Is Microsoft about to annouce Office for the iPhone?

Microsoft Office
Image via Wikipedia

Microsoft has announced a press conference by the Mac Business Unit for 13th August. Microsoft says Eric Wilfrid, general manager of the Microsoft Mac Business Unit, will lead the event, but has given few other details.

If speculation is correct, then it will confirm that the iPhone is becoming not just the consumer smartphone on the market but also one that many businesses are happy to use as an everyday tool. Apple has reported that businesses and the corporate sector are purchasing large quantities of iPhones, stating in ts latest quarterly earnings call that 20% of the Fortune 100 companies have purchased in excess of 10,000 phones, with several corporate, governement and higher education customer purchaing in excess of 25,000 iPhones! Overall, Apple has sold 5.2 million iPhones during the quarter, a 600% increase on the same period last year.

What will we actually see, as the iPhone doesn’t posses a physical keyboard, will it be up to the job of running a full Office suite, remembering too that the desktop version of Office for the Mac is somewhat limited compared to the Windows version? One of the reasons for that of course is that as regards databases Filemaker Pro is a much better product than Access and so Microsoft didn’t even try to compete. Currently, iPhone users can read Word, Excel and PowerPoint e-mail attachments but they can’t edit these documents, although several third-party applications have cropped up that provide this functionality.

Entourage, the Mac app that replaces Outlook in the Mac desktop version of office has not exactly won the hearts and mind of Mac users and many see it as a poor relation to Outlook. Maybe we will see a ‘proper’ version of Outlook for the iPhone? If so, it will surely support Exchange natively (why else release it as businesses will demand full Exchange connectivity).

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