A new report, accompanied by screenshots, is suggesting that Microsoft will finally be releasing an Office suite of apps on iOS devices early next year. The report from The Verge says that Microsoft has been working on Office for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and that the new app will be launched completely free of charge, allowing users to read Microsoft Office documents on their iOS devices. That means that any file that was created on a Mac or PC using either Powerpoint, Word or Excel will now be viewable using the Office apps on an iOS device. Editing those documents is actually a different story.
Microsoft will enable editing of Office files as long as users purchase a subscription for Office 365, which can be done via an in-app purchase mechanism (we’re assuming that Apple will take a 30% cut for those in-app purchases). This will apparently allow basic editing but there will be no advance document creation tools, even for iPad users. The screenshot above gives an idea of what the apps will look like.
There’s no word on pricing of the new service, but a look at the current Office 365 plans available indicates that the service could start at $6 per user per month for the ability to view and edit Microsoft Office files on the web and, we’re assuming, within an app. That’s for business users at the moment, but notably, Microsoft offers Office 365 free to academic institutions so it will be interesting to see if this extends to iOS devices.