In all the speculation that preceded Microsoft’s recent release of Office 2013, one of the most hotly debated rumors was that Microsoft would be announcing a version of Office for the iPad. Even with the debut of Microsoft’s Surface tablet, analysts said Microsoft couldn’t possibly afford to ignore the massive iOS user base.

They were wrong.

When asked point blank by Bloomberg Businessweek, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave a terse answer to the question of when we can expect an iPad version for Office: “I have nothing to say on that topic. … We do have a way for people always to get to Office through the browser, which is very important.”

Clearly, Steve Ballmer has never tried taking his own advice. While InfoWorld notes that the cloud-based version of Microsoft Office is somewhat improved, it’s still not a really workable solution for iPad users.

The most obvious limitation of Ballmer’s workaround is the lack of off-line access. If you need to work on one of your documents while you’re without Internet access, well, tough.

And if you want to print, well, there’s a “workaround” for that, too. You’ll have to basically “print” your document to a PDF and then print the PDF.

(Meanwhile, Android users like me are just plain out of luck on all counts, since the web apps are basically unusable on the Chrome browser.)

All in all, it looks like Microsoft Office may be going the way of the dinosaur. By going all protectionist on non-Surface tablet users, Microsoft has tied itself to the shrinking PC market and is headed for irrelevance.

Users who need a better workaround than the one Steve Ballmer has offered would be wise to check out better products offered by other companies, including the popular (and still free) CloudOn app .



  1. Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

    If Microsoft Office is going to ignore the iPad, I’m just going to go ahead and ignore Microsoft Office.

    • Matt says:

      Yea good luck with that.

    • mark walker says:

      completely agree with you, I think most iPad users will do this too. Ignore us at your peril Microsoft!

    • Ellie says:

      I don’t do heavy-duty word processing, with extensive formatting or anything like that, so your results may vary… but I’ve found that the iOS Pages app does a pretty good job of opening up and working with Word documents. I personally couldn’t care less that Microsoft doesn’t want to play nice. I’ll be just as happy to use their competitor’s product.

  2. Greta Kirkland says:

    I hope Office isn’t going to go away. I love my ipad and use it for certain things, but our main document creation/editing is done in Word. I think it would be much harder to do that on an iPad. The idea of formatting tables in a brief on an ipad is really scary.

    • I’m still holding out hope (against all evidence) that Microsoft will come to its senses sometime this year. Given how dismal the Windows 8 release turned out to be, I don’t think Microsoft can afford to write off a huge potential market like that.

    • CJ McKinney (@CJMcKinney) says:

      I really wish lawyers would stop being so slow to move on to new technology. Word hasn’t been good for many, many, many years (I think Word 5.1 was the last decent version). It is an awful, bloated….just terrible. I cringe every time I have to dust it off b/c some lawyer sent me some Word document with funky formatting that one of my other text editors / word processors is having difficulty translating.

      MSFT has had more than its fair share of second chances. I actually really wanted their tablet to be a good competitor. But it isn’t. It’s terrible.

      Balmer is like the kid who is working as hard as he can to drive Daddy’s business into the ground. This is just another silly, spiteful decision that will end up costing MSFT in the long run.

  3. Amro Naddy says:

    Interesting how aggressive MSFT has been this week — after this news from Ballmer, and the attack ads on Google/Gmail (“I’m getting screw-gled!”), you have to wonder how much of this aggression stems from worry.

    I’m actually bullish on MSFT because they still have hands-down the best professional utility suite in Office: I am an Excel and Powerpoint power-user, in spite of the free and cloud-accessible nature of Google Docs, Prezi, etc. Steve Jobs is dead, and I don’t know what the future of the iPad is, but I don’t think it’s going Mini — AAPL product feels rudderless right now.

    If I were Ballmer, I’d be balls out as well.

  4. jamal khawaja says:

    You think MS Office is going the way of the dinosaur? What planet do you live on?

    • Zac says:

      I do not think the intension of say “MS Office is going the way of the dinosaur” is that the apps have fallen down in capabilities. Its just that MS leadership is not focusing on the entire globe anymore. This leave room for new competition to grab real-estate faster.

      The technology revolution has been through the generation “X” and “Y” and more recently generation “Free”. We are now in the “Now” generation where peoples attention is narrow and patience is limited. If MS waits too long they will lose their future customers.

      • EEAC says:

        @zac if you were using MS Office it would have your grammar mistakes!! the correct word was intention. not intension

        • Chai says:

          If you were using it, it would have notified you that showed you were missing the word “corrected” between have/ your, would have Capitalized the first letter of the next sentence, and added a period at the end. Just sayin’…

      • Jack says:


        MS is focusing on “producers” as well as “consumers” with its products!! Can’t say the same for the iToys out there. The gen y, and free’s and now’s can all carry on consuming on an iToy while the real contibutors in the world will carry on making making money from them by producing with non-AAPL products.


    • The one where technology is changing at an alarming pace and where non-innovators get eaten for lunch.

      • Grammer Man says:

        @EEAC If you’re going to be picky, then ‘intension’ is a spelling mistake whereas “@zac if you were using MS Office it would have your grammar mistakes!! the correct word was intention. not intension” is one large grammer mistake.

      • Phil says:

        The one that’s FAR FAR AWAY… ? They’ve been saying that about MS since Novell was king and where are they now. How many Apple PCs litter corporate desktops? How many product lines does MS hav;, how many does Apple have? Who’s the inovator!
        Last time I looked most of Apple’s toys are designed to lower your driving skills.

  5. aerojmac says:

    The other day I had an energy drink that was not a Red Bull. I had become so accustomed to drinking Red Bulls that drinking anything-but one seemed odd. After I had finished it, and then on another occasion having another alternative, I thought to myself: this is how it used to be! I used to enjoy experimenting with different drinks. Sure, I enjoyed RB, and that’s probably why I made it a habit, but something was lost when I stuck to it exclusively. I think the same came be said with word processing. Microsoft no longer has anything near a monopoly on word processing and the file format – at all. Back in the 90s, people really enjoyed experimenting with different word processors – sure, Word was the best. Maybe, we can go back to this type of stage, where people can be resourceful and happily experimental on their own. No Word on iPad? So?

  6. sunanda says:

    lol, microsoft isn’t going to become a ‘dinosaur’. I feel like everyone talking like this has no clue about what people all over the world use. word & microsoft are still so dominant. I
    ‘m not saying they shouldn’t do more to improve. I just think it’s gonna take a lon gtime for them to go away.

    • Oz says:

      Nothing yet rival Excel’s higher functionality. I hear that if you learn PHP and MySQL you can recreate Excel’s functionality but how many Excel users are up for chasing curly brackets?

      I don’t know about all of Microsoft, but I can say that Excel 2013’s improvements are hardly dinosaur.

      Also, we don’t know the WHY behind MicroSoft saying “no” to the ipad. Might it be something on Apple’s side of the equation that made MicroSoft say “no”?

      • Ellie says:

        I agree, Microsoft office suite offers the most functionality… but I’d also argue that the more advanced functionality that it offers exclusively is stuff that the average joe just doesn’t need in the first place. I’ve been without Office for years now, and even my most complex budgeting spreadsheets full of basic formulas and academic papers are working just fine in the iWork suite. (And that includes on the iPad!) If Office offers me more functionality I don’t really care, because it’s functionality that I really don’t need.

        It’s like saying we should all be driving racecars because they handle better and go faster than your standard sedan. That may be true, but it doesn’t mean we need it.

        • CJ McKinney (@CJMcKinney) says:

          Ellie really nails the crux of the issue I think. Excel IS a deeper product. If you need pivot tables and such then you still need to use Excel. But for most lawyers, Apple’s Numbers or Google Docs has all the features you need, is more collaborative, more mobile and much much easier to work with. Same for MS Word. MSFT’s goal is to include every feature that anyone could possibly ever want or need. This is great if you are the 2% that needs some of the more arcane features but results in a cumbersome, bloated experience if you are a normal 98% user.

          As for Powerpoint…well Powerpoint is a joke compared to Keynote or other competitors. I don’t see how anyone serious about their presentation would use it.

    • @sunanda — I know MS Office is the current “standard.” That’s why I have an entire site dedicated to it. But I also understand that, as the tablet market evolves and people (especially in the legal field) expect to be productive anywhere and on multiple devices, protectionist tactics like Microsoft’s are suicidal. To me, if a large group of customers tells you they want and need “X”, why would you tell them (if not in so many words) they don’t know what they’re talking about?

      • Farnsworth says:

        @Deborah – you said “To me, if a large group of customers tells you they want and need “X”, why would you tell them (if not in so many words) they don’t know what they’re talking about?”

        This has been Apple’s modus operandi since its inception. Apple supplys to the market what Apple wants to supply. Not what the market wants.

        Why is MS’s stance any different?

        • Hoinar says:

          That’s exactly the answer I was looking for. I’d like a cheap mouse and keyboard for a MacBook, but Apple forces me to buy only sheet they make. Or I’d like them blue, pink and with little lights on them. On a PC I can do that, on a Mac I can’t because of that stupid Apple behavior that doesn’t let a user choose.

          Microsoft, on the other way, was always taking into consideration the opinion of their users. Have you heard about MS Connect ( It’s their way of getting ideas, improvements or even bugs from customers. They were always connecting better with their users than Apple did. Let’s talk only about old versions compatibility in almost any MS software, which is a way of MS respecting their users.

          • J Knight says:

            You obviously haven’t tried to use a MAC in about 10-15 years because Apple allows all kinds of keboards, mice ( I used a MS mouse for years –with no special drivers needed), printers, cameras, scanners etc. I find that most things work “plug and play”.

            Meanwhile, I use a company-provided (HP) Win 7 PC and have experienced strange usability issues and functions that just don’t work as good as on my personal MAC, namely the sound volume, the graphics brightness controls and very inconsistent trackpad gesture support even though I always load the latest drivers and updates from HP and MS.

            This kind of argument is pointless because you would rather buy a PC and in most cases I would rather buy a MAC (limiting the choices of hardware that an OS has to deal with does limit a few of the SNAFUs).

            Just try to stick to the current facts. Yeah MACs cost more to buy; and I maintain they cost less to KEEP.

  7. Chas says:

    There is and LibreOffice. Any issues with using either with iPad? MS no longer dominates the world~ neither does T.Rex

  8. Matt says:

    Can’t say I blame Microsoft. Apple has continued to swallow up , shut out, disallow or severely charge many other software developers to the point where it’s becoming a real monopoly. While the rate of Windows users is shrinking, eventually Microsoft will only have the Office Suite left to offer while everyone converts to Apple . However, if they make a stand like Apple does on its own software, they can still sell the Windows platform to the many businesses that depend on Office. Becoming a dinosaur? Hardly. It’s exactly what Apple has been doing since the 90s. If anything, they need to continue this move, make new compelling packages, or partnering up with other software giants like Adobe to create entirely Windows-only systems.

  9. MD says:

    Word and PowerPoint are polished, mature products. They are the standard in their respective categories. However, relatively speaking, they are simple and many competing products have comparable capabilities. The one product that is unequaled by anything else in any other category of desktop software is Excel. Yes, there are other spreadsheet programs and to the majority of users they won’t notice much difference in feature sets between them. However, if you are an Excel power user and do any kind of serious analytics or reporting on big business data, scientific data, or any other complex data sets, then you know Excel has no spreadsheet equal. It’s not even close. The world’s businesses run on Excel. It is basically its own platform for building reports and interactive applications. If you just need to maintain lists in a spreadsheet, then open office or google apps will suffice, but if you want to crush numbers and do mind blowing analytics, and display the results in an interactive dashboard. Excel stands alone in desktop software. Due to Excel, more so than any other Office app, Office as a whole is not going anywhere soon. Nobody is doing serious work on an iPad anyway at this point.

  10. steve says:

    Microsoft doesn’t owe apple users office and why should they you apple followers have jumped in bed with the worst self serving grossly egotistical company in the world and I wouldnt take an ipad if it was free the company sickens me…

    • Joey says:

      Yes, because Microsoft has a tremendous history of avoiding hubris and being benign? Need I remind you of winning things like Vista and Win ME? How about their abuses with IE? The hosing they gave consumers with the Xbox360 when it was released?

      • Human says:

        Yes, true, but they have been very nice at least the last six years. They’ve even been getting “awards” for being the most ethical company etc. They’ve also release documentation on all their protocols and formats + contributing to open source and even open sourcing some their own software/libraries. Many don’t know this, but MS is responsible for a great deal of innovations to the PC platform itself, and this is given for free to the OEMs (of course, to strengthen the PC market). Their new ARM platform is an example of that. Also, they contribute to a lot of standards and specifications.

        Btw, Vista and WinME have nothing to do with being nice or not. While WinME did crash for many users, including me (at least two blue screens a week), it was indeed faster than Win 98 SE and brought system restore and other stuff to the table.

        Vista was “bad” because it demanded a lot resources, especially memory, and many old apps lost compatibility and stopped working. 85% of this was remedied with SP1. Vista became a usable OS after that.

        Fyi: IE6 was the best browser when it got released. It had the best CSS support and included the most features. IE has had all these CSS3 features we’re getting now for over 13 years. Gradients, rotate, vector drawings, etc. – it was all possible with IE6. A lot of it weren’t standards, granted, but most were submitted to be a standard. The W3C didn’t like VML though, so it merged it with some other technologies like PGML and so SVG was born.

        So, the only thing we can hate Microsoft for with IE is being slow to release IE7 and getting to where they are now with IE10 (which is great!).

  11. Tim G says:

    The iPad is a great toy, but you can get work on done on a Windows 8 device.

    I’ll keep my toy, but moving to a Windows 8 device is a no-brainer for me.

    In the face of the Apple tidlewave, what MSFT have put together is very impressive indeed. They have

    – an operating system built for mobile and office use
    – the killer product suite for, and adopted by, business
    – a staggeringly good cloud hosting / developer environment in Windows Azure
    – a huge global developer network on the BizSpark programme
    – a very decent first entry into the hardware market.

    I wouldn’t eat my hat if it isn’t the iPad that ends up in Jurassic Park…

  12. As MD points out above, I feel similarly about PowerPoint. Imagine on any given day in how many offices there are people busily putting presentations together using the standard. It will take a huge shift for people to stop using PowerPoint. Not having it on the iPad isn’t going to make it go away. Also, with the new breed of tablet/laptop hybrid units coming out that run all Windows apps and operate like a true multi-tasking computer the reign of the iPad could be shorter than we think.

  13. Jupe says:

    Interesting. So Microsoft business is driven by Ballmer’s emotional ego rather than customer need and marketing analytics. We all know where this leads to. Bill, watch out how your baby is being treated!

  14. Juan Jimenez says:

    “They were wrong.” Incorrect conclusion. The analysts said MS could not afford to ignore the iPad. That they did does NOT in any way, shape or form make he analysts wrong, because that will only be proven once we see what consequences MS will face because of this decision. Please stick to writing about conclusions that are supported by simple, grade school logic.

  15. Joao Carlos Campos says:

    For some people, technology is the hardware, when in fact the technological creation comming from software, hardware exchange every 3 months, software evolves …

    Some products are for domestic use and behave as accessory to the style of dress of the people , other professional help in productivity.

  16. Wolfgang says:

    I’m amazed the Ballmer has packaged the message so friendly. iPad is such a piece of image junk that it is not worth the while to produce a version for it.
    Deborah should give the surface a try and then would realize that she’s got the whole dinosaur thing wrong, completely wrong. As a matter of fact I’m amazed that Apple dares to bring out a new iPad which is still the same as the old iPad, without learning that the tablet world as they know it is dying.
    Deborah, by the way, if you haven’t been sleeping the last few months, Microsoft is the one who is not sleeping. Congratulations Micorsoft to a Surface product, which is miles ahead of most of the competition, especially iPad.

    • Ellie says:

      It always surprises me how hostile Microsoft fans get about Apple products.

      • Nick says:

        I could go into a diatribe about how Microsoft fans are just tired of having the same pieces of hardware crammed in our grille for years, but I don’t need to.

        From a business perspective, I can’t even remotely fathom anyone using the iPad as a serious business tool anyway – it’s just a giant iPhone with no voice calling functionality.

        Call me old fashioned but I prefer my scaled down productivity hardware to still be a computer. Maybe one day Apple will realize this and build an iPad with OS X?

  17. TL says:

    If you want to use office have an PC dont have a MAC!! You have a MAC and then want to use the app of windows… lol.. must be.. Why should they do something for MAC?? They do for themselves if MAC want to have something as good as the office they can always do… but until now they dont seem very interested in doing so

  18. HKD says:

    I don’t know if you see whats going on with the competition between the three giants at the IT industry right now, Microsoft, Apple and Google… but such decision makes sense. Apple and Google are fighting Microsoft for several years back by clearly doing dirty work behind scenes (the same way politics is done), while Microsoft was still releasing its best products for other platforms in order to satisfy all customers. Now it turned out that using Microsoft’s best products, these competitors (especially Google) became popular and immediately after getting high on the list, they are ignoring and even blocking Microsoft. Therefore, why Microsoft would release its best products for iPad, Android or any other device from a competitors who do everything to destroy Microsoft? Yes, most of those using iPad would say there is option “better” than Office… ok, go on with that ;)

  19. Av.Design.Engineer says:

    If you install the terminal App ‘OnLive Desktop’, however, then you have full access to the office suite, and more.

  20. Nick Rameka says:

    iPad just isn’t a serious enough business tool to cause any worry of that nature for MSFT. People who don’t use Office are a minority in the business world at least. Who wants to reinvent that wheel? I mean, come on.

  21. Steve Stokke says:

    They can’t even get Office 13 right; what makes anyone think they could get a tablet right. I have been trying to install Office 13 Professional for the past week, following the instructions from tech support in india twice a day, still no luck. Total loss of productivity. Microsoft has really dropped the ball on this one. Total loss of time and money.

  22. Funkadelic says:

    Right Steve you Bal-d-headed-lmer MS noob, ignored and banned for life!

  23. col_panek says:

    I use LibreOffice to work with the Powerpoints, Word docs, and Excel spreadsheets from the other folks in the office. I can read old files, Visio, WordPerfect, and even edit PDFs. I run LinuxMint, and the only Microsoft product I use is a mouse.

  24. Aaron King says:

    I appreciate the article and as a developer I think that the JavaScript version of Word is pretty good, but not a desktop replacement. I don’t think that Office is “going the way of the dinosaur” any time soon. I’ve worked for the courts here in Indiana recently and in Illinois when I was in college. Even the Judges that use Macs use Office. So the .docx filetype will be around for awhile, if not forever.

    • Legal users are a loyal bunch (for various reasons), and I don’t think there will be an en masse switch to another office productivity suite. It’s just a shame to make a bunch of users jump through all these hoops (CloudOn, OnLive, Office cloud-based apps that aren’t mobile-friendly) to get their work done.

  25. Are.You.Serious says:

    This article is pure speculation, presented as fact. How did you get from “no comment” to “no?”

  26. Arjun says:

    Just a matter of time before other equivalent applications to office come out on these platforms. Microsoft is becoming obsolete and anchoring to dying PC businesses like Dell is not doing them any favors.

  27. Tom says:

    I may be misinformed, but why should MS provide office to the competition? If they want to get customers to buy tge surface then they don’t want people using the ipad. What office products does apple supply to other companies?

    • Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

      Because Microsoft will make a shitload of money selling Office for iOS. I would pay at least $10/app for Word, PowerPoint, etc., for iOS.

      • Paul R says:

        Wow. How generous. $10. That’s really not a shitload. MS sells each produce for over $100 now on Windows.

        What you are missing is that MS has no incentive to help Apple (or Google) put them out of business. If you have the best product and it only runs on your platform, and you want to sustain that platform, you don’t give it to the other platforms (especially for a lousy piece of shit $10).

        When the time comes and MS is displaced by IOS or Android, then they will provide Office for those platforms. Until that time, MS’s priorities are to recapture its own marketplace. And the best way to do that is to keep Office for themselves.

        So, they could spend millions of dollars porting Office to Objective-C, so that it runs on IOS, just so that they can collect your $10. Or they can continue to develop on Windows, take the $100 price, and only need to sell 1/10th of the volume, avoid the development and maintenance of a 2nd platform.

        Also, there’s the opportunity to coax people away from IPad and buy a Surface (another $500 in revenue).

        If you were MS, what would YOU do?

        • “If you were MS, what would YOU do?”

          Well, Paul R, if I were Microsoft, I’d recognize that, given the size of the iPad user base, there are probably a lot of professionals who use their Windows desktop/laptop with Office at their desks and carry their iPads/other tablets with them while on the go, and that those people will often need to edit documents while they’re out of the office. As things stand now, not only does the license for Office 2013 preclude installing the program on both a desktop and laptop (as previous versions allowed), but there’s extremely limited functionality available for “on the go” functionality (web-based apps, etc.). I think it would have served them better to think about linking a license for a mobile app to the desktop app purchase for an extra fee instead of going all protectionista on a very large group of users.

          Several people in this comment thread have asserted that iPads are not business tools. That may have been true at one point. It’s certainly not anymore. A couple of lawyers I know attended a CLE just this week on “iPads for Lawyers 2.0.” See that “2.0”? Yeah. It’s evolving.

          In short, I think Microsoft’s current tack is a step backwards.

  28. newbie says:

    Well, Ballmer isn’t doing much different from Apple, creating their own ecosystem. For the home user will be quite interesting battle, but for business I am not sure Apple has a big market option there…

  29. SJB says:

    I use Documents to Go on my iPad and Droid. Great low cost app for viewing and editing MS Office docs including Powerpoint and can open PDF also.

  30. desouzadesign says:

    Apple makes a great program for both mac and ipad… it is called iWork – pages (word), numbers (excel) and keynote (powerpoint)… and with all these you can save the PC equivalent

  31. Kashif Khan says:

    Microsoft chokes again.
    Unfortunate conclusion to the article though. Recommending a product which is equally useless as the MS online Office. The argument was the need to use office in offline mode and be able to print, well in that case the solution presented isn’t viable either.

  32. kropt says:

    I don’t think people understand how bad this could be for iPad users who use iPad for things other than music, videos, photos and news”papers”. Having no Office would make future plans from Apple on establishing an iOS based device as an enterprise (not corporate) standard extremely difficult. I am an IT admin, and no matter how much I want to use my iPad for my work, I will have to ask my boss to give me a Surface (Pro is coming out, BTW) so that I can use Office – mainly Word and Excel. The problem is that Apple seemed to have presumed the availability.of MS Office for iOS because I don’t think they spent a penny to make their Office-equivalent software from Mac on iOS. Now it’s a little less to start it, no?

  33. Web Master says:

    Apples are for Apples pies… and those endorsing that mentality of over priced, limiting products just because they look cool are the majority of the unemployed, struggling, foreclosed, Starbucks sipping, Prius driving individuals who endorse slave labor by FoxComm …look at your mistakes and learn from them that is what difference us from monkeys!

  34. Aiwinia Temba says:

    “Computer business are like fruit market on a Saturday night. If you don’t sell it at five o’clock, the price is down tomorrow because the fruit’s no good the next day. You’d better sell it now.”

  35. eatit says:

    I believe I lost brain cells from reading this article. MS is going no where. I love your section on lack luster windows 8 sales. lol The fact is, people do like Windows 8. Despite what all you apple fans would have people believe. The only reason Windows 7 sold like hot cakes right off the bat is because so many people hated Vista. End of story. Windows 8 will take hold weather you like it or not. You seem to forget that apple locks its services down all the time and no one complains. Microsoft is creating an ecosystem. Join it or live in your lemming world that is apple.

  36. Jason says:

    500 million people use MS Office (legally purchased). I am pretty sure as is MSFT that they don’t need to create a version of Office for iPad to continue that success. There is no real viable competition in the enterprise software industry to replace that footprint.

    In the long run success is not going to be dictated by any particular device or even by operating system. With HTML5 and the rapid advance of cloud based application services (think Office 365) the device that the applications are being accessed from will become less and less relevant. In the end it is about content, context, and access.

    • Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

      With HTML5 and the rapid advance of cloud based application services (think Office 365)

      Yes, except that Office 365 is a completely inadequate alternative to the desktop versions. Microsoft needs Metro versions of Office, at a minimum, and it would be really nice to see versions for iOS, too.

      • Jason says:

        That’s a fair statement and I am thinking there will be some movement from MSFT to that end sooner rather than later.

        Consumerization of IT will force MSFT more to the middle from the current stance as iOS based devices become even more prevalant in the enterprise. That said, I don’t think they are going anywhere anytime soon. I base this at least partially on the size and reach of their enterprise sales organization and existing agreements, combined with the difficulties that most organizations face when trying to shift deeply embedded technologies in their respective populations. MSFT absolutely needs to step-up their game, but I also think they have more time to figure it out than most people think they do in the enterprise software space.

  37. roy says:

    So what if Microsoft doesn’t make a version of Office for the iPad? Who in their right mind would use an iPad to do any substantial work on a spreadsheet, document, or presentation? Yes, I have an iPad (and just about every technology) and quite like it for reading, surfing, and *light* editing. I have CloudOn installed and it *could* be used to edit documents, but one would go insane trying to do so for anything but the simplest of tasks. Microsoft likely sees it as a no-margin investment and not a very effective loss-leader.

    • Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

      You’d be surprised what people like to do on their iPads. I know people who have written books on them. I type 60–70 wpm on my iPad’s on-screen keyboard. I would love to be able to edit briefs and contracts on it.

      • roy says:

        I agree. Some people do use an iPad as you do, but I think the majority of iPad users don’t use for much more than reading (which it’s pretty good for), browsing, and utilitarian/game apps. Over the holidays I used it to connect to SiriusXM and it was excellent for that. Personally, I much prefer the larger screen (in fact multiple screens), full keyboard, and rich document editing features on a full fledged computer. It doesn’t particularly matter if it’s Mac or Windows, but I happen to use Windows more often. It’s real nice to easily copy a high resolution Visio diagram, complex spreadsheet output, etc. into a document and then send it to a PDF for distribution.

  38. Rod Freeman says:

    Is it any different from not having Final Cut or Garage Band for any other system than Apple? Or El Goog won’t put it’s products out for Windows RT?
    Give it a few years, as the touch PC business grows, it will fill the void for mobile productivity, and the ipad (and Android, and Kindle) will remain to fill the mobile content consumption void. If you are writing a short document (a trip report for a salesperson, or a resume for an unemployed artisit) an ipad works. If you are writing an engineering specification document, or legal document chances are you are still in the MS Office realm, and won’t use an ipad for that anyways, so I think it’s a non-issue.

    • “If you are writing an engineering specification document, or legal document chances are you are still in the MS Office realm, and won’t use an ipad for that anyways, so I think it’s a non-issue.”

      Working in the legal field, I beg to differ. Just saw a CLE presentation this week on “iPad for Lawyers 2.0.” Lots of lawyers finding legal-specific uses for their iPads and other tablets. There are lots of situations in which being able to do quick edits while waiting for your turn at motion docket, etc., would be a boon to productivity.

      • Mark says:

        The ability to do “quick edits” accurately describes the extent of work that would be tolerable on the iPad. Given the inherent limitation, people are unlikely to be able to justify any significant investment in an application with limited utility value. So now you’re talking about the need for a low-cost application. Where’s the “win” for Microsoft in this? They would have to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars, and countless man-hours into a port of Office for iOS with limited potential for return on that investment.

        And, if they produced a stripped-down version, they would be slandered by the iOS community for removing features/functionality. iPad users will simply have to learn to live within the economic constraints of the walled garden they bought into. Most of us learn early on that you don’t always get what you want just because you want it – at least, not as an expectation that someone else should deliver on that want.

  39. milks says:

    Who in their right mind wants to work on an iPad anyway? It makes something of a joke of the term ‘productivity suite’. Anyone with enough money to waste on an iPad probably has a desktop or laptop to work on. Save the door wedge for tweeting and facebook.

  40. Nicholas Starinsky says:

    No big loss. It’s difficult to justify ANY app’s price when it costs as much as the device (ipad mini) itself… Office for Mac is the best Office version. It would make sense to make a light or “lite” version of Office for Ipad BUT it will never happen – Microsoft has 500,000 of its own, unsold, Surface tablet devices sitting on retailers’ shelves and in warehouses; no one wants them.

  41. sojourn70 says:

    Office light version of Skydrive, works like a charm on iPad and it is optimized just fine on Safari. Much much much better than any word processing/spreadsheet/presentation/notes tool on iPad, and free as well, with a much superior cloud service too! It is sad that iPad is not getting Office but in any case it is not really something iPad can handle, as it is a complex toolset, with higher requirements than your average mobile device can offer, the light web version is fine though. Then again, if you want the real thing, you can always buy Surface! ;)

  42. Matthew says:

    Easiest solution – put KingSoft free edition on a stupid Windows 2008R2 Server – virtualised with Parallels Virtuozzo, install Ulteo (free) and provide web-based office application on-demand. Pay some more and put MS Office 2010 on there as well…

  43. J Earnest says:

    Stupid decision Microsoft!!! I agree, you’re strategizing yourself out of relevancy, absolutely crazy. I find it hard to believe that a company that has been so relevant for so long, a true pioneer in so many areas of technology can be this obtuse?! Make it harder to use your technology and people WILL absolutely go elsewhere, and adopt tools that make more sense. You won’t get these people back either Microsoft.

  44. boof says:

    Either the author doesn’t know anyone at MS, or isn’t in enterprise IT with regular access to them. Anyone in large scale enterprise IT with a good relationship with their MS contacts knows what’s coming. And this article is wrong on so many levels its useless trying to even point it out.

    the headline is click bait, we all fell for it, and author arguing the toss on the semantics of the content shows they known this.

  45. Domonique says:

    As long as there are students, there will a Microsoft program running

  46. Dan B says:

    Seems to be a bad move on the part of Microsoft. Years ago they were late to the web and their response involved using their dominance of the desktop to stay relevant. This strategic move seems similiar, however in this case they are opening the door wide open for anyone to out innovate them here and ultimately make them less relevant.

    Regardless, I’ve been using CloudOn for awhile and it is an awesome alternative. No need to replace my iPad 3 with an under (battery) powered, more expensive Surface Pro. And thankful the whole BYOD trend means I have control over what I use at work.

    Wonder what market position Microsoft will have in 2018-2022???

  47. Raj says:

    I guess This article writer is misinterpreting Balmer’s response. Seems like she is craving for people’s attention. Seriously doubt Microsoft is going to ignore any popular platforms.

  48. Mark says:

    This is brilliant, talk about no knowing your audience.

    Most people that want to use word or excel don’t know how to use a majority or its features.

    It is fair to say you can use whatever you need to do the task or job at hand.

    Myself, I use Rdp back to a desktop with word or excel or powerpoint, wherever I am if I want to use a full enriched experience, however most of the time it’s purely notes and then print.

    Pc market is in decline as it is being realised unless its admin function and office based along with machines requiring dedicated functions such as cad or stop then users will suffice functionality for accessibility in a roaming environment.


  49. Del says:

    “All in all, it looks like Microsoft Office may be going the way of the dinosaur. By going all protectionist on non-Surface tablet users, Microsoft has tied itself to the shrinking PC market and is headed for irrelevance.”

    I thought it was a well written article until this statement. There is no “shrinking PC market” for Microsoft’s two largest Office using markets: enterprise, and educational. That statement is purely opinion and has no basis in fact. It’s long been known that high volume MSDN accounts (such as large businesses and educational institutions) have been Microsoft’s bread and butter for Office sales.

  50. Dave McKinney says:

    “The most obvious limitation of Ballmer’s workaround is the lack of off-line access. If you need to work on one of your documents while you’re without Internet access, well, tough.”

    I don’t see this as an issue at all. The only iPad users that would be impacted are those who have a wi-fi only device, but given the widespread availability of hotspots in businesses and public locations, there is more than enough connectivity to go around. Apple’s own Pages app can convert to and from Word files and functions perfectly well offline. Add the use of free cloud storage with Skydrive or Dropbox, and you have a cross-platform solution – at a very cheap price!

    • Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

      The times you are least likely to have convenient wi-fi also tend to be the times you are most-likely to need to edit your documents on your iPad. Despite the fact that everyone agrees wi-fi is everything, it really isn’t, especially when you travel.

      It’s not a very good solution if you have to track down a Starbucks every time you want to be able to edit a document.

      • Mark says:

        “also tend to be the times you are most-likely to need to edit”

        That sounds like a perceptual fallacy. When Wi-Fi is available and work is being done, that’s seen as “that’s they way its supposed to work”. These scenarios don’t intrude on your conscious mind and don’t add to the “positive” cup on the perception scoreboard.

    • Serena says:

      It might be different in the US, but way up in Northern Canada, lots of places don’t have cell service, or if they do, it’s CDMA. As such, the demand for hotspots is less.

      And if one didn’t have a connection, document editting or reading would seem the likely choice of work to be done.

  51. Tom says:

    I’m disappointed as I’m a devoted user of Word, and the iPad. On the iPad I’m mostly reading Word docs composed elsewhere, rather than doing any heavy duty word processing, but if I’ve got a table of contents or embedded pictures or images in a document, it’s very annoying if they don’t properly format and display on my iPad. You can work around that by converting your Word doc to PDF before sending to the iPad, but I’d rather just be able to open docs and have them work without the extra step. Oddly, I’ve found that Pages does the best job of opening Word docs and preserving formatting, even though other apps claim to be designed for just that purpose.

    I’m sure that MSFT will offer Office for iPad one day, but it will be after they really give a push to Windows tablets and try to gain market share. If I were betting I’d say a year or two is their timeline.

  52. Jerry Young says:

    I find the assertion that Microsoft Office is going the way of the dinosaur curious. The Apple iDevices are but one micro market within the much larger macro market for productivity suite platforms. And readers should know from the past that Microsoft will make the necessary changes to strategy as business requirements dictate.

    Here’s the fundamental difference between the companies. Apple designs consumer products primarily using technologies from other companies. Microsoft manufactures and distributes its own developed software technologies, and is now expanding further into the development of consumer products.

    At this point, Apple depends far more on consumer preference and design in maintaining its competitive advantage than Microsoft does.

    What Apple products were you using before 2006?
    What Microsoft products were you using before 2006?

    It’ll be a long, long time before Microsoft Office goes the way of the dinosaur.

  53. It-caveman says:

    If you need oof line document access on an ipdad have any of you tried Quick Office Pro. Reads and writes .doc, .xls, etc. etc, read PDF and ppt as well. Works great for a go between for my laptop and the iPad. While not as powerful as MS Office it’s still a happy compromise.

  54. Edward Aviles says:

    No Office from MS? No problem. Spend $15 on Quick Office Pro and you can use it for spreadsheets and word processing. It supports MS Excel, Word and Power Point. Chances are if you use this on an iPad or Android device its going to be on a limited bases anyway. I have it on my Galaxy Note II and iPad and it more than serves the purpose. You can’t blame MS for not going that route. Think about how it will hurt the Office market share where people are currently spending hundreds of dollars per Office license, and now they have to put out a $15-$20 dollar product for mobile devices that is going to take away from their bread and butter.

  55. EG says:

    I have been in the business a long time (system 34 days) and have tested all kinds of products, software and hardware. The fact of the matter is that corporate users are not ever going to be able to use their iPad for real work. While it is a great device and i certainly love mine it does not handle my business needs. For starters, it is herculean to do something as simple as cut/copy/paste between apps. Microsoft should stay the course and perfect the surface and keep office on a device that allows true multi tasking. Just Saying.

  56. DJ says:

    I understand why the iPad users would be some what upset by this. But this can be easily rectified by iPad users getting a MacAir or other Mac laptop. Office 2013 is out for Mac. Office does not run on iPhone either but would you expect it too. This is still a competition and Microsoft has a of ground to ground to cover, so I am not surprised by this decision and will not be surprised by ones in the future where they make the same choice. Microsoft has an ecosystem that now has Office in all the mobile products (phone, laptop, desktop, tablet, and even their gaming system) with this level of integration why do they need to provide any additional functionality? If you want Office by a hardware platform that supports it otherwise use other office suite products, that seems to be their position going forward. Apple and Google both act and think this way. Microsoft and their product lines will have to be a little “stingy” because they have to show that their products can be as “consumer oriented” as Apple and Google, but still be able to provide the same level of productivity when needed and for what people have come to expect.

  57. LM says:

    Microsoft Surface is the reason, MS will not do anything for iPad. Why on earth would a company make apps for their competitor’s hardware? That sounds like a business suicide.

  58. Darwin Perkins says:

    I find the “iPad isn’t a business tool” comment almost comical. I’m old enough to remember that exact comment about the PC. In fact, I took part in that exact discussion early in 1982 when I worked for Boeing. My, how the years change things…

    How can Apple take over the world? – Make their computers cost only 1/4 more than the Equivalent PC.
    How can MSFT retain ownership? – make their OS and Office Suite ubiquitous. We’re truly at a crossroads with platforms. Every small app developer in the world knows that you create at least 2 versions of your app. Most create 4: IOS, Android, OSX, Win 7.

    One day, you’ll buy a tablet because of it’s capabilities, and purchase the software for the same reason, not simply because that is the only option for that particular hardware set.

    And, I’ll give anyone here a freebie way to get everyone in the known world to use your high-end business software: Micro charge.

    How about $.01 per hour of use, totaled at the end of the month and charged to your company/personal credit card. I’d end up paying a couple dollars a month for all the software I use, keep it updated, and never worry about the “cost” of software, upgrades, or training. You could own the world with that. I’m still surprised about monthly charges, and high ones too! Volume is always the answer. Wake up MSFT, Wake up APPLE, if you don’t someone will run over both of you!

  59. roberto carlos says:

    If you really think MS won’t make an iPad version maybe your should retire

  60. David Strait says:

    It would serve the blogger here well to do a little research before assuming the lack of Office on iPad is a decision by Microsoft to withhold the application from the large iPad user base.

    Apple, through their iOS app store developer policies, has demanded 30% of the revenue Microsoft generates from their Office 365 subscriptions in order to allow Office into the iOS app store. This is 30% of all Office 365 subscription revenue whether a subscriber uses an iOS device or not.

    If I was Microsoft I would tell Apple to go pound sand, and apparently this is just what they’re doing. You can bash Steve Ballmer for his response to the question, but honestly, go tell Apple to ease up on their 30% developer fee for this app. That is if you really want Office on the iPad so badly.

    For me, I will stick with my Windows RT tablet which comes with Office installed. It’s a mobile workhorse and apps are flooding into the Windows store at over 200 a day.

  61. Julius Macaulay says:

    Apple is a fashion accessory while Microsoft is a work equipment.

  62. Bwref says:

    Ordinarily I wouldn’t agree with this but since, we went on to gmail for business, I’ve found no reason to open up outlook…I really liked using outlook, but what’s strange and should be worrying to MSFT is the fact that I enjoy using Gmail even more.

  63. Christopher Parsons says:

    Decisions like this differentiate Ballmer from his predecessor.
    MS Office originated on the Mac. Gates used development on competitor’s platform to translate the Mac experience to Windows and build an empire in the process. You’d think Steve Ballmer’s prediction that Apple might sell a few hundred thousand iPhones would have taught him a lesson (or cost him his job). Market valuations change dramatically over time, but at one point the iPhone segment of Apple was worth more than Steve Ballmer’s entire company. The situation he inherited as CEO was decidedly different.

  64. Profit says:

    Some reading for folks who may not be familiar with revenue “sharing” model for ecosystems. Key question would be how much profit “sharing” is worth delivering high quality Office capabilities to App Store. Look what happened for SkyDrive. Look and imagine what Google is paying for safari default search and their services on iTunes ecosystem.

    2 pointers for you: (there are likely more smaller ISVs examples)
    1) Microsoft balks at Apple’s 30% fee, leaving SkyDrive and apps that integrate with it in the lurch on iOS.

    2) Here’s How Much Google Is Paying Apple To Be The Search Engine On iPhone, iPad, And Elsewhere. I wonder what % Google is paying for gdrive storage fees or if they enable sign up for other revenue services so 30% profit on any devices are shared by Apple.

    Some of Apples “sharing” rules may change shortly with 1) Google Play reported to surpass App Store revenue by end of this year, 2) Surface/PCs and Windows Store shipped with large existing install base, and 3) some users looking to consolidate down to fewer set of devices or at least 1 amazing utility device for work/commute/travel. The latter doesn’t seem to fit Apple’s current business model of people paying $$$ for a number of devices for different uses every year new version ships….

  65. Mircea says:

    You all complaint how Microsoft does not want to have Office for iPad… how about Apple not wanting to have Flash on the same device? And the examples continue… Silverlight is another great product that is becoming pretty much worthless. The battle of the giants will continue forever, on the expense of us, the end-users. My message to them: there is no win with this attitude, you both lose.

  66. Rich says:

    Pages numbers and keynote work really well as a Microsoft office. Not full blown office but edits and typing a document, editing a table, or creating a presentation for $10 a piece not too bad. We use iWork and things continue to be even more productive.

  67. Anthony Maw says:

    This article is off the mark. Microsoft might be right in ignoring iOS. Apple already produces an office suite (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) for iOS, along with some other vendors. I’d like to see the sales figures for the existing office suite products for iOS. Out of the box, iOS can open and display the popular Microsoft Office document formats. As an iPad owner myself, I’ve passed on the office suite apps despite their relatively low price. The iPad is principally a display output device, not an input device.

  68. Thorn says:

    I think MillySoft is going right keeping iPad stupids “dry” – Office is damn important product, which sometime is 99% of all user’s needs. If MS issue Office for iOS, they will have nothing to keep ’em on its own Windows.
    Anyway I see no reason to overcount iPad niche – it’s just a TOY! Toy tablet with toy gestures and toy capabilities. MS Surface with keyboard is almost notebook, but with “modern” finger sliding. What I really worry is that “tablet hype” doesn’t worth money MS dropped there. Desktop is alive and even don’t supposed to disappear, so Windows 9 should not be “mobile OS”, but a normal usual desktop.

  69. Kevin says:

    Sensationalism aside.. Here’s theories in my fairytale land.
    The Apple app model is too restrictive and not particularly developer friendly to a vendor like MS. Behind the scenes you’ve got a power struggle and maybe a little junk waving going on. Here’s why I see no Office for iOS anytime soon.

    1. For MS to build office for iOS that would be functional let alone worth using, MS would have to design to Apple’s App standards. From Code standards to UI. If Apple don’t like it, it doesn’t go up on the App Store.. The Office team has a long history of basically doing whatever it wants and uses whatever design it wants.. They don’t even conform to their own design and quality standards. Another case in point, look at Office for Mac. So yeah.. that won’t work.

    2. MS is still trying to figure out how to optimize Office in a touch environment. Office 2013 despite it’s improvements is a joke if you try to exclusively use it touch only. The more advanced features you require the more ridiculous Touch based Office becomes. They couldn’t even move office to a Windows Store App on their own platform. OneNote Store App’s (formerly OneNote MX) touch wheel is kinda cool and a nice experimental step forward. To make it across the whole suite though, it’ll have to cook a while longer. So again, won’t work.

    3.Apple wants to live in iCloud. Office 2013 wants to live in Skydrive. MS isn’t just going to bow down.. and Apple certainly will insist that everything stays natively in their ecosystem. This I don’t see as a dealbreaker issue but still a fundamental point of contention. This also ties to my final point.

    4. iOS is going thru a bit of fragmentation with all the new screen sizes and resolutions. In the Windows world, Office on a PC vs Office on RT vs Office on a 1080 sub-12 inch tablet really have very different experiences. Especially in Touch mode. A Windows phone like version of Office wouldn’t be considered adequate on an iPad just as it’s not on a Surface RT. Maybe slightly better for a iPad Mini.. More reasonable for an iPhone. So do we expect Office for iPhone/iPad Mini AND Office for iPad?? Add in the minor code tweaks and scaling techniques to account for all the different resolutions and Retina vs non Retina. For anything but a bare minimal functioning office suite these “little things” become bigger hurdles. Not dealbreakers but it ties into my final point.

    5.MS, like all large companies, is out for MS. Office for the wildly popular tablet/smartphone platform seems like a no brainer. But, it helps the bottom line more to put their efforts into making their own platform succeed, not everyone elses. Any Office developed for non Windows platforms will only be done so begrudgingly.

    MS won’t be told what to do by Apple on UI and it’s App model. Apple won’t make an exception for MS. Truly functional Touch oriented Office is still in the oven and will probably need to bake another year or so. I just don’t think MS is solely to blame on this one. Ballmer is happy to nix any rumors.. Apple I’m sure is happy to feed the trolls. Apple would welcome Office for iOS with wide open arms… So long as Apple can keep a thumb down on the development every step of the way.

  70. Richard Whitaker says:

    Interesting that most people seem to forget that MS Office, as it has become known, started out life as a series of independent products for use on the Apple Mac as an alternative to products like Lotus 123 and Word Pro. How come back in the 80’s and 90’s these two companies could work closely together yet now seem to be poles apart? Surely for both organisations to survive long term they need to “grow up” act like proper corporate adults and provide what the customer wants, which in this case is Office for iPad.

    • Kevin says:

      Because in the 80s, Apple needed MS to write software. MS was becoming established as a software company established.. Apple was becoming established as a computer company.. Each needed the other to ultimate become who they are today.. Over time they grew apart and had their own goals. Ultimately they were competing platforms and both do as little as possible to help out the other. Today, neither one really “needs” the other to increase their bottom line. They’re merely competitors now.

      Agreed, you and I as users get the short end of the stick with this business model. But why should MS risk losing marketshare by enhancing a competitors product.. Why not expect Apple to just make a “better” office suite and not offer it to anything but iOS.. Could they do it? sure..iWorks has great potential if they wanted to take things to the next level. Will they? I don’t see it. Doesn’t make business sense. Despite the “hype” iOS in the enterprise is still a tiny market compared to iOS in the consumer market. The ROI of developing an adequate office productivity suite is just not there for any established vendor. As I said before, MS couldn’t even cook up a version of Office for its own platform.. I think they should clean up their own backyard first.

  71. @jn4twit says:

    At home or at office, if you have a remote access connection from your ipad to a Windows or Mac computer, you don’t need to bother about office on your iPad.
    You save a license and M$ doesn’t earn anything.
    If you need to manipulate some office docs on your iPad, without being connected to a wifi, a 15-25 bucks software (NOT M$ again…) may be OK too.
    One of those morning Mr Balmer may wake up and realize that the world is changing and if he doesn’t change his way of doing business, M$ shareholders may change for another CEO…

  72. Doug says:

    What is the problem with Microsoft doing what Apple has done for a very long time; if it dosen’t say ‘I-something’ it won’t work with and Apple device.

    I could not print withe my wife’s I-Pad without buying a printer with Air-Print.

    Who is setting the protectionist trend?

  73. Galuste Micbrato says:

    “ looks like Microsoft Office may be going the way of the dinosaur”
    BAHAAWWHAHHAWWHH! Awwww… whatsa matter sweetie? You put on your Android big girl pants just a little too soon? Office isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the PC. Try getting your head out of your myopic circle of friends and look around at the corporate world. We’ve TRIED to “Go all tablet” at our organization, and tablets simply aren’t good content-creation devices. They’re nice content-delivery tools, but for the foreseeable future people in offices droning their lives away will not switch to either the cloud or the tablet.

  74. Jack says:

    “Microsoft … is headed for irrelevance” is it? —- haha, not as irrelevant as this website!

    You just keep on playing with your iToy in iLawyer land darling, while the rest of us get on with business for you.

  75. Tiger says:

    Looks like an opening for Corel to work their way into the Apple crowd, or maybe even Java OpenOffice which I already use in lieu of MS Office.

  76. Law Office Computer Monkey says:

    While I doubt MS Office will ever disappear, MS ignores the changing ecosystem at their peril. I remember when WordPerfect ruled. Not so much any more.

  77. Doug says:

    I-Everything people have, as a group, been anti Microsoft from the beginning of Apple.
    Like all they are entitled to their opinion and and closed minds at their peril.

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