Microsoft Office Coming to Apple iPad: Report

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2012-02-21 Print this article Print

Microsoft will ask Apple to approve Office for iPad, according to a new report in The Daily. A version for Android is apparently not in development.

Microsoft will ask Apple to approve a version of Office for the iPad, according to a Feb. 21 report in The Daily.

The online publication claimed a €œbrief hands-on€ with a working prototype of the software. €œThe app€™s user interface is similar to the current OneNote app,€ it suggested, €œbut it has hints of Metro, the new design language that can be seen in Windows Phone and in the as-yet-released Windows 8 desktop operating system.€ An exact release date is €œunknown,€ although Microsoft has apparently finished the actual work.

The app enables the creation and editing of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. According to unnamed sources speaking to The Daily, a version of Office for Android €œis not in the works.€

A Microsoft spokesperson later told The New York Times that The Daily's report was "inaccurate" and that it had no further comment. 

Office on tablets is clearly Microsoft€™s next big area of focus. Earlier in February, the company revealed that a new version of Office software will run on Windows on ARM (WOA), the architecture that powers many of today€™s tablets. €œWithin the Windows desktop, WOA includes desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, code-named €˜Office 15,€™€ Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft€™s Windows and Windows Live division, wrote in a Feb. 9 posting on the corporate Building Windows 8 blog. €œWOA will be a no-compromise product for people who want to have the full benefits of familiar Office productivity software and compatibility.€

WOA will debut with the upcoming Windows 8, expected sometime in the latter half of 2012. If Microsoft had chosen to restrict a tablet-friendly version of Office to Windows 8, that might have created an additional selling point for the platform, especially for business users. On the other hand, if The Daily€™s report proves accurate, and a full-fledged version of Office for the iPad is indeed heading for release, then Microsoft will open up a potentially massive revenue stream. (These sorts of decisions are why they pay CEOs immense amounts of money.)   

Office or not, Windows 8 and Apple€™s iPad are set to battle one another for tablet market share. The question is whether Windows, having been the dominant operating system on traditional PCs for so long, can make a name for itself in a segment dominated for years by iOS. 

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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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