Microsoft has not confirmed any release timeframe for its Office suite on Apple’s iOS or Google Android, but leaked images appear to make clear that a launch on each respective mobile operating system is coming early in 2013.
The release of Office on both platforms has been rumoured for months, but The Verge, a tech culture site in the U.S., broke the story today that Microsoft was preparing to launch its popular office suite onto the two most widely used mobile operating systems. Though not confirmed, a release schedule would potentially see the suite go to iOS first in February or March, while an Android version would follow in April or May.
The suite will likely be tied directly to a user’s Microsoft account, and possibly be free, albeit with limited capabilities. This means that documents will be viewable but not open to editing. A subscription to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based platform, will be required to create and edit documents in programs like Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Regardless, syncing documents with SkyDrive will also reportedly be available as an option, though there’s no word on whether or not that opens the door for programs like Dropbox and SugarSync to do the same.
Little else is known about the new mobile office suite, and speculation continues on what features might be made available, and how it would tie in to the desktop version for both Windows PCs and Macs.
Microsoft was expected to make a move on bringing Office to competing mobile platforms as a way to compete with Google Docs, which offers a range of browser and app-based tools for free.