AMITIAE - Thursday 15 May 2014

Microsoft: Office for the iPad not expected in Thailand; Office 365 to be Expanded to Japan Later this year

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By Graham K. Rogers


I am not a user of Microsoft products these days as I find that there are enough alternative applications to suit my needs on my Macs, iPhone and iPad. Nevertheless, I do recognise the significance of the release of Microsoft Office for the iPad which has now reached some 27 million downloads.

That figure was reached with not one copy being downloaded in Thailand, even though the application is available in nearby Cambodia where (like Thai) there is a complex character set. It is also available in three other ASEAN countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

When I initially wrote about the lack of the app suite here, I found that 27 countries in the Asia-Pacific region had Office for the iPad available in their iTunes stores; 4 were without: Japan, Nepal, Pakistan and Thailand. The suite is also not available in Vietnam.


I contacted Microsoft a couple of times but had no satisfactory answer on the three points I had asked about:

  • Why was Microsoft Office for the iPad not made available in Thailand on its release;
  • Will it become available at some time in the near future; and
  • If so, when?

I also contacted a company who are shown as acting for Microsoft: Waggener Edstrom Communications. There was some delay in the correspondence, partly because one of my replies was not delivered apparently, but this week, I have a part-answer to the questions, and the prognosis is not good. A Microsoft spokesman said,

Currently we do not have plans to release Office for iPad in additional languages. However, as we develop plans for future updates, we will consider expanding our market coverage in addition to weighing customer input regarding additional features and enhancements.

An Office 365 subscription is required to experience the full capabilities of Office for iPad and we currently do not offer Office 365 consumer subscriptions in Japan.

We are committed to launching consumer subscriptions of Office 365 in Japan by the end of 2014

The reason for the non-arrival of the Office apps in Japan, then, is clear: use of the app depends on Office 365 and that is currently unavailable, although the Microsoft spokesman suggests this will change by the end of the year.

As for Thailand, where users do have access to Office 365 (for example Office 365 Admin), Pakistan, Nepal or Vietnam, the future is unclear and may need user pressure to force a change.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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