There’s been no shortage of reports that Microsoft is preparing to release a version of Microsoft Office for iOS (1, 2, 3) – but a new “leaked” roadmap revealed by ZDNet casts some negative vibes on the release date. According to the report, Microsoft Office for iOS isn’t scheduled for release until October of 2014. Meanwhile, the next version of Office for Mac is reportedly set for a Spring 2014 release.
In sum, this is what the alleged roadmap indicates:
Gemini Wave 1.0 (October 2013): Windows Blue app updates
Gemini Wave 1.5 (April 2014): Office for Mac; Office RT refresh; Perceptive Pixel support; Windows Phone support refresh
Gemini Wave 2.0 (October 2014): Outlook RT; Office for iOS/Android
I do not know how old this purported roadmap is, but my contact indicated it was likely current as of the start of 2013. I asked Microsoft Office officials for comment on the alleged roadmap, but they declined to do so.
While the Office for Mac release date falls roughly in line with expectations in relation to the launch of Office 365 and Office 2013 (Microsoft generally waits a year after new PC releases before offering new Mac releases), the Office for iOS and Android claim is a bit more surprising. Perhaps this is Microsoft’s way of encouraging users to check out their own Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 devices, and keep the Microsoft Surface on professional user radars for its ability to run Microsoft Office 2013?
If Microsoft waits over another year to release Office for mobile devices, they’ll likely miss their opportunity with many customers, who will find other solutions in the meantime, and have little interest in Office for mobile device when it does finally arrive. Previous claims suggest that a Microsoft product manager revealed that Office for iOS would launch this spring. Microsoft has also leaked references to Office for iOS on their own support site.
As always, this is nothing more than speculation and rumor and this point – but it does provide some interesting food for thought. The main reason for the delay is thought to be a disagreement between Microsoft and Apple over in-app purchase revenue.