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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will reportedly release a version of MS Office for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad early next that will allow free document viewing but charge for editing functions. The Office Mobile application will be a free option available on the iOS App Store with a Microsoft Office account. The Verge reported details of the rumored software along with screenshots.
According to the report, the app will support Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. An Office 365 subscription will be available for purchase through the app and will allow for “basic editing” functions. However, it is not expected to “go very far in attempting to replace regular full use of a desktop Office version.”
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While a Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android version is also expected eventually, Apple’s iOS will be the first to receive it. The report added that a recent Microsoft press release from its Czech Republic subsidiary said that Office Mobile apps for Android and iOS will be made available starting March next year.
Currently, several third-party Office apps are available for iOS and Android users, including document viewer and editor CloudOn, OnLive Desktop, and Documents to Go.
Microsoft’s Windows RT tablets and Windows Phone 8 ship with a free version of Office and giving access to the suite on other rival platforms may put the company at some competitive disadvantage. However, the Windows unit’s net income fell 22 percent in the last quarter and revenue was down 8 percent from the year-ago period and the move will help Microsoft balance out some of those losses.
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