November 08, 2012, 11:08 AM — Microsoft's most iconic application suite -- Microsoft Office -- will be moving off the PC and the Windows OS to two mobile platforms, iOS and Android, in early 2013. But will customers in the enterprise, where Office has been a PC standard for years, really care?
The new mobile version of Office will be a free viewing app on iOS and Android for Office documents, including Excel, PowerPoint and Word, according to several sources cited by The Verge in its reporting of the upcoming introduction. Users will be required to have a Microsoft online account, as they do today for Microsoft's SkyDrive and OneNote apps. Initially, only "basic editing" will be enabled, according to The Verge, through a subscription to Microsoft's Web-based office applications, Office 365.
Office on Windows PCs and laptops is a major driver of Microsoft revenues and profits and has been for years. Corporate PCs typically are purchased with Office installed as part of their standard software load. But in just over three years, the iPhone and now iPad have made Apple the leader in mobile devices for business users. And many of these users have found workable substitutes to Office, whether via third-party apps or online services such as Google Apps.
"Overall, I can't help but be a little under-excited at this point," says Jeremy Allen, chief technology officer for Intrepidus Group, a company that specializes in helping enterprises to build secure mobile apps. "I think users that wanted this type of capability have already got it."