Hell might freeze over if this rumor turns out to be true. According to sources, the touch-first tablet version of Microsoft’s Office suite will be arriving on Android later this year, while it won’t be coming to Windows 8 devices until sometime in 2015.
This rumor both makes sense and at the same time doesn’t. Office is one of Microsoft‘s remaining strongest cash cows but, unlike it’s other products, it is one that is perhaps best served by being available everywhere. And by everywhere, that also means non-Windows devices, like iOS and Android. Microsoft Office Mobile is already available on Google Play Store, but it is limited to smartphone form factors. The tablet version is still coming, and if this tip is to be given credence, it will be arriving sooner than later.
On the other hand, Microsoft might look less confident and less credible by not prioritizing its own platforms. From a user’s perspective, it is almost understandable that Microsoft would want to be where the money is, so to speak. And in the context of mobile devices, the money is not on its own operating system. It is, however, not exactly reassuring from an investor and business point of view.
That said, it might actually turn out to be a smart move in keeping Office relevant today. While Microsoft’s productivity suite isn’t exactly faltering, a new generation of users are growing up not tied to the software’s idiosyncrasies, especially with that generation relying more and more on mobile devices and the cloud for their document creation and editing needs. Office, however, still maintains a foothold in part because of Microsoft’s proprietary file formats. With official Office apps that can be found on any and all significant platforms and devices, Office could pretty much keep Microsoft from falling into obsolescence in the mobile industry while the company tries to scramble to gain a hold of the market.