Microsoft to deliver Office 15 for Windows devices first, iPad later

To give Windows 8 a competitive edge, Microsoft will deliver Office 15 only for its own devices this fall, with versions for the iPad and Android devices due out next year.

Microsoft plans to deliver the Office 15 beta to developers and corporate users on July 16, but the finished version will be available only on Windows 8 and Windows mobile devices at first -- not on Apple's iPad or Android devices.

Initially, Microsoft planned to introduce versions of Office 15 for all three platforms. But according to sources familiar with the company's strategy, Microsoft will now ship the long-awaited application suite sometime in October for Windows devices, most notably the upcoming versions of Windows Phone, and hold off on selling Office for iOS and Android devices until next spring.

The reason is to give a competitive advantage to Windows 8, Windows Phone and Windows RT tablets for the holiday sales season, sources said.

"They want to tie everything to Windows 8 to get it off to a rolling start," said one source. "They know all these people with iPads out there want Office. But why would anyone buy a Windows device if they could buy an iPad with Office on it for Christmas? They want to give themselves some breathing room."

But delaying the delivery of Office 15 for the wildly successful iPad could actually hurt Microsoft's sales over the long term, said Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, an independent firm in Kirkland, Wash.

"Though any discussion of it is supposition at this point, I believe if such a chess game were being played, it would be a mistake," Miller said. "The longer Microsoft lets customers have no official Office for the iPad, the greater the potential becomes for professionals who are using the iPad to decide they actually may not need it."

Microsoft has focused on delivering versions of Office for the iPad and Android devices for almost two years, with the anticipation of releasing them this fall. Those applications are nearly ready to go and could easily make a fall deadline, according to sources.

"The mobile versions of those apps I have played with look like they are about ready for the online stores," one source said. "But now I don't expect them there until March or April. Microsoft is going to wait and see how Windows [8] performs."

Office 15 for all Windows devices, cloud

Although Office 15 will be available only on Windows devices, sources said Microsoft has done a good job in allowing data to move seamlessly from the cloud to all of these devices, as well as sharing information among those devices.

"If you live inside the Microsoft ecosystem, [Office 15] should be a good experience across all [Windows] devices," according to one source. "Your documents should roam with you and should have a ton of cloud storage."

As previously reported, Microsoft still intends to offer multiple versions of Office 15, including versions aimed at home users, enterprises and medium-sized IT shops. All editions will be downloadable from the cloud, and the downloadable versions will carry the Office 365 brand name. They will be available through two subscription models, one aimed at consumers and one for small- and medium-sized businesses.

To entice consumers, Microsoft will bundle Skype with the product and offer users a limited number of free minutes in the Home Office 15 version. Microsoft may do the same for business versions but will not release it this year.

Office 15 feature enhancements

The new versions will all take greater advantage of Windows SkyDrive and other cloud storage technologies and come with a Windows Live account, according to sources. The intention is to make it easier for users to switch between a local copy of Office at work or home and Office 365 in the cloud. Instead of having to email documents as attachments, users will be able to access them through SkyDrive, mimicking the functionality of Google Docs.

Microsoft will also address user complaints about the ribbon that has become an integral part of the Office graphical interface. Office 15 will hide the ribbon by default, and users will have the option to make it appear.

The company also added a social networking feed that will flow directly into Outlook and work with its email, contacts and calendaring capabilities. The feed will support Facebook and LinkedIn, but not Google Plus. Users reportedly can customize their feeds to work with a specific social network and to receive information from just friends, family or business colleagues.

Microsoft officials declined to comment.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Ed Scannell and James Furbush or follow @JamesFurbush on Twitter.

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Would Office on Windows 8 keep you from buying an iPad?
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I already have an iPad, and I want Office for it!
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Yes, windows 8 on tablets already looks way more sophisticated in general (and also much more beautiful). This would only add to that.
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No, there are apps available for the few instances where I need Office like functionality on my tablet or phone.
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I already have an iPad. I’ve already integrated it with Exchange and SharePoint. The longer Microsoft delays Office for the iPad, the happier I will get with Office HD2 which is what I’m using now
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I have absolutely no intention of buying an iAnything so whether or not MS products are available for iOS is irrelevant to me.
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I already own an iPad, so it won’t keep me from buying one. I’m also excited to see what new hardware will evolve with Windows 8 that might challenge the iPad.
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No, because of the tons of apps that are only available in iPad format
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No, there are Other office type programs…
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I don’t want to run office on a tablet.
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The app ecosystem and the user experience on the iPad is larger than one app (Office).
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Well, there are millions of other things one can do on an iPad, so it’s Microsoft’s loss if they don’t make Office available on it.
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the ipad is the gold standard in tablet computing, and will continue to lead the pack.
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iPad is iPAD. It is not windows.
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iPad is just a better device and more accepted than any windows based devices.
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Already have Office on other systems, if it’s not on iPad and I want an iPad oh well! Skydrive App and OneNote already provide me well!
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In ipad also we can install windows 8 & office 2015.
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No, I have other good options to office,
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It would keep me from buying an iPad but I am not sure yet I will buy the Windows 8 either. This conundrum is keeping my company from using tablets at ALL!
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Anyone who wants Office on the iPad can use one of many alternatives, like QuickOffice, that he full compatibility. Lack of Office for iOS is not going to goose sales of Windows RT, no matter how much MSFT wishes it were so.
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I can afford both
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windows is just productivity-wise superior
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It would not because I hate iPads anyway and would never buy one so its not exactly keeping me from buying it. iPad iPad iPad. Apple's such a copy. Its just "i" + Pad...
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yes
I am an graduate student. so I need to work with MS Office a lot. so definitely I shall buy windows 8 Tab instead of Ipad regarding this issue
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Already have an iPAD and would like Office on the iPAD.
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The ipad is too small to need a full functioning office system. Pages (instead of word) numbers (instead of excel) Onenote for ipad and the ipads calendar and e-mail clients are adequate for a tablet. Who would want to write a novel or do their accounts solely on a 10 inch screen?
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This is another bad move by Microsoft. MSOffice is a product that most people use because they must - Not because they want to, not unlike their OS. Most people have experienced how outstanding using a device is without Windows; I don't see many flocking back to that horrid mess. So, if Microsoft does not want to sell many copies of its Office suite until spring, this is probably an excellent strategy.

The other side of the coin is their subscription service and cloud integration. Paying a monthly fee to use Office seems loathsome to me. And what company would want to store their proprietary information and communication on leased servers in Kazakhstan? I mean 'The Cloud'?
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No one really needs MS-Office at all.
There are good and free alternatives
Both in Linux and Android platforms
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I don't want Office documents on iPad's for our enterprise - I want the iPad users be able to collaborate regardless of the word processor etc. We are cancelling SA on Office - that spend doesn't pay out.
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No reason to wait for MS office, there are great other solutions on the AppStore allowing to read, modify and create MS office compatible files. Don't expect MS to offer anything better with their first release.
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If a customer already has Ipad and need to upgrade...its not the end of the world and no biggy

If a customer is planning to purchase a new Ipad, they can wait or use Google Docs and/or Oracle OpenOffice
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Windows is still not safe platform
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there are substitutes and ipads are well built although they lack some hardware features
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Windows 8 Tablets, Slates, All in one small package will be far better then whatever Apple plans on doing.
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No Office means no mobile business!!!
The iPad or windows 8 device is just a smaller version of a PC.
The money and power of making success in business is in the software. iPad without business software is just a expensive toy.
Will order more windows 8 devices.
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I have three iPads: new iPad for me, iPad2 for my wife and original iPad given to my son. I would give up any computer I own or ever have owned before I would give up my iPad. I will not likely ever be without one.
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who needs office on an iPad? It's just one of many options available to me, and maybe not the best one at that.
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Already have an iPad and third party apps give me all of the flexibility I need in the field.
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Because the IPad is the best mobile device currently in existence.
It is not plagued by slowness or other factors that affect android and windows devices. And it actually works as it is intended to. Battery life is awesome and apps that allow editing of office documents will shortly make ms office on it a nice to have, not an essential.
Most people use iPads as an intermin device, it is not their primary means of authoring Anyway. Microsoft will most likely price their version out of what most people are prepared to pay for it anyway.
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The iPad will eventually get Office 15, so why wait to grab a great device
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Because I am sick and tired of Microsoft and don't want anything to do with them if I can help it.
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I don't like the 2 o/s in 1 Windows 8, I have an iPhone and understand how it works and I don't intend to create a lot of documents on an ipad
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Because its time to move away from the Microsoft proprietary, centric view of the world to more open and innovative solutions
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I can't stand apple and despise all of their products. Sorry apple you will never get my business.
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I have been using Windows 8 since the developer preview on both tablet and desktop. I find it to be very fluid and easy to use. Office will only add to the positive experience. I-pad would have been my next option, but to be honest I am not a big fan of the ios platform. Android isn't even in my radar. I would take a playbook over any android device.
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work doesnt stop w/o office but wld be gr8 if ms can launch office for ipad
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Here in Africa everything is Windows so iPad not really a factor unless for the snob factor. Android is also more practical coz you can get cheaper devices
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The debut of Windows 8 will make Windows-based slate devices cheaper. I prefer Windows devices approach to both consumption (iPad) and productivity (laptop/desktop). So I would immediately move to those devices.
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MS loss... The longer I don't have it the more i learn to work without it.
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I already have an iPad purchased by my department but would love the opportunity to switch to Windows 8. I already traded in my iPhone for a Windows Phone 7.5 and haven't regretted it at all. I've installed the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 and love the Metro UI. I'll be installing the release preview today! Keep up the bold innovation!
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Would never buy one anyway. So with or without Office, would not buy one.
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Don't use Office on iPad.
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Simply put Windows is not a good OS in general and I sure don't want to deal with the additional headaches on a portable platform.
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LOL@"No Office means no mobile business!!!"

Bad news, if *NEED* MSOffice to do your job, and cannot find an alternative, you can probably be replaced by a sharp chimpanzee in a necktie.

The use case for the iPad is compelling - People LOVE to use it. So easy, so snappy, never an issue. They like it so much, they PREFER to use it at work. That is why they are popping up.

Windows tablets will have a very Zune-like following of a couple dozen people (You've seen the Windows phone market share, right?). Of course they will be forced upon the poor folks who have to make Powerpoint presentations at home, leading it to become as reviled as the ubiquitous company Dell Laptop (Complete with toasted battery and 10 tons of anti-virus/malware/spyware/etc. - Just to make sure performance doesn't get all out of control).


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I don't plan on buying an iPad.
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Already have an IPAD and have already worked out the details of converting needed files with conversion tools. I have already waited this long.
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iPad is a great tool, and to have MSOffice would make it perfect. As said I could use "generic alternatives" to keep iPad as main tablet tool.
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I will continue to use Open Office and the Apple office applications
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I would find something else to use on the iPad as I prefer the iPad to a windows mobile device
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I use Office 2010 a lot so not having it is a big issue.
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Apple already has Office type applications for iPad, why wait for m$.
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Familiarity that I have with Office (Excel and Word in particular) and the fact that Google Docs is so inadequate for any but the most elementary spreadsheet or word processing requirements.
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Ipad can stand on its own without Office and now that Microst is saying that it will be supported in the future, why not keep or get an Ipad
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with the cloud most Office type programd are available for free
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Windows 8 tablet is not proven
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If Office isn't available on my iPad I won't be buying it for my desktop and will start looking for alternatives. It's that simple!
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win 8 is going to have higher functionality
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Samsung tablet is the best platform for windows 8, and at over 1k its too high priced to keep me from buying 2 iPads
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I already have an iPad and like the features so far. I had a Windows Phone 7.5 but wasn't entired happy with the apps available so I switched to iPhone but I'm not committed to iOS. I am using Windows 8 Release Preview (and previous two) and like it a lot. I am waiting to see how Windows 8 runs on a tablet, if it works well then I would switch from iOS for phone and tablet. Hopefully everything will then integrate with what I use a Windows based computer for.
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Problem is windows 8 rt will only have office the iPad already has loads of other apps. MS should just sell office and leave tablets to apple. They had ten years to get it right!
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If I invest in a Tablet, and if it is an iPad, a delay of 3 months is not a big deal...
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Delay of Office for IPad just confirms that Microsoft could care less about the customers desire to chose and will do anything to push them to windows even if they don't desire it. Then sell them what they want at a later time to make a few extra bucks. Not a smart business strategy.
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we still hav`nt seen office 15, but there`s enough applications for ios that could replaced it already!
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I will end up buying a different suite of "office" apps...the heck with Microsoft.
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My experience of iPad is one of flawed printing and document handling. I hope that Microsoft can capitalise on this and bring true file/folder sharing between PC and tablet. In doing so will surely allow users better possibilities with their data. If Printer drivers from a PC are made available on a tablet again this will negate the need for silly apps that work between the iPad and its printing.
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office is always newer and better, but windows 8 is overrated, ipad too
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