Workaholics tethered to their smartphones have another reason to switch to Apple: Rumors that Microsoft’s Office Suite is coming to the iPhone are inching towards reality, and iPhone apps with document and spreadsheet editing capabilities are also on the way.
At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, CEO and organizer Tim O’Reilly asked Stephen Elop, President of Microsoft Business Division, whether Microsoft was truly committed to bringing its major productivity applications to smartphones. Elop’s answer, which referenced the evolution of mobile operating systems and devices in relation to the iPhone Facebook app, seemed to give a subtle indication that Microsoft was eyeing the iPhone and that Office may be coming soon. But Elop backtracked by saying, “Not yet, keep watching,” immediately afterward.
This news arrives at the same time as the announcement of QuickOffice for the iPhone, a portable application for writing and editing Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. QuickOffice will retail “in the next few weeks” for $20 as a combo or $13 apiece.
The iPhone can already view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents attached to e-mails, but it has no editing capabilities. Microsoft’s addition to the App Store library could bolster the iPhone’s market share in the business world and give RIM’s Blackberry, which can already write and edit Office docs, a run for its money.