Is the iPad version of Office being released before the Windows 8.1 app?

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Is the iPad version of Office being released before the Windows 8.1 app?

Satya Nadella is expected to make an appearance at a press briefing by Microsoft in San Francisco on 27 March -- and it's looking like the new Microsoft CEO could be unveiling the iPad version of Office. If this turns out to be true -- and the rumors stem from the usually-reliable Tom Warren and Mary Jo Foley -- Office users are likely to be annoyed that Apple's tablet gains access to the office suite before the Windows 8.1 app is released.

Press invites have already been sent out to the event at the end of the month which is to focus on the topics of the cloud and mobile devices. Sources have reported to both the Verge and ZDNet that the event will also see the launch of Office for iPad.

It is likely that the version of Office for Apple tablet will follow the lead of the iPhone version. This means users can expected to need an Office 365 subscription to edit and create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, but the app itself should be free of charge.

It's not clear why the Windows 8.1 version is coming after the iPad app -- although in terms of hitting the biggest user-base first, it does make sense -- as Microsoft has remained pretty tight-lipped about Office for both platforms for some time now.

The recently announced Office 365 Personal package allows for the installation of Office on one PC or Mac and one tablet. This is likely to cause frustration for anyone who has a Windows tablet and an iPad as a choice will have to be made about which tablet to install Office on.

Are you looking forward to the iPad or Windows 8.1 version more? Are you disappointed that Apple devices may well be getting the app first?


We spoke to Microsoft about the Office app for iPad, and a spokesperson said:

As Steve shared in the fall, we are working on touch-first enabled versions of our core Office applications (including Word, Excel and PowerPoint).  We will bring these apps to Windows devices and also other devices like the iPad in ways that meet our customers’ needs and in ways that make sense economically for Microsoft.  We have nothing further to share on timing right now.  In the meantime, if you have an iPad, we recommend using the Office Online, which provide the best Office experience on a tablet.  We have made lots of enhancements to Office Online including a touch experience for tablet users. 

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