iOS Microsoft Office For iPad, iPhone; Outlook Surface/Windows RT: When Will They Happen?

In the world of Microsoft and Windows 8, the big news on Friday was that Redmond is prepping its new email client, Outlook, for a release on Windows RT and, thus, the Surface RT. Surprisingly, this led into further discussion on perhaps the one topic iPhone and iPad users care about concerning Windows: Will Microsoft Office ever hit iOS?

We begin with Outlook, which was spotted running on Surface RT tablets and Windows RT software not being used by Microsoft employees. What does that have to do with the iPhone, iPad and iOS, you ask? Well, considering the Surface RT is an important Microsoft product, the chances of iOS getting Office before Surface gets every feature possible are slim to none. Importantly, it looks like Outlook RT is closer than we thought.

"It's perhaps more interesting that Outlook RT has made its way outside of Microsoft as well," Paul Thurrot wrote at"This suggests that it's much closer to an actual release, though I have no information about when that might happen."

Over at ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley followed up by saying, "all of the Office apps — not just the core Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote — have been ported to ARM already." Whether Microsoft will save them for release with Windows 8.1 (Blue) or unleash them earlier is a different question, but it looks like they're at least ready to go.

As to why Outlook RT's release is so important, Thurrot said that Office for iOS has no chance of happening until Outlook comes out.

"Microsoft will not ship Office for iPad until it gets Outlook RT out the door," he said. "The inference was that it would be ridiculous for the firm to provide Outlook to iPad users before it did so on its own Windows RT system. But this also suggests that Office for iPad will include Outlook, which I have to say is a bit surprising."

If Outlook RT is offered through a subscription model, Foley said it's likely a similar model will be available for Office on iOS. So, if you're an iPhone or iPad owner, start hoping Surface RT gets Outlook sooner than later.

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