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Tablet-native Microsoft Office may miss Windows 8 launch

updated 02:10 pm EST, Mon January 30, 2012

Office 15 enters preview but may miss 2012

Microsoft corporate VP PJ Hough confirmed that the temporarily-named Office 15 had just entered the Technical Preview phase in what could create concerns for Windows 8 tablets. The stage sees a small group of customers get early access in secret to offer feedback as Microsoft moves towards a beta and an eventual release. Hough couldn't address rumors and leaks, but he did promise that it would be the first time Microsoft would simultaneously update Office's web, cloud, and server apps on both desktop and mobile.

Insiders have tipped ZDNet that the preview may be part of a very long development cycle. The aim is reportedly for a release to manufacturing (RTM) by the end of 2012, which could see it shipping as late as 2013. Employees have reportedly considered calling it Office 2013 if it ships late into the year.

The strategy could see an awkward period for Microsoft where it misses one of the claimed core advantages for its tablets. Office 15 is known to be the first tablet-native version of the suite and will likely be the first version with support for ARM processors. With Windows 8 already due to reach beta in late February and possibly shipping months earlier, it could leave those on Intel-based Windows 8 tablets using the old, non-touch Office, while ARM tablet owners could be made to use web apps or nothing at all.

Microsoft considers tablets as PCs and believes that having access to desktop-level apps could be key to taking market share away from the iPad as well as Android devices. Going without could complicate the launch and see customers either hold off or choose another platform first.

by MacNN Staff



  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let's watch Microsoft flail

    Microsoft seems to have the most focus, the strongest sense of purpose, when it has some new Apple product to copy. Mac, iPod, iPhone, and now iPad. But Office isn't an Apple product. Microsoft is out on their own, lost in the wilderness, when it comes to designing Office for a pad computer.

    The result of having no Apple product to copy when designing Office for pad computers will be horrible. The result will be a bloated mutant mash-up of "full Windows" with a multi-touch interface. Users of the traditional office will ignore it because it's too different. Brand new users will hate it because it's too ugly and complex.

    The result? Yet another window of opportunity for Apple and their patented "Innovative Disruption." Apple could upgrade iWork for iPad just slightly, so it covers most of the useful functionality of Office. And because iWork would have a simpler, more attractive interface, it would appeal to brand-new users more than Office would. All for a lower price. Because Apple makes most of their profits from hardware.

    So let Microsoft flail around. Cluelessly mashing up Windows and multi-touch features for no other reason than to make pad computing more like traditional desktop computing. And let Apple swoop in and show the world how to do it right. It's inevitable. And it'll be fun to watch.

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The should have release an Office version for iPad a year ago but ooohhh nnnooo they remain in their old ways of using their monopology of one market to cojole customers into buying their products in another.

    Big deal...many have moved on and turns out Pages is a brilliant App and darn site sight cheapr than Word.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Office codes still on old API

    Microsoft don't have enough balls to port Office beyond win32. They've never port Office on their "newer" (10 years old) .NET API. Even Office for Mac exist as a totally separate coded functions replicated beast on his side... Microsoft strategy is to keep Windows PC alive by all means.

  1. SierraDragon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Except Numbers is not Excel...

    I tried Open Office and Numbers for years. Pages is great but the huge flaw in iWork is Numbers. The biz world lives on Excel, and Numbers just does not cut it as an alternative. After many years Numbers is _not_ "showing the world how to do it right" in spreadsheets. A month ago I finally (bummer) bought MS Office for Mac just to get real Excel.

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