Software

Should Microsoft release Office for iPad and mobile devices?

Microsoft Office files are zooming around lots of mobile devices these days, with third party apps used to read them. Is it time for a cross-platform mobile version of Office? Take the poll.

Despite a little bit of 2010 momentum for Google Docs, Microsoft Office remains the overwhelmingly-dominant productivity suite that workers use to build and share business documents. And now, a lot of those documents are zooming around to mobile devices such as the iPad, BlackBerries, Android devices, and iPhones.

As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley recently pointed out, lots of third party solutions have popped up to allow these mobile devices to access Microsoft Office files, including Documents to Go, Dropbox, Quickoffice, GoodReader, and more. But, Foley noted that these solutions often aren't that great for editing Office files, and the newly-released Office Web Apps isn't the answer.

So that begs the question, should Microsoft develop mobile versions of Office for iPad, iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry? Foley believes that question is likely being debated inside Microsoft.

"I'd bet there are internal wars of words (and more) inside Redmond's hallowed halls as to whether doing so would hurt or help more, in terms of boosting Microsoft's bottom line and its customer base," Foley stated. "I also wouldn't be surprised in the least if skunkworks teams inside Microsoft already are working on at least a few of these variants."

The Office franchise is Microsoft's crown jewel, and there's no good reason to chain it only to Microsoft's mobile platform. A reasonably priced mobile version of Office that allowed full file access and light editing would be a big hit on iOS, BlackBerry, and Android.

What do you think? Answer the poll and jump in the discussion.

Take the poll

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

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