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Office for iPad waiting for 'touch-first' Office UI, says Ballmer

updated 01:25 pm EDT, Tue October 8, 2013

Spells further delays for long-awaited iPad apps

Office for iPad "will be picked up when there's a touch-first user interface [for Office]," according to outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The comment was made at a Gartner event in Florida earlier today. Ballmer didn't elaborate, however, except to say that the touch-first UI is "in progress."

The statement suggests that iPad users will have to wait still longer for an iPad version of Office, which has been rumored since 2010. A touch-specific UI will premiere in the next Windows upgrade of Office, and then filter down to other platforms. At Microsoft's Build conference earlier this year, the company teased that touch was coming to a version of Office made for Windows 8.1. That OS update is due October 17th.

A variety of third-party apps have stepped in to provide limited Office support on the iPad. A first-party iPad app could incorporate a more complete featureset, however, and prove a boon to individuals and businesses with Office 365 subscriptions. An Office iPhone app exists, but is extremely limited, for instance requiring a 365 subscription to work.

by MacNN Staff





  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    Whatever, Ballmer...the reason you're having to leave Microsoft is because of these types of strategies.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-20-01

    I would bet good money on the fact that Ballmer doesn't even know that an iPhone version of Office exists (however crippled and crappy it may be).

  1. YangZone

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-24-00

    Only one thing is certain: Mr Ballmer is out of touch.

  1. makuribu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-26-04

    He's trying to give the manufacturers ample warning, because when Office for the iPad comes out, PC and laptop sales will go down by 90%. Power users will keep buying "professional" desktops and ultra laptops, but the average user will buy an iPad and MS Office for iOS. And there are a LOT of average users.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    Don't understand how 365 subscriptions can compete with Google's free 15GB cloud drive that can house MS Suite files. Also most Outlook users are from corporate environment and the web access capability exists long before the cloud storage existed.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    To further clarify: Mr. Ballmer is out of touch-first-last-and-always.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 11-28-08

    They'll definitely make the iPad version somewhat crippled and inferior to their own Surface version and go about claiming the iPad isn't capable of handling certain features being that iOS is inferior to Windows RT. I don't know if an iPad version will ever take place if Microsoft can manage to sell more Surface RT tablets. Maybe MS won't care how it gets more money from any platform if things get bad enough.

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