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Office for iPad to arrive after it is made touch-friendly for Windows

by Mark Tyson on 9 October 2013, 11:00

Tags: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qab3uz

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed to attendees at a Gartner sponsored event in Florida, that Microsoft Office for iPad will be forthcoming - but only after it has had a touch-first user interface added to it and made its debut on Windows devices. Ballmer also noted that work on this software is currently “in progress”.

Earlier this year, in mid-June, Microsoft launched an Office Mobile app aimed at iPhones. The app looked and functioned a lot like the Office for Windows Phone app but required an Office 365 subscription and didn’t offer any tablet style touch interface enhancements for the iPad crowd. (It will be interesting to find out if the Office for iPad app requires an Office 365 subscription.) Microsoft had some advice for iPad users, coinciding with the Office Mobile app launch, which was basically this - if you want Office on your iPad then use Microsoft’s web apps.

“Word, PowerPoint and Excel are all authoring tools,” said Ballmer. “They are optimized for use with keyboards and mice. The last time I checked, the iPad didn't have a paradigm for keyboard or mice. iPad will be picked up when we do what I would call not just a touch-enabled, but a touch-first user interface. That is in progress for both Windows 8 and other platforms,” explained Ballmer yesterday. However he thought it unlikely that Apple would allow his firm to make Outlook available on the iPad. Previously Microsoft has shown just one of the office apps in a touch-enabled custom interface form; PowerPoint.

Showing off PowerPoint for touch at Build 2013

Windows Modern UI everywhere

Also at the event the outgoing Microsoft CEO touched upon another few topics concerning the company’s plans in the not-too-distant future. The most important of these is the continuing push for one Windows platform across multiple devices. “Sometime in the next short cycle we'll see great progress on that. What it really means common user interface, common programming interface, common security architecture and user interface adaptability and common developer model and key services,” he said.

Stylus is in style

Pen systems got a special mention “I believe in the power of the pen,” said Ballmer. “I think a lot of systems will have a stylus built in. We're going to go all in.” So we can expect to see more Surface devices with styli.

82-inch Windows 8 tablet

Another interesting nugget was that Microsoft is working on an 82-inch screened Windows 8 device. Ballmer joked that “It looks great on a wall, but isn't very portable”. These screens will make the ones in the Fox news room we saw yesterday look small.



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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Does anyone even want a touch friendly office? great lets move it to a less usable UI just so people can look "cool" working on there tablet.
Microsoft finally understand the concept that a device that is interacted with via touch, should have applications designed for touch first and foremost.
“Word, PowerPoint and Excel are all authoring tools,” said Ballmer. “They are optimized for use with keyboards and mice. The last time I checked, the iPad didn't have a paradigm for keyboard or mice. iPad will be picked up when we do what I would call not just a touch-enabled, but a touch-first user interface.

Dear Steve B, if lack of keyboard and pointing device are the only objections to Office on tablets then please can I have a copy for my Asus Transformer - since that has both a proper keyboard and a touchpad (and if that's not good enough then I've hooked up a mouse to it as well). :D

Joking aside, what's wrong with a Bluetooth keyboard? Leaves touch only for the menu selections which - so I was told - were ribbonised primarily to make Office more touch friendly in the first place.

And if iOS has "issues" with keyboard support then how about a version of Office for Android? I'm sure I've heard of folks that have connected Bluetooth keyboard and USB mouse to their Nexus 7's. Office for Android would be a great Trojan horse to get SkyDrive onto all those Google-Drive-using devices! ;)
crossy
“Word, PowerPoint and Excel are all authoring tools,” said Ballmer. “They are optimized for use with keyboards and mice. The last time I checked, the iPad didn't have a paradigm for keyboard or mice. iPad will be picked up when we do what I would call not just a touch-enabled, but a touch-first user interface.
Dear Steve B, if lack of keyboard and pointing device are the only objections to Office on tablets then please can I have a copy for my Asus Transformer - since that has both a proper keyboard and a touchpad (and if that's not good enough then I've hooked up a mouse to it as well). :D

Joking aside, what's wrong with a Bluetooth keyboard? Leaves touch only for the menu selections which - so I was told - were ribbonised primarily to make Office more touch friendly in the first place.

And if iOS has "issues" with keyboard support then how about a version of Office for Android? I'm sure I've heard of folks that have connected Bluetooth keyboard and USB mouse to their Nexus 7's. Office for Android would be a great Trojan horse to get SkyDrive onto all those Google-Drive-using devices! ;)


There is already Office for Mac, so the coding job of Office for iPad might well be easier. Porting Office to Android is likely a non-starter. I also see a lot more people on the train *trying* to make their iPad a laptop (looks like a frustrating experience to me) than Android tablets, most of the Nexus 7s I see are just for watching/reading.
kingpotnoodle
There is already Office for Mac, so the coding job of Office for iPad might well be easier. Porting Office to Android is likely a non-starter. I also see a lot more people on the train *trying* to make their iPad a laptop (looks like a frustrating experience to me) than Android tablets, most of the Nexus 7s I see are just for watching/reading.
Office Mobile for Android already exists (here [play.google.com]) but for some reason it's locked to phones-only. (And you need an Office365 subscription).

And I realise that an MSOffice+iPad could be a pretty unpleasant experience - which is why I said Asus Transformer. After all that's close enough to a netbook to be a good stepping stone - even if the MSO app was effectively a beta.

How do they manage to do the Office install on RT - surely that one is "touch friendly" since they can't assume that everyone is going to run out and buy the keyboard/cover?