Microsoft working on touch versions of Office apps for non-Windows platforms

While Microsoft has put in features in its latest Office desktop applications that make them more touchscreen friendly, many have wondered when we will get full touch versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Today, as part of its financial analyst meeting, Microsoft indicated that "touch-first" versions of Office apps are in the works, and they will be coming to more than just Windows.

The statement came from Qi Lu, the head of Microsoft's Applications and Services division, during a technology panel at the analyst meeting in Bellevue, Wash. He stated:

We are working on touch-first versions of our core apps on Office. We will bring these to Windows devices and also to other devices in ways that meet our customers needs and value, and in ways that make sense economically for Microsoft and in the proper time frame.

Lu's statement was later paraphrased on Microsoft's official news Twitter account:

Microsoft has been rumored to be working on some major updates to Office, under the code name Gemini, for some time. The company has also mentioned downloading Office apps from the Windows Store in the past. Today was the first time, however, that Microsoft has mentioned that touch-based Office apps could be released for platforms other than Windows.

Source: Microsoft

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22 Comments

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"... financially sensible for MSFT"

that's microsoft-speak for "when we are desperate enough". which means any time now.

Albert said,
truth hurts. yeah. i know.

You should be thankful they're bringing touch versions of Office to other platforms at all, personally I think they should be keeping Office for their own platforms only!!!

neo158 said,

You should be thankful they're bringing touch versions of Office to other platforms at all, personally I think they should be keeping Office for their own platforms only!!!


Not really: when MS first launched Excel, it was for, hear hear, Apple computers only; if I remember correctly the Windows version came only two years later.

Fritzly said,

Not really: when MS first launched Excel, it was for, hear hear, Apple computers only; if I remember correctly the Windows version came only two years later.

Actually, that was Multiplan not Excel.

Albert said,
"... financially sensible for MSFT"

that's microsoft-speak for "when we are desperate enough". which means any time now.

Says the guy who missed the other article about 2M subs for office 365 home.

MrHumpty said,
Says the guy who missed the other article about 2M subs for office 365 home.

if you are happy with 2m subscribers. good for you. if microsoft think as you are. good for the competitors. lol.

Albert said,

if you are happy with 2m subscribers. good for you. if microsoft think as you are. good for the competitors. lol.

Salesforce.com is not likely that far north of 2M subscribers (2M in 2011 after many years of doing only that sort of customer acquisition.) 2M software subscriptions is very significant for any business in competition with Salesforce, especially in a year.

Albert said,
if you are happy with 2m subscribers. good for you. if microsoft think as you are. good for the competitors. lol.

I don't know, 2 million home users, $99 a year... that's about $200 million a year. That's just home users after what, less than a year? Obviously people are willing to pay for something good instead of getting stuck with something awful like Nacho Libre or Google Apps.

Albert said,
if you are happy with 2m subscribers. good for you. if microsoft think as you are. good for the competitors. lol.
You think that they are happy just having 2M? Are you certain you are trying to make a good point or are you just trolling?

Sometimes I wonder how MS thinks, here you are convincing developers to port their apps to the new touch interface ( Metro) but you are unwilling to do same. A full touch version of Office should have been there right from the start of Windows 8/RT... it should have been a priority , not something you do over time.

I never suggest they do that and I don't think the version of Office they'll be porting in the future will be full featured either. They could have made some like OneNote MX for all the office applications and improve it over time.

mastercoms said,
They can't instantly port decades of work to metro.

No, but the iPad was release three and a half years ago. Microsoft seems incapable of responding to the market, instead preferring to dictate to consumers what they should buy.

Exactly, right now people are using iPads and android tablets, the lack of Office isn't stopping people .. they'll find alternatives . it wouldn't be long before they realize they can go just fine without office.

kinpin said,
Exactly, right now people are using iPads and android tablets, the lack of Office isn't stopping people .. they'll find alternatives . it wouldn't be long before they realize they can go just fine without office.

Exactly. Soon people will get used to the Apple or Android alternative and won't see any reason to fork out for an expensive Office licence.

To be fair, they only started seriously looking at touch 3 years ago. And since then, Microsoft has changed quite a lot and suffered a major reorganization!

Seketh said,
To be fair, they only started seriously looking at touch 3 years ago. And since then, Microsoft has changed quite a lot and suffered a major reorganization!

Windows Mobile supported touch and that was released 13 years ago, so it's not like Microsoft wasn't actively developing touch. The first iPhone was 6 years ago and the iPad was simply a natural evolution from that. There is simply no excuse for not having a touch-based version of Office.

kinpin said,
Sometimes I wonder how MS thinks, here you are convincing developers to port their apps to the new touch interface ( Metro) but you are unwilling to do same. A full touch version of Office should have been there right from the start of Windows 8/RT... it should have been a priority , not something you do over time.
I can't even begin to dream of a monumental project this is and will be. Considering it's obvious that WinRT was just finished at Windows 8's launch only someone who knows absolutely nothing about software engineering would make the above statement.