Report: Microsoft Office for Android, iOS in limbo until fall 2014


An alleged Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) product roadmap obtained by ZDNet indicates the company does not plan to expand its Office productivity suite to devices running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS until the fall of 2014.

The roadmap outlining Microsoft's coming "Gemini" wave of Office updates states the firm will first focus on updating core products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, rolling out touch-capable versions optimized for the Windows 8 and Windows RT platforms this October. Gemini wave 1.5 will follow in April 2014, bringing revamped Office suites for Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile operating system and Apple's Mac desktop platform. Office for Android and iOS do not appear on the roadmap until late 2014, alongside Outlook for RT; ZDNet reports Microsoft is presently trialing Outlook for RT, suggesting the company could accelerate the product's timetable for release.

Microsoft declined to comment on the roadmap's authenticity. "We don't have any information to share about the next set of updates to Office," a spokesperson said.

Asked about Office for iPad at February's Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft CFO Peter Klein said "We have a history of cross-platform delivery broadly in productivity, whether it's Office on the Mac, or e-mail, communications, note-taking. And with our Web applications you can access Office documents, do some light editing on any device and on any browser. So there's a lot of things that we're already doing to meet that need. And we'll continue to think about other things going forward."

Citing sources familiar with ongoing negotiations between the two companies, AllThingsD reported late last year that discussions to bring Office to iOS stalled over how Microsoft and Apple will share proceeds. Insiders say Microsoft is balking at giving Apple its standard 30 percent App Store cut of revenues from Office-branded, native iOS apps: Because Office is a perennial cash cow, it does not want to hand over such a large chunk of profits. Microsoft also contends that Office's value and utility will bring significant benefits to the iOS platform as a whole, meriting an adjustment to the 70/30 split. Apple has declined to comment on talks with Microsoft but has indicated it will not bend on App Store revenue sharing.

In a recent note to investors, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt said Microsoft is leaving billions of dollars on the table by not porting Office to the iPad. Holt estimates that Microsoft sold fewer than 1 million Windows-based tablets in 2012 and will struggle to capture 10 percent of the tablet market this year; he also calculates that three to four times as many Mac users (between 30 and 40 percent) install paid versions of Office on their desktops as Windows PC users (10 to 15 percent) do. Assuming a similar 30 percent adoption rate across an installed base of more than 200 million iPads, Holt believes that Office for iPad priced at $60 would generate more than $2.5 billion in additional Microsoft revenues in 2014, even after Apple claims its App Store sales cut.

For more:
- read this ZDNet article

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