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Microsoft optimistic about Office making its way to iPhone

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
Microsoft still holds aspirations of delivering a version of its leading Office suite capable of running on the iPhone but needs a bit more time to get it all sorted out.

Speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco on Wednesday, Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop dropped hints to suggest the set of productivity applications was bound to turn up on the Apple handheld device sometime soon.

However, TechCrunch reports that Elop later hedged his remarks when interviewer Tim O’Reilly probed him over the comments, admitting that the software isn't ready quite yet and stating that hopefuls should "keep watching."

It's been over a year since Microsoft first expressed "confidence" in its ability deliver applications of value to iPhone users. At the time, Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of the company's Specialized Devices and Applications Group, indicated to Fortune that Office applications were a natural choice.

"It's really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone," he said. "To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we're actually in the process of trying to understand that now."

Although the iPhone ships with built-in support for viewing Office documents, users wishing to make changes to those documents have had few options prior to this week's announcement of Quickoffice, which will support editing (as well as creation of) Word and Excel documents when it's released later this month.

For its part, Microsoft is also likely eager to tap into the lucrative iPhone ecosystem made possible by the App Store. The Redmond-based software giant is already the largest Mac software developer outside of Apple, with its Mac Business Unit estimated to generate revenues in excess of $350 million and profits of over $200 million each year.

That said, Elop also noted Wednesday that Office has half a billion users worldwide, but only half of them actually pay for the software. Going forward, the company says it plans to launch an ad-supported version of Office that will run as a Web app in most browsers.
post #2 of 62
It's an Excel world afterall.
post #3 of 62
Check out the Citrix Receiver in the App Store. You do need to have a XenApp 5.0 server with Office hosted, but it works like a champ. The Citrix Receiver is currently Tech Preview and missing a few things like SSL but it is very promising to business users who need access to Windows apps while on the road.
post #4 of 62
No doubt Microsoft Office would be even worse on the iPhone than the other versions -- bloated and buggy. A native office suite (maybe Quickoffice?) is what's needed.
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post #5 of 62
Unless they plan on moving to Cocoa it's not going to make it to the iPhone.

OpenOffice would make it to the iPhone far sooner than Office.
post #6 of 62
Cant remember the last time I used MS Office. We've been using OpenOffice for months now.
post #7 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Unless they plan on moving to Cocoa it's not going to make it to the iPhone...

Yeah, even the full-blown Office for Mac doesn't use that much Cocoa from what I heard, and their development tools are like Adobe's (non-Mac).

If MS is doing this, they'd have to literally throw away the code-base and start from scratch to do it right, putting them on the same playing field as anyone else. What would be relatively easy to port however, would be Pages or Numbers since they are native Cocoa apps.

One of the mysteries to me about iPhone development efforts lately however, is why Apple themselves doesn't seem to have invested any time in developing for their own platform. Where is the MobileMe app? Where is the Quicktime app? Why did it take until iPhone 2.0 to even get the (rather rudimentary) Contacts app on the iPhone? Why isn't there an Apple Store app? Where is iChat? Where is Keynote?

Apple has been coasting on it's laurels a bit lately IMO. Sure they are great at architecting OS's, but most of their apps have been languishing a bit and some still suck after years of being available. I think with iPhone they are concentrating so hard on the platform that they aren't focussing enough on the actual apps.

A "real" contacts application could significantly alter the landscape in that half of the things the pre does that iPhone can't could be covered by a sort of "Contacts on steroids" application. A MobileMe app would not only sell more iPhones, but more MobileMe subscriptions. I can buy two dollar apps for my iPhone, but I can't order a new laptop? Why?

Either they are too busy or there is a severe lack of vision in the applications department.
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post #8 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedalmatian View Post

Cant remember the last time I used MS Office. We've been using OpenOffice for months now.

I switched to OpenOffice in the 1990s back when it was called StarOffice -- even before Sun bought it from the German company that originally developed it. In retrospect, that may have been too early, but five years ago would not have been too early to switch to OpenOffice.
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post #9 of 62
The built-in office file viewer I can understand, but text entry is quite challenging on the iPhone as it is for a featured Word or Excel IMHO.

And I think a filesystem ought to be a prerequisite feature.
post #10 of 62
I'd rather have iWork Mobile.
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Yeah, even the full-blown Office for Mac doesn't use that much Cocoa from what I heard, and their development tools are like Adobe's (non-Mac).

MS reps said Office for mobile devices will be a web app. So no it won't be based on cocoa, it would be built on HTML/CSS/JS. Supporting open standards in this way would be a huge change for MS.

Quote:
One of the mysteries to me about iPhone development efforts lately however, is why Apple themselves doesn't seem to have invested any time in developing for their own platform. Where is the MobileMe app? Where is the Quicktime app? Why did it take until iPhone 2.0 to even get the (rather rudimentary) Contacts app on the iPhone? Why isn't there an Apple Store app? Where is iChat? Where is Keynote?

Why do you think all of these apps are needed. Why do we need to launch a separate Quicktime app? With all of the IM clients why does it need iChat? When Apple originally launched iChat it was the best IM client for the Mac. Its not really needed for the iPhone. Why would you need to buy a Mac Pro on your phone? Whose going to create graphs and charts on their phone?


Quote:
Apple has been coasting on it's laurels a bit lately IMO. Sure they are great at architecting OS's, but most of their apps have been languishing a bit and some still suck after years of being available. I think with iPhone they are concentrating so hard on the platform that they aren't focussing enough on the actual apps.

You really think the apps are more important than the platform the apps reside on?

By June over the past 24 months Apple will have provided more feature updates than any other mobile platform ever has, I would not call 1000 new API's and 100 new features resting on your laurels.

Why do you think its on Apple to provide all of these apps, that's the purpose of having a developer community.

Quote:
A "real" contacts application could significantly alter the landscape in that half of the things the pre does that iPhone can't could be covered by a sort of "Contacts on steroids" application. A MobileMe app would not only sell more iPhones, but more MobileMe subscriptions. I can buy two dollar apps for my iPhone, but I can't order a new laptop? Why?

What's a real contacts application?

Since the phone syncs with MobileMe, why does it need to access MobileMe?

Apple's website does run on the iPhone. So technically you can buy a new laptop using it, but under what circumstance would that happen?
post #12 of 62
Who is this Microsoft company I keep hearing about?
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post #13 of 62
Outline editing feature for Keynote would be great start as there is not so much text in presentations and making last minute touches to presentation would be great if it was possible to present directly from iPhone. But I'm afraid that iPhone does not have enough horsepower to render all Keynote transitions in full quality.
post #14 of 62
Despite personal feelings the far majority of the word processing world uses MS Office.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedalmatian View Post

Cant remember the last time I used MS Office. We've been using OpenOffice for months now.
post #15 of 62
No the iPhone cannot output graphics in high enough resolution for a large projection. The iPhone does have a Keynote remote control though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wessan View Post

But I'm afraid that iPhone does not have enough horsepower to render all Keynote transitions in full quality.
post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

I'd rather have iWork Mobile.

I agree. I'd rather have a headache than Office on my iPhone! Please, go away M$ just go away! Make it for your Zune or something.
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post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Despite personal feelings the far majority of the word processing world uses MS Office.

Then it's time for a change. Yes we can!
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post #18 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Who is this Microsoft company I keep hearing about?

I think they are relations of Standard Oil, TWA and PanAm.
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post #19 of 62
It painful enough working with Office and large programs on a computer, imagine how hard it would be on a phone. I think basic editing and viewing is fine but trying to use even half the features on a mobile device is difficult for the user. I use Office on both Mac and Windows, many times I get problems in the documents and excel sheets fonts and layouts. Imagine what would happen on a phone!
post #20 of 62
There certainly is nothing stopping open office from making a mobile word processing suite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Then it's time for a change. Yes we can!
post #21 of 62
Microsoft was also optimistic about Vista being a success and embraced by the masses.

Microsoft was also optimistic about the Zune.

Microsoft was also optimistic about ________.

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post #22 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

It painful enough working with Office and large programs on a computer, imagine how hard it would be on a phone. I think basic editing and viewing is fine but trying to use even half the features on a mobile device is difficult for the user. I use Office on both Mac and Windows, many times I get problems in the documents and excel sheets fonts and layouts. Imagine what would happen on a phone!

So true but you just solved the motivation question of M$ to support iPhone ...

It's a plot to cripple the iPhone by M$
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post #23 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

Microsoft was also optimistic about Vista being a success and embraced by the masses.

Microsoft was also optimistic about the Zune.

Microsoft was also optimistic about ________.


To be fair, they were rightfully optimistic about their plan to rip of the original Mac OS in 1985. Shame they still use it and now call it 7
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post #24 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

I'd rather have iWork Mobile.

yes, me too. TextEdit (as per the mac app) would suffice for me, as well.
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post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

It painful enough working with Office and large programs on a computer, ...Imagine what would happen on a phone!

They'll steal the operating system! Windows Mobile for My-Phone!
post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

... Why do you think all of these apps are needed. Why do we need to launch a separate Quicktime app? With all of the IM clients why does it need iChat? When Apple originally launched iChat it was the best IM client for the Mac. Its not really needed for the iPhone. Why would you need to buy a Mac Pro on your phone? Whose going to create graphs and charts on their phone? ...

Wow, you're being really negative here. You really can't see the utility of some of these things?

My personal answers to these questions would be different from others, and what I was trying to convey is merely that there are apps that one would generally think would make it to the platform that haven't and others that have made it in very rudimentary form.

In particular:

I liked the separate video app that came on the original iPod touch (not sure if it's still there). I don't particularly like the "iPod.app" on the iPhone mixing my movies and TV shows with my music. A Quicktime app would serve me well for that.

I like iChat better than the other chat apps. Why shouldn't it be on the iPhone just because other companies already make similar apps? To argue that it shouldn't is the same as arguing it shouldn't exist on the Mac either.

I obviously don't *need* to buy a MacPro on my phone, but the Apple store runs on the exact same web technologies that the app store does. There is no reason *not* to have an Apple store app, and if having one increased purchases for Apple even slightly it would be worth doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

... You really think the apps are more important than the platform the apps reside on? ...

Now you're doing something that you do a lot, which is put words in other people's mouths. I never said this at all. I just said they have let one slide a bit in favour of the other and that the quality and efficacy of their OS's is not reflected in the quality of their apps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

... What's a real contacts application?

In the context of my post, a "real" contacts app is a contacts app that has more than the bare minimum of utility and an interface that is more than just a blank data view. No one who uses a good contacts app on a daily basis would ever use Apple's. It's practically just a raw database and not an app at all.

As I mentioned in a previous post, a good Contacts app would cover most of the things that a Palm pre does for instance that the iPhone currently cannot do. Palm understood way back in the early 90's that the majority of people who use these portable devices, use them to manage their contacts. The people they meet, and the people they communicate with over a variety of mediums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

... Since the phone syncs with MobileMe, why does it need to access MobileMe?...

I would like to access MobileMe settings on the go of course, which is currently impossible to do. Opening a web browser and going to MobileMe just (purposely) links to a dead page with a message.

Also, as a user of MobileMe I can say there are dozens of interesting things that could be done with MobileMe in general and particularly with MobileMe/iPhone integration and I'm sure the folks at Apple could think up a lot more than that.

Every big web concern is working on an iPhone app, but Apple's MobileMe doesn't seem to even have the germ of an idea about it (at least as far as we've heard). I'd like to see a mobile Pages and Numbers app as well.

Obviously the truth here is that some of these apps are just placeholders that Apple pretends are "real apps" that it is interested in developing, when instead it rather hopes that others will do it for them.

As a MobileMe user, iChat is the best chat app in that it will allow me to use my email aliases for monikers. Unfortunately, I can't use it because in the first place it doesn't exist on the iPhone, and in the second place the Mac client has been basically left to rot from the first day it was made. The app was basically made by a single guy under contract, and Apple has done pretty much squat to develop it in all the years since.

If they don't want to be in the business of making these kinds of apps they should just own up to that fact and let others fill the gap. On the other hand, if they want to pretend that MobileMe is a web portal or web community like any other and iChat is the tool they recommend to navigate said community, they need to actually start working on these things. I think they will eventually, they have just dropped the ball recently because of all the junk that's on their plate right now.
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post #27 of 62
Microsoft Office 2008 does use some Cocoa. How much I don't know. I, however, think you may be wrong about Microsoft not using Apple developer tools. If people remember, Apple pulled the whole we are moving over to Intel practically over night. Moreover Apple made the whole transaction very fast. Much quicker then it publicly stated. Many big companies like Microsoft and Adobe were well into their development cycles. An Adobe engineer posted on the company website that one of the reasons Adobe and Microsoft were taking so long to release Intel native applications was that they had to switch development tools to Apple's in order to release Universal applications.

The Adobe guy explained how hard it is to stop what you are doing during mid production cycle and switch development tools. He claimed at the time Apple's tools didn't do everything that their current tools did. Adobe had to work with Apple to get Apple to add these features to it's development tools. Moreover, the engineers had to become familiar with Apple's tools. It was an interesting read, and made sense.

Accordingly, I think both Adobe and Microsoft are now using Apple developer tools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Yeah, even the full-blown Office for Mac doesn't use that much Cocoa from what I heard, and their development tools are like Adobe's (non-Mac).

If MS is doing this, they'd have to literally throw away the code-base and start from scratch to do it right, putting them on the same playing field as anyone else. What would be relatively easy to port however, would be Pages or Numbers since they are native Cocoa apps.
post #28 of 62
It's not worth having MS Office when there are other apps one can use. MS will screw things up and make users of enterprise suffer more with their unreliable service.
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post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitro View Post

It's not worth having MS Office when there are other apps one can use. MS will screw things up and make users of enterprise suffer more with their unreliable service.

25 years later, history repeats itself.
1. Microsoft to Apple: "Oh we'd love to put Office on the iPhone. Just give us the code!"
2. Microsoft announces, "New operating system for MS Mobile phones."
3. Apple sues Microsoft for outright theft of the iphone operating system.
4. Apple looses case, judge rules John Scully signed agreement which allows Microsoft to incorporate any Apple improvements to the world of electronics in perpetuity.
5. Steve Ballmer cheers. "The tide has turned!" He shouts so loud downtown Redmond is destroyed.
6. Halliburton rebuilds Redmond and Dick Cheney obtains unlimited legal fund w/ Halliburton's full support, as K&L Gates hired to defend Bush team for War Crimes. Laura Bush reads George the indictment. "Laura, can I have one of those Spindles from Amazon?"
7. Obama ditches his Blackberry (which runs Windows for MyPhone) and now uses an iPhone 7.0., as Tim Geithner takes over Apple. Asks Woz to dance with Barney Frank on national TV. "Shufferin' Shuckitash!" Woz laser zaps him. Geithner's hair stays put.
-Microsoft is bought by Google, after finding Bill Gates searching Web for better ways of making money selling his mercury laden vaccines to African children. Oprah turns Red, calls Bono. He tells her to change colors-"How 'bout Purple?" Newly colored iPod shuffles released. Bono's lenses tinted to match.
8. Jesus returns. Donald Rumsfeld complains of unfair treatment by God."I had to stand up for days, without food or water. Who does he think he is?"
9. iTunes finally removes the DRM from HD videos, so they can be played on Apple Cinema Displays.
post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Who is this Microsoft company I keep hearing about?

I was wondering the same thing
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post #31 of 62
Unsubstantiated paranoia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnp1 View Post

They'll steal the operating system! Windows Mobile for My-Phone!
post #32 of 62
...that I got when I heard they greenlit "Jaws 3D"?
post #33 of 62
I too have been using Open Office .org for many years, the one thing I see in preventing it's implementation on iphone OS is it's heavy reliance on java.

I have also watched Microsoft's somewhat shady attempts to buy open document format ratification for their Office products, maybe going more web based will help them acheive this.
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post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Unsubstantiated paranoia?

Interesting comment! Where were you when Bill Gates released Windows 3.0?
Oh, and don't lock your car door-that would be paranoid!
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Wow, you're being really negative here. You really can't see the utility of some of these things?

I'm just asking questions. I can see some utility to them, but not to the degree you make it sound.

Quote:
My personal answers to these questions would be different from others, and what I was trying to convey is merely that there are apps that one would generally think would make it to the platform that haven't and others that have made it in very rudimentary form.

I think its fine that you would like to see these features. I'm sure we all have a list of things we would like to see. Simply because Apple does not do what one person believes does not mean the are failing.

Quote:
I liked the separate video app that came on the original iPod touch (not sure if it's still there). I don't particularly like the "iPod.app" on the iPhone mixing my movies and TV shows with my music. A Quicktime app would serve me well for that.

That's not Quicktime that's just a video storage app. I can agree I can see its usefulness, I don't think its absolutely needed.

Quote:
I like iChat better than the other chat apps. Why shouldn't it be on the iPhone just because other companies already make similar apps? To argue that it shouldn't is the same as arguing it shouldn't exist on the Mac either.

What more would iChat bring that is lacking in other IM clients?

Quote:
I obviously don't *need* to buy a MacPro on my phone, but the Apple store runs on the exact same web technologies that the app store does. There is no reason *not* to have an Apple store app, and if having one increased purchases for Apple even slightly it would be worth doing.

Something like this could happen eventually, but I doubt its high on the priority list.

Quote:
Now you're doing something that you do a lot, which is put words in other people's mouths. I never said this at all. I just said they have let one slide a bit in favour of the other and that the quality and efficacy of their OS's is not reflected in the quality of their apps.

I would say the OS is more important than the apps. The apps can only work as well as the OS.


Quote:
In the context of my post, a "real" contacts app is a contacts app that has more than the bare minimum of utility and an interface that is more than just a blank data view. No one who uses a good contacts app on a daily basis would ever use Apple's. It's practically just a raw database and not an app at all.

Its basically the same as Contacts on the Mac, what is different?

Quote:
As I mentioned in a previous post, a good Contacts app would cover most of the things that a Palm pre does for instance that the iPhone currently cannot do. Palm understood way back in the early 90's that the majority of people who use these portable devices, use them to manage their contacts. The people they meet, and the people they communicate with over a variety of mediums.

You mean the ability to automatically grab contact information from other sources? I've never used a contacts app that could do that.

I agree it is an interesting feature but is likely not welcomed for security sensitive situations. We'll ultimately have to wait and see the Pre in action to see how well it works.

Quote:
I would like to access MobileMe settings on the go of course, which is currently impossible to do. Opening a web browser and going to MobileMe just (purposely) links to a dead page with a message.

Also, as a user of MobileMe I can say there are dozens of interesting things that could be done with MobileMe in general and particularly with MobileMe/iPhone integration and I'm sure the folks at Apple could think up a lot more than that.

A dozen things like what? The both sync information, what else would you need?


Quote:
Obviously the truth here is that some of these apps are just placeholders that Apple pretends are "real apps" that it is interested in developing, when instead it rather hopes that others will do it for them.

These are the types of statements that I particularly question. You are saying that Apple has sold 30 million devices with placeholder apps. That doesn't make much sense.

Quote:
As a MobileMe user, iChat is the best chat app in that it will allow me to use my email aliases for monikers. Unfortunately, I can't use it because in the first place it doesn't exist on the iPhone, and in the second place the Mac client has been basically left to rot from the first day it was made. The app was basically made by a single guy under contract, and Apple has done pretty much squat to develop it in all the years since.

In that time Apple has added audio chat, video conferencing, multiple person video conferencing, alpha channel for backgrounds, sharing presentations/music/and video. A lot has changed in iChat.

Quote:
If they don't want to be in the business of making these kinds of apps they should just own up to that fact and let others fill the gap. On the other hand, if they want to pretend that MobileMe is a web portal or web community like any other and iChat is the tool they recommend to navigate said community, they need to actually start working on these things. I think they will eventually, they have just dropped the ball recently because of all the junk that's on their plate right now.

MobileMe isn't a web portal or community. Its a web based personal storage and service. Apple specifically described MobileMe as MS Exchange for the rest of us.

Web portals are about connecting users to information on the web, MobileMe does not do that. Communities are about connecting people, MobileMe does not do that.
post #36 of 62
MS did not steal the OS they licensed it. They tricked Apple into giving them a license that Apple did not intend to give, that's Apple's fault.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnp1 View Post

Interesting comment! Where were you when Bill Gates released Windows 3.0?
Oh, and don't lock your car door-that would be paranoid!
post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitro View Post

It's not worth having MS Office when there are other apps one can use. MS will screw things up and make users of enterprise suffer more with their unreliable service.

SO then why does the whole world use Excel?
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

MS did not steal the OS they licensed it. They tricked Apple into giving them a license that Apple did not intend to give, that's Apple's fault.

WOW- thank you.
post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

MS did not steal the OS they licensed it. They tricked Apple into giving them a license that Apple did not intend to give, that's Apple's fault.

Oh that makes everything better! Ethics be damned.
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post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I agree. I'd rather have a headache than Office on my iPhone! Please, go away M$ just go away! Make it for your Zune or something.

Get over it! You use Microsoft everyday- you just don't realize it.
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