Microsoft Office Mobile App is Coming to iOS Too

Posted on October 9, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Mobile, Office, Office 365 with 22 Comments

One of the first things I noticed when I got my Samsung Galaxy Note 10 was that it shipped with an all-in-one Microsoft Office app. According to a new report, that app will soon come to iOS as well. And now I’m wondering: Could it replace the standalone Word, Excel, and PowerPoint mobile apps too?

“Microsoft fans are probably curious what’s going on here,” I noted in my Samsung Galaxy Note 10 First Impressions article back in late August, alluding to Microsoft’s unexpected partnership with Samsung. “There is a Microsoft folder on the home screen (and in All Apps), and it has four apps in it: LinkedIn, Office Mobile, OneDrive, and Outlook. Presumably, you’ll be asked to download individual Office applications like Word and Excel when you try to access those document types through the Office or OneDrive apps.”

As it turns out, that is not required: Instead, that new Office Mobile app opens Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents and no additional download is required. In fact, it looks and works an awful lot like the Office Mobile panoramic experience that first graced Windows Phone 7.

Now we know a bit more. According to Mary Jo Foley, this new app is available only as a preloaded app or as a download from Samsung’s mobile app store on select Samsung devices. It is not available today from the Google Play Store, so users of other Android devices are out of luck.

“This unified Office Mobile app, my contacts say, is codenamed ‘Unity,’.” Foley writes. “It was designed by a Microsoft team in India, I’m hearing. It’s designed to be much smaller and more nimble than the individual Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for Android which Microsoft offers in the Google Play Store.” Foley also heard that Office Mobile is coming to iOS, and she guesses, logically enough, that it will be bundled on the Surface Duo next year as well.

Presumably, it will simply also Word, Excel, and PowerPoint mobile, assuming that the functionality is identical. Foley’s open question about the app appearing on real Windows, however, makes less sense: Microsoft already killed its mobile Office apps on Windows, where users expect the real Office applications. But Microsoft being Microsoft, anything is possible.

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Microsoft Office Mobile App is Coming to iOS Too”

  1. skramer49

    OneNote not included. Hmmm.

  2. Chris_Kez

    I like it; removes a potential speed bump for users. Download this once the first time you need any kind of Office file and thereafter you're all set.

  3. manishsuman12

    I am exited about this app

  4. skramer49

    What about OneNote????????

  5. anoldamigauser

    On the computer I have set aside for insider builds, I have not installed the Office applications. It has the Office App, which behaves exactly like the Office Add-in for browsers, but lives in its own window. Clicking on Word or Excel, brings up a list of templates, with recent files including local ones listed below, with the option to upload to OneDrive and Open.

    On a Windows 10 1903 machine, which also lacks the installed Office applications, the Start Menu contains individual icons for the Office Apps, which, when clicked, launch the appropriate Office Online application.

    The plural of anecdote is not data, but it seems to me that they are moving to the idea of a single start point for Office.

  6. dontbeevil

    how can I still use something that was killed? maybe because is not

  7. bluvg

    Does "Unity" support Office add-ins?

  8. ronh

    Doesn't work on my Note 9..

  9. Daekar

    Have the regular Office apps on my phone, but wanted to check out the unified one. Apparently you need a phone newer than Galaxy S7 to access the unified one on the Samsung Store.

  10. rmlounsbury

    If this unified app behaves the way that the Windows Phone Office Hub functioned I can see its function on Android. Really, on my phone I'd rather have an Office Hub app for one stop access to everything Microsoft. I'm not going to edit a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document on my phone even if it is Note 10 sized. I'm mostly just browsing through my documents (and the OneDrive viewer often times is not great).

    I get and appreciate the idea of having a native experience within a single app and not bouncing around between apps. It would also make life easier for those "First Line Workers" that Microsoft likes to talk about when it comes to a mobile workspace. I can see a hub vs. seperate apps making life easier for the sales force at my company.

  11. c_j_martinez

    Years ago there was an Office Mobile app similar to this on iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. It was retired after the debut of the individual Excel, Word, and PowerPoint smartphone apps. 

  12. branpurn

    Google tried it once. Whatever data/metrics they had suggested it was a bad idea.

    I can't see any compelling reason for why there needs to be a single app. If anything, it devalues the notion of what "Office" is, can you imagine if Adobe bundled all of their products into one app? Our simple brains would likely be willing to pay less for Creative Cloud if it was "just one app" than a suite of many separate apps.

  13. gabbrunner

    Maybe this is just to capture users who search for "Microsoft Office" in their respective app store. Just to point them in the right direction and then download the individual apps as they need them, and not to lose them to some other "Office" app in the store?

  14. juan

    Microsoft sure loves rewriting the same thing over and over again.

    Problem is they expect developers for their platforms to be OK doing that also.

    See how that worked out with Windows Mobile....

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