Report: Microsoft Office apps coming to iOS, Android in early 2013

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will expand its Office productivity suite to mobile devices running Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android in 2013, The Verge reports.

Sources with knowledge of Microsoft's plans said the software maker will release Office-branded native applications enabling users to access Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents on the go. The iOS and Android apps will be free to download and will provide basic document viewing functionality to all users--access to a more comprehensive suite of Office services and tools will require a Microsoft Office 365 account. The Verge adds Microsoft will sell Office 365 subscriptions as in-app purchases, although sources indicate the mobile versions will not replicate all the bells and whistles included in the desktop version.

Microsoft is expected to roll out Office for iOS in late February or early March of next year, with the Android version following in May.

This summer, Microsoft said it would extend remote access features integrated into the new Office 13 to mobile devices running its own Windows Phone 8 operating system. Office 13 includes signature tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote alongside new features including a touch interface and social networking-enabled collaboration tools. Office 13 also leverages cloud storage and services like SkyDrive and SharePoint to make synced documents available to users across connected devices--for example, if a user opens a Word file on a Windows Phone smartphone, the software will recall which paragraph they were reading/editing when they last opened that document on another device.

Office applications for rival mobile platforms have been rumored for months. Microsoft job postings discovered this summer by 9to5Mac sought Outlook and PowerPoint test team software engineers to "work very closely with the Development team on the design, implementation and testing of new feature work to be part of Microsoft's next move on the Mac and on iOS." Both postings stated "We build our own Mac and iOS products that present team members with unique technical challenges as well as exceptional opportunities for ownership, autonomy and professional growth." An Office for iPad screenshot surfaced in The Daily this past February, although Microsoft publicly denied its authenticity.

Last month, Microsoft product manager Petr Bobek told Czech site IHNED that native Office apps for iOS and Android are due in March, information seemingly debunked by a subsequent press release issued by Microsoft's Czech division. "The information shared by our Czech subsidiary is not accurate," a Microsoft U.S. spokesperson later said. "We do not have anything further to share at this time."

For more:
- read this Verge article

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