Microsoft Office on iPad: More hints emerge

A growing number of references to (and nondenials of) the existence of Microsoft's Office Mobile for iPad have surfaced in the past few days.


Microsoft officials have stopped bothering to deny that there will be some kind of Office support on the iPad. But the Softies still aren't sharing when this support will arrive or in what form.

Reports that Microsoft was developing Office for iPad began circulating, courtesy of The Daily, earlier this year. Reporters at The Daily claimed a Microsoft representative demonstrated privately to them Word, Excel, and PowerPoint running on the iPad. Microsoft officials, at that time, tried to throw cold water on The Daily's claims.

In subsequent appearances, Microsoft officials danced around questions as to when and whether Microsoft would deliver Office for iPad.

The latest nonanswer to the "when is Office coming to iPad" question came last week from Bill Koefoed, who is now the chief financial officer of the Skype unit at Microsoft. Speaking at the December 4 Nasdaq OMX Investor Program, this was Koefoed's reponse to a question about how Microsoft is thinking, time- and unit-continuum-wise, about moving Office to the iPad:

BILL KOEFOED: There are some of the Office services that are available on the iPad. We have OneNote available on the iPad. I know we have Lync available on the iPad. And so as you look, we obviously think that Office is a differentiator on the Surface and you should obviously watch the Office momentum that we have with the Office 2013 release, and they'll have more to say on the products and how it lights up the different devices. (Emphasis mine)

As first noticed by bloggers over at the Mac4ever site, there also are references popping up in Microsoft's support pages to Office Mobile apps for the iPad. Again, there are no specifics as to capabilities, pricing or packaging. But based on recent leaks, it could be the case that Office Mobile for iPad and Android, as well, will require an Office 365 subscription.

Among the rumored release dates for Office Mobile for iPad are "early 2013" (The Verge) and May 2013 (various reseller and other sources).

Again, if you think of Microsoft's new desire to be a "devices and services" company, a subscription-based offer of Office on non-Microsoft devices makes sense....

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "Microsoft no longer bothering to deny Office on iPad."

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About the author

    Mary Jo Foley has been a tech journalist for almost 30 years. She is editor of ZDNet's "All About Microsoft" blog. She authored "Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era" and co-hosts the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT Network.



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