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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Microsoft Office Coming to IPhone

Buzz has been circulating for a while now about the inevitability of the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite of applications, coming to Apple's ubiquitous iPhone, but now it seems word has gone from inevitable to imminent, meaning soon. This coming off subtle but telling words from a Microsoft exec (President of Microsoft Business Division Stephen Elop) to an interviewer (Tim O'Reilly) at the recent Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

The actual comments made were more generally structured around the idea of Microsoft Office coming to smartphones that weren't Windows Mobile based with the iPhone only mentioned cursorily with its Facebook app given as an example of Microsoft's inspiration for the move.

Comprising the Microsoft Word word-processing application, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet application, and Microsoft PowerPoint presentation application, and some 11 other lesser-known apps, Microsoft Office is one of the most widely used software packages in the world, and bringing itself to the iPhone is going to serve and delight both PC and Mac users (and makers) alike.

They'd better hurry, because 3rd party app makers are already a step ahead of them in the game, with one company putting out in the next few weeks QuickOffice for iPhone, an iPhone app that lets you write and edit Word docs and Excel spreadsheets. Sounds like pricing will be in the range of $20 for the full package and $13 for just one program (Word or Excel).

They'd also better hurry because top competitor RIM has already the ability to both create and edit Microsoft Word Docs available on the Blackberry.

The only support the iPhone currently has for Microsoft Office is the ability to view docs and spreadsheets sent as attachments in emails. But you can neither edit them, nor create new ones. Not until soon, at least.

This comes at the same time as Microsoft is also set to release web-based versions of all its programs in the Office suite (all ad-supported, of course), and supporting not only Internet Explorer but Apple's Safari and Mozilla's Firefox too. A Linux version of all of these is on the way too. As is a web-based version of Microsoft OneNote, which suggests that so will OneNote be coming to the iPhone too.


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