Microsoft plans to sell touch-first versions of its Microsoft Office suite for every major platform, but the company is curiously choosing to release an Android version of those apps before releasing one for its own Windows 8 platform. According to Mary Jo Foley, a well-sourced reporter for ZDNet with a great track record on Microsoft rumors, Microsoft plans to have a Metro version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint by spring 2015. Foley’s sources say those same apps will arrive on Android at the end of 2014. (Note: Microsoft already has Android apps for Office Mobile, but Foley is referring to tablet apps with the full suite of Office features.)
It might seem strange that Micrsoft would support Android before Windows, but it’s not unprecedented. Android has gained access to features prior to Windows Phone a couple of times, and the introduction of Office apps for the iPad showed that the company is focused on being on all platforms. Windows is not getting preferential treatment in all instances, so if the Android app is ready first, Microsoft will release it without waiting on the Windows 8 version. These apps are built by different teams after all.
At the moment, Microsoft is going where the users reside. If Foley’s sources are correct and the touch-oriented version of Office arrives prior to Windows 8 RT tablets, it will be because Microsoft is most concerned about getting its products in as many hands as possible.