Though reports have not yet been confirmed by anyone from Microsoft, it seems likely that the company’s Office software suite will be launched for both Android and Apple tablets soon. If these reports do indeed turn out to be true, it could prove to be both helpful and harmful for the company.
Rumors have been rampant that the software giant would launch its Office application suite for tablets based on Android as well as Apple’s iOS based iPad sometime in November. One of the first ever reports to have surfaced on the internet was by eWeek back in February which said that Apple’s iPad would soon be seeing the application suite and since then many reports have followed with the latest one being posted by Boy Genius Report. However, no official confirmation has been received from any of the companies, Google, Apple or Microsoft about these reports.
The release of the application suite for both Android and iOS platforms could be beneficial for Microsoft as tablets are fast gaining popularity. According to Netmarketshare, a tracking firm, Android has a 19 percent market share in the tablet industry whereas Apple’s iOS has as much as 63 percent. Windows 7 is the only offering by Microsoft for tablets and it did not even make it to the list by Netmarketshare as there are very few tablets on the market running it.
According to figures released by IDC on 24th May, most of the market is occupied by either Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android which have 23 percent and 59 percent market share each. Smartphones running on Microsoft’s Windows Phone make up for only 2.2 percent of the global smartphones shipped in the first quarter of 2012.
The downside of launching Office for Android and iPads for Microsoft is the repercussions it might have for Windows 8. Microsoft is counting on the successor of Windows 7 to give it an edge in the tablet market. However, if most users already have Office running on their Android or iPad tablets, they may not have the incentive to shift to a Windows 8 tablet.
Some suggest that Microsoft might offer only some of the Office products and not all of them for Android and iOS based devices.