Ballmer: Touch-based Office coming to iPad, but don't look for iOS port of Outlook

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may be planning to retire in the near future, but for now he continues to promote the company and give hints about future projects at public events. Today, Ballmer sat down in a Q&A as part of the Gartner Symposium ITXpo in Orlando, Fla.

According to ZDNet, Ballmer stated that on the subject of Office for the iPad, "iPad will be picked up when there's a touch-first user interface. That's in progress for Office." Indeed, Microsoft has already announced plans to offer touch-based Office apps via the Windows Store for some time, but that is not expected to happen until sometime in 2014. The company previously announced it would bring Office apps to a variety of non-Windows touch platforms, though Ballmer's comments serve as confirmation that the Windows 8 Metro version of Office will be released first.

One Office-related software program that may never be released for iOS devices is Outlook. The article paraphrases Ballmer as saying he does not believe Apple would allow Outlook to be made available for its mobile platform.

Microsoft is also moving toward one common Windows experience across a number of devices, according to Ballmer, something the company first said in September.

"Sometime in the next short cycle we'll see great progress on that," Ballmer stated during the Q&A. "What it really means common user interface, common programming interface, common security architecture and user interface adaptability and common developer model and key services."

In fact, Ballmer hints that such a common experience is perhaps closer than some people might believe but would not offer a specific schedule. At a recent employees-only event, Ballmer reportedly said Microsoft will release a unified app store for its operating systems.

Ballmer also said during the Gartner Q&A today that the company is not looking to buy a PC vendor, even though Microsoft will be investing $2 billion of its money into making Dell into a private company. He also sees a bigger future with touch devices that include a stylus, such as the Surface Pro, saying he believes "in the power of the pen" and that "a lot of systems will have a stylus built in."

Source: ZDNet | Image via Gartner

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42 Comments

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This is what's wrong with Microsoft, they are so disjointed its not funny. They're like government! Why would they make a touch office for iOS before Windows 8! They really need to get the whole company working together if they want to move forward with consistently better offerings.

Sicarius123 said,
This is what's wrong with Microsoft, they are so disjointed its not funny. They're like government! Why would they make a touch office for iOS before Windows 8! They really need to get the whole company working together if they want to move forward with consistently better offerings.

Umm they're not, RTFA.

But what does he mean with the next short cycle?
Will we be seeing progress towards a common app store when WP8.1 is released or is he more hinting at the now more rapid release cycle of Windows and we will be seeing progress towards this goal with the next version of windows? Around October 2014?

I've got Office 365 through work but haven't been that impressed with the mobile office App. Prefer using CloudOn. I am however a big fan of the Microsoft OneNote and OWA Apps which are very pleasant to use and offer a large amount of the functionality you'd find on the Desktop equivalents. OWA in particular (stupid name aside) offers most of the Outlook functionality you'd ever need!

Figure 8 Dash said,
Will probably be tied to Office 365

Seems like a safe bet. Wondering how long til it comes to Android? If you can't beat them, then make money off of them... Since MS is going software and services, it would pay to be on the most popular platforms like Android and iOS.

Why in hell do we even need a outlook app, I never understood that in the first place.
I just setup my outlook account as a exchange account in the android stock email app and that works great for me

Seahorsepip said,
Why in hell do we even need a outlook app, I never understood that in the first place.
I just setup my outlook account as a exchange account in the android stock email app and that works great for me

People are app happy. And Outlook happy. Personally, I'm fine with web interfaces...

Seahorsepip said,
Why in hell do we even need a outlook app, I never understood that in the first place.
I just setup my outlook account as a exchange account in the android stock email app and that works great for me

Because outlook means the full outlook app, with support for mutliple mail adresses, replacing the lesser mail app.

Seahorsepip said,
Why in hell do we even need a outlook app, I never understood that in the first place.
I just setup my outlook account as a exchange account in the android stock email app and that works great for me
As far as a full featured e-mail client nothing holds a candle to full Outlook.

The nromal android mail app also supports multiple maila dresses but yes you got a point outlook email aliasses don't work which can be troublesome

MrHumpty said,
As far as a full featured e-mail client nothing holds a candle to full Outlook.

If you mean slow, bloated, buggy (sync suddenly stops working for no reason) and prone to random crashes, etc, then yes, nothing holds a candle to desktop Outlook.

recursive said,
If you mean slow, bloated, buggy (sync suddenly stops working for no reason) and prone to random crashes, etc, then yes, nothing holds a candle to desktop Outlook.
We've apparently been using different versions of outlook.

MrHumpty said,
We've apparently been using different versions of outlook.

Indeed.... it seems we are on a different bus than him.

recursive said,

If you mean slow, bloated, buggy (sync suddenly stops working for no reason) and prone to random crashes, etc, then yes, nothing holds a candle to desktop Outlook.

So the last time you used outlook was in office xp ... Outlook today is fast, stable and rock solid

""Sometime in the next short cycle we'll see great progress on that," Ballmer stated during the Q&A. "What it really means common user interface, common programming interface, common security architecture and user interface adaptability and common developer model and key services.""

To the people that keep saying that Windows 8.2 or Windows 9 will return to the Start Menu and desktop: Well, there you have it folks. Straight from the source that that isn't happening.

-adrian- said,
true since he is selling all his MS stock as well and will disappear completely

Citation?

I'd personally keep some of the stock since MS does pay dividends...

LogicalApex said,
Since Ballmer is leaving this post very soon it wouldn't be advised to place bets on his forward looking statements...

Then he wouldn't have made that comment. Microsoft's engineers already have the next few releases researched, planned for, and in development.

-adrian- said,
true since he is selling all his MS stock as well and will disappear completely

Um, Ballmer *is* seeking re-election to Microsoft's board.

LogicalApex said,
Since Ballmer is leaving this post very soon it wouldn't be advised to place bets on his forward looking statements...
Touch first Office. Common API/SDK across all form factors. For them to be eminent the work on them has to have been going on for years, especially with Office. I doubt the incoming CEO is going to go "hey those are bad ideas... so much so lets toss the work already done"

People need to understand that MS is a software company first and MS Office is their bread and butter along with Windows. Why shouldn't they make money from iOS? If I had to pay $100 for Ms Office on iOS, i would still do it. For me that iPad from being just a consumption device has now become a content producing device.

LogicalApex said,
Since Ballmer is leaving this post very soon it wouldn't be advised to place bets on his forward looking statements...
Agree.

Dot Matrix said,

Um, Ballmer *is* seeking re-election to Microsoft's board.

Would not you if you were in his shoes? I surely would try to have a word about if I had a couple of billions invested in the company.

Dot Matrix said,
""Sometime in the next short cycle we'll see great progress on that," Ballmer stated during the Q&A. "What it really means common user interface, common programming interface, common security architecture and user interface adaptability and common developer model and key services.""

To the people that keep saying that Windows 8.2 or Windows 9 will return to the Start Menu and desktop: Well, there you have it folks. Straight from the source that that isn't happening.

personally I have no problems with the Start Menu but I do not see how Ballmer statement has anything to do with, eventual, potential modifications or the evolution of the GUI. "common user interface" does not mean that could/ would not modified.

Fritzly said,

personally I have no problems with the Start Menu but I do not see how Ballmer statement has anything to do with, eventual, potential modifications or the evolution of the GUI. "common user interface" does not mean that could/ would not modified.

Pretty much my thoughts.

that's correct...the start menu and desktop are never going to make a comeback as they existed in the past...give it a rest folks...seriously.

Tegument said,
that's correct...the start menu and desktop are never going to make a comeback as they existed in the past...give it a rest folks...seriously.

And when the desktop departed?.... No, seriously...

Tegument said,
that's correct...the start menu and desktop are never going to make a comeback as they existed in the past...give it a rest folks...seriously.
We are still years away from the desktop being gone. The desktop in Windows 8 is still being used as it has been for decades. With the option to now boot straight to the desktop, it ain't going anywhere no time soon.

-adrian- said,
true since he is selling all his MS stock as well and will disappear completely

How is he going to sell all his stock yet he remains on the board?

PoohGQ said,

How is he going to sell all his stock yet he remains on the board?

Although I agree that Ballmer won't be selling all of his stock... There is no requirement that you own stock in a company to serve on its board. So he could technically sell all of his stock and still serve on the board without issue.

No not yet but it's moving in that direction, they've stated that, the modern apps are what will become the mainstream and the desktop will move to be just for maintenance similar to the way we have the command prompt today as a carry over from the "old days"

Tegument said,
No not yet but it's moving in that direction, they've stated that, the modern apps are what will become the mainstream and the desktop will move to be just for maintenance similar to the way we have the command prompt today as a carry over from the "old days"
In a bubble that sounds cute and all. However, for true productivity situations that's just not going to happen for quite some time w/o serious upgrades to the multi-tasking/screen experience with modern.

PoohGQ said,

How is he going to sell all his stock yet he remains on the board?

I don't understand who said that he would be selling all his stock? I didn't find a single article or news report saying that he would selling all his stock.

yes...I understand how this is difficult to see, even in productivity situations you will have to learn new methods of using software...its going to be painful for some to adjust but it will be happening...

Tegument said,
yes...I understand how this is difficult to see, even in productivity situations you will have to learn new methods of using software...its going to be painful for some to adjust but it will be happening...

The issue is not learning something new but if this "new" paradigm is as effective and productive as the "old" one; for me, at least now, it is not. Other will surely differ and free to use it.