Microsoft Office Coming to Apple iPad: Report

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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