Touch the Office

A new report from ZDNet, citing unnamed sources, claims that Microsoft plans to launch touch-first versions of its Office apps for Android devices before the company releases similar apps for the Modern UI used in Windows 8.

The report states that Microsoft is currently planning to offer Android versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel sometime before the end of 2014. It adds that Microsoft may not offer the Windows 8-Modern UI versions of those same apps until the spring of 2015. That also happens to be the same time frame the company is planning to launch the next major version of Windows, which may or may not be called Windows 9.

Officially, Microsoft is not commenting on these reports. However, from a business standpoint, it certainly makes sense to launch Office apps for Android products ahead of Windows 8, since they have a much bigger share of the mobile market. The apps will likely be free to download and will be able to read documents, but a paid Office 365 subscription will almost certainly be needed to create and edit documents in those apps.

Microsoft made the Office apps for Apple's iPad available in late March and in May the company announced that the apps had been downloaded 27 million times since the launch. The company has not commented on if it will launch versions of the Office apps for the smaller iPhone, although there is a version for Android phones, which recently went free.