Now, Microsoft has consistently denied reports of releasing Microsoft Office for non-Windows 8 tablets, but rumors about this have been swirling for months. If this does end up happening, this would most likely be under pressure from Microsoft's Office division that has been looking at entering the high-growth tablet market for a while now. Steve Ballmer & Steven Sinofsky have always wanted to put all their eggs in the Windows 8 basket, but they've probably been pressured into a diversification strategy by Kurt DelBene, president of the Office division.
Let's take a look at the immediate benefits this move would bring:
1. Disassociation of Microsoft Office from Windows 8
This move insulates the revenues of Microsoft's Office Division, from the Windows 8's prospects. If Windows 8 fails to make a dent in the tablet market market, which seems likely at this point, and with Office not available on other tablets, Microsoft would have missed out on a huge revenue opportunity. By launching Microsoft Office on other tablets, Microsoft could ensure revenues from the growth in the tablet market, irrespective of Windows 8's performance.
2. Combat Competitive Cloud-based Services
Onlive Desktop & CloudOn have already released cloud-based MS Office solutions for the iPad and Android tablets. Onlive has a free and premium offering, while CloudOn is a purely free offering, and both services deliver MS Office to tablets, while cutting Microsoft out of any current or future revenues. Microsoft had attempted a legal offensive against these services, but CloudOn was found to comply with licenses and Onlive changed their code to make sure they complied as well.
This is a huge risk for the the Office division. While CloudOn and Onlive are still in their early stages of development & usability, it is best to enter the market to put an end to competition in the tablet market, before they gain some traction.
Conclusion - Microsoft would be smart to follow through with this move. Even if they believe Windows 8 will be a rousing success, it is best to hedge your bets.