After former Microsoft Business Unit head Stephen Elop (now CEO of Nokia) strongly hinted at it (above on the iPhone) and told T3 they were considering it, a report from The Daily claims sources have confirmed Microsoft has an iPad version of its Office app in the works alongside a new Lion compatible version of the desktop suite. Up until now the iWork suite of apps– Keynote, Numbers, and Pages– have arguably been the go to productivity apps on iOS and the counterpart to Microsoft Office’s dominance on OS X and Windows PCs. If implemented well, we could theoretically see Office for iOS eating into some of Apple’s and the iWork suite’s user base. Microsoft is expected to introduce the app(s) at a similar price point as well. The Daily reports:
It’s assumed that both of these would work with Office 365 as well as mobile versions, such as Windows Phone’s Office Hub. Because it would be compatible with these full suites rather than as stand-alone apps, the pricing will most likely be significantly lower than existing Office products. In fact, it’s likely the cost will be around the $10 price point that Apple has established for its Pages, Numbers and Keynote products.
There has, however, been some conflicting reports regarding whether or not Microsoft is actively developing the app. In April 2010,Elop said they would take the “wait and see” approach when it comes to supporting iPad telling Bloomberg, ”We never say never, but we have no current plans”.
An iPad edition of Office would likely be built by a unit within Microsoft’s consumer business that creates versions of Office that work with Apple’s Macintosh personal computers. Kristen Woody, a spokesman for that unit, says it “doesn’t have anything to share at this time.”
Microsoft has an important decision to make: Do they “bless” the iPad with the critical business software that businesses need but at the same time risk hurting their Windows PC business by making them replacable?
We’ll keep you updated when we learn more.