iOS, Android versions of Microsoft Office reportedly set for 2013 release

The long wait for an iOS- and Android-compatible version of Microsoft Office may be coming to an end. Reports on the Internet contend that Microsoft’s office productivity suite will be available for those two mobile platforms next year.

There’s reportedly a catch, though. The iOS and Android apps won’t be fully functional without a subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud service.

According to a Verge report that cites unnamed sources, the forthcoming Office app will only allow you to view documents for Word, PowerPoint and Excel. To be able to edit documents on the go, you’ll need to subscribe to Office 365.

The Verge didn’t include pricing for that subscription in its report, but the Office 365 version of Microsoft’s Office Home Premium product costs $99.99 a year for a five computer license. The mobile Office 365 subscription will likely cost less than that especially since the app will reportedly be considerably less powerful than its desktop counterpart. That’s also the case with the version of Office bundled with Microsoft’s Surface RT tablets.

The Verge also reported that the iOS version of mobile Office would be released at the end of February or early March 2013, with the Android edition following later in the year, possibly in May.

That date gibes with earlier Internet reports on Office apps. Last month, a Microsoft product manager in the Czech Republic revealed a March 2013 release date for iOS and Android versions of Office apps; however, Microsoft issued a statement saying that wasn’t accurate.

This photo from The Daily claims to show Microsoft Office running on an iPad.

Rumors about and iOS version of Office have been bouncing around the Internet for months. In February, for example, The Daily published a photo purported to be mobile Office running on an iPad. Microsoft denied the authenticity of that photo, too.

Later in the year, a number of reports predicted that Microsoft would take the wraps off a mobile Office product this month, possibly at its SharePoint conference scheduled for next week in Las Vegas.

Since SharePoint is an enterprise product, the reasoning goes, Microsoft would positioning mobile Office as an enterprise product, rather than a consumer one. If Microsoft is using a subscription model for the app, as The Verge reports, that may indeed be how Redmond is looking at the offering.

Microsoft already offers its OneNote app for Android and iOS, but that’s limited primarily to note-taking. For reading and editing Office documents, Android and iOS users have to turn to third-party apps such as QuickOffice and Documents To Go among others.

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