Microsoft Office a big draw for Windows tablets?

Microsoft Office has been an essential tool for PCs. But how important is it for tablets?

Microsoft Office.  A big advantage for Microsoft Surface, Windows RT, and Intel-based Windows 8 Pro tablets?
Microsoft Office. A big advantage for Microsoft Surface, Windows RT, and Intel-based Windows 8 Pro tablets? Microsoft

Microsoft Office on tablets

Is the ability to run a local version of Microsoft Office on a Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro tablet an important factor to consider when buyin

One of the cornerstones of upcoming Windows 8 tablets will be Microsoft Office, but will that be a deal-maker for buyers?

Any Intel-based Windows 8 Pro tablet -- like the one coming from Hewlett-Packard -- will be able to run the regular version of Office, just as it runs today on any Intel-based PC.

And, in April, Microsoft preannounced that tablets running the RT version of Windows 8 will come with Office.

While there is speculation that Microsoft will initially ship a "preview" version of Office 2013 RT (upgradeable soon thereafter) and that the RT version will lack a few features, it's a big weapon in Microsoft's arsenal nevertheless.

Big enough that Google acquired QuickOffice -- which offers varying levels of compatibility with MS Office -- in June in anticipation of the real version of Office making its way to mobile devices like tablets.

And big enough that getting Office to run reliably on the iPad has been kind of a holy grail. (There's iWork and Microsoft Office 365 but neither are a complete or necessarily satisfactory solution for the iPad.)

And, needless to say, Office is de rigueur at businesses across the world and it will help Microsoft and its partners market tablets to corporations.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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