Prepare another entry into your File Of No Surprise: Microsoft is moving ahead with its efforts to bring the highly lucrative Office franchise to Android tablets.
According to The Verge, Microsoft is currently prepping a private beta of the new software. A sign-up page has been mostly taken offline since the news broke.
A full Office suite for Android tablets is roughly as surprising as San Francisco morning fog. Microsoft confirmed that it was building the native suite earlier this year, and rumor followed that the Android apps would beat a touch-first build of Office for Windows out of the gate.
To see Microsoft begin to ramp up testing is hardly surprising.
Office for iPad has been a material success for Microsoft. Despite some market doubt that the apps were too late to make an impact, or that users wouldn’t use them due to Office 365-related restrictions, Microsoft’s latest sally into iOS has gone well. Android may be no different.
The mystery that I can’t unravel is why touch Office for Windows tablets is so damned late.
The above is merely another plank in the current Microsoft effort to have its corporate focus be both mobile-first, and cloud-first. Office, of course, is now heavily based on OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service. What will be interesting to gauge is market response to Office for Android, measuring if it can match the prior response to the iOS suite. Microsoft saw 27 million downloads of its iOS Office apps in 46 days.
Microsoft declined to comment.
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