Quickoffice began in 1997 and was bought and sold several times over the years. Quickoffice developed Microsoft Office and Excel compatible products for Palm OS (which later turned into HP webOS), Symbian, Blackberry, Android, iOS, and just about every other mobile platform released since the original Palm Pilot PDA.
One thing that differentiated Quickoffice from many competitors is that it not only translated Office documents into the mobile platform - it allowed them to be editied. In 2012, Quickoffice was not the only app that allowed users to edit PowerPoint, Excel, and Office files, but it was one of the most graceful solutions.
Google purchased Quickoffice in June of 2012. Quickoffice makes a series of apps that run on Android, iOS, and other mobile platforms. While there's no immediate plan to remove the apps or end Quickoffice services, Google is working to integrate Quickoffice and the Quickoffice team into Google's existing services.
Quickoffice has a strong base of users, and we look forward to supporting them while we work on an even more seamless, intuitive and integrated experience.
What this will probably look like is something similar to Picnik, where the services continued for nearly two years before being phased completely out and folded into Google+.
Why would Google need to buy something that is already very similar to Google offerings? Quickoffice allows mobile users to open, read, and edit Microsoft Office and PDF files. It's already compatible with Google Docs and will sync with services like Dropbox, SugarSync, and Evernote. Since Google already has a very similar tool with Google Docs/ Google Drive, why would they need to buy this product?
For Google, it's also pretty handy to have an app in the Apple App store. Google does not currently have an app for Google Docs in the Apple App Store, and Google has had a history of other apps being disallowed under somewhat suspicious circumstances as Apple has grown increasingly hostile with their competition in the phone space.
In this case, what they're really buying is likely the employees. Quickoffice is full of developers that know how to work with Microsoft formatted documents and translate them to other formats. They also know how to do it on a variety of mobile platforms. If Google ever wants to truly take a bite out of Microsoft, they've got to show that they can do everything Microsoft does and more. Both Microsoft and Google are also competing in the tablet market, although neither company is doing that well against Apple in that space... yet.
As of this writing, Quickoffice is available on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, and Ice Cream Sandwich, Android Honeycomb tablets, Symbian S^3, and Symbian S60. Quickoffice also offers enterprise solutions, although customers may be steered towards fully Google solutions in the future.
Quickoffice is also a bit unique for Google in that you can buy the Quickoffice app on the Amazon App Market. By opting out of the Google portion of Android, other Google apps are just not available. Quickoffice is currently grandfathered in.