Elop would bring Office to iOS and Android, insiders say

If Nokia's Stephen Elop was appointed Microsoft CEO, he would bring Office to rival mobile platforms, insiders say.

Nokia's former head honcho Stephen Elop is one of the frontrunners to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft. And if he does, he'll bring Microsoft's Office suite of programs to rival smart phones and tablets, insiders say.

Usually, Microsoft keeps its programs exclusive to its own mobile and desktop operating systems in order to drive demand. So this would be quite a change. (There's an Office Mobile app on Android, but you need a subscription to Office 365 to use it.) 

Bloomberg reports that "three people with knowledge of his thinking" say Elop would open up Office programs like Word and Excel to iOS and Android. Obviously this is all speculative, as Elop hasn't been appointed head of Microsoft yet, and he hasn't discussed his plans in public. But it'd be an interesting shift if it did come to pass.

Microsoft's stock has been falling of late. Steve Ballmer himself admitted the company was too  slow to acknowledge how important the smart phone was . With Apple and Google innovating with their respective operating systems, Microsoft has been left lagging.

The Redmond-based company's Windows Phone software has had good reviews, and the Nokia Lumia 1020  has set the bar for cameras in mobiles. But the OS has suffered from a lack of apps. Favourites like Instagram, Vine and Flipboard are only just coming to Windows Phone, a long time after debuting on rivals platforms.

Elop is a former Microsoft man, so it's highly likely he'll take over the company when Steve Ballmer steps down. He was head of the Office division within Microsoft, so he obviously knows the programs inside out. As head of Nokia, Elop canned the company's own Symbian software, so he's obviously not one to stick with something for the sake of tradition.

Back in September, Microsoft announced it was buying Nokia . Elop resigned as Nokia CEO when the deal was announced, and said he would become head of devices at Microsoft, overseeing the company's mobiles and tablets, as well as Xbox.

"Microsoft does not comment on rumour or speculation," a Microsoft spokesperson told me.

Would you like to see Office on Android and iOS? Would it make sense for Microsoft? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Update: Added comment from Microsoft. 

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.

     

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