microsoft is doing everything to miss the boat on any opportunities they can get to keep up...

  • Stephen

    Office on Android tablets is not going to happen, unless windows 8 fails miserably on tablet form, and I will eat my hat if Microsoft don't make a success of it.

  • grellanl

    +1 for LibreOffice on Android, particularly a tablet version - though MS Office would be good too. I imagine MS would make it a Metro-style app on all platforms, though - it won't be designed to fit in too well with native UI. Anotner way if getting people used to Metro, and of having the 'optimum' experience on Windows.

    The existing Android office-compatibility apps are... well, they're not good enough. Particularly on a tablet or a Transformer-style device, you're looking for the steak and only get the parsley (as they say).