Mary Jo Foley, who watches Microsoft like moths watch light bulbs, has nothing to confirm on any schedule for dedicated mobile Office apps. Foley sees it as “only a matter of time” until Office arrives on non-Microsoft devices, but Office could be “Web-based, subscription-only and/or local.”
Microsoft has also said (tweeted) that ”the information shared by our Czech subsidiary is not accurate,”, and that Microsoft “(does) not have anything further to share at this time. But “not accurate” is a big gesture that doesn’t quite mean “no.” (Wouldn’t it be remarkable if tech companies started responding to tech rumors with just “No”?)
There is a substantial kicker. This afternoon, Microsoft released its annual letter to shareholders. In it, CEO Steve Ballmer went out of his way to argue that Microsoft is in a “new era,” and is now “a devices and services” company. In other words, Ballmer wants you to know that Microsoft is not just a software company. But note that Ballmer did not decouple “devices” and “services.” Microsoft intends to provide the device, or at least real guidance on the device, that its corporate and retail customers use with Office. And “services” does not imply a company looking to make millions through one-shot app store sales.
I don’t think Office is coming to Android and iOS in March 2013. At least not the way the headlines want you to think it will be “on” those platforms.