Microsoft To Release Free Office Apps For iPhone, iPad In Early 2013

There have been several rumors that Microsoft will release the Office suite for iOS.

The Verge now reports that they’ve received information from several sources that Microsoft will finally release the Office Suite for iOS and Android in early 2013.

The Verge claims that Microsoft will release free companion apps for the desktop version that will offer basic functionality.

Office Mobile will debut in the form of free apps that allow Android and iOS users to view Microsoft Office documents on the move. Like the existing SkyDrive and OneNote apps, Office Mobile will require a Microsoft account. On first launch, a Microsoft account will provide access to the basic viewing functionality in the apps. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents will all be supported, and edit functionality can be enabled with an Office 365 subscription.

Microsoft will allow iOS users to purchase an Office 365 subscription within the app, or let organizations distribute codes to enable Office Mobile editing for users. The apps will allow for basic editing, but we’re told this won’t go very far in attempting to replace regular full use of a desktop Office version.

So it looks like Microsoft doesn’t plan to release any significant support for Word, PowerPoint and Excel on competitor platforms like iOS and Android. By offering more advanced capabilities on its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platform, the software giant hopes that Windows 8 devices will be obvious choice for people looking for the popular productivity tools.

We’re not sure if that’s the right approach as people seemed to have done just fine without the Office apps for  iPhone and iPad until now. They’ll end up using fairly good alternatives available on the App Store.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

[via The Verge]

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