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Summary:

Office for iPad is still nowhere to be seen and recent comments from Microsoft’s marketing chief make it sound like that’s not going to change. ZDNet says otherwise and expects Office for iPad in the first half of this year.

BookBook iPad mini typing

Microsoft’s marketing chief Tami Reller gave the impression to some at Goldman Sachs’ technology conference Thursday that Office for non-Windows platforms isn’t go to happen. That’s a direct contradiction of statements by then-CEO, Steve Ballmer, in September of last year. So which is it: Is Office for iPad coming or not?

Office Mobile on iPad

Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley says it is and perhaps sooner even than a Metro or touch-friendly version of Office for Windows 8.1. In a post on Friday, Foley shared information from her sources, saying the code name for the software is “Mirimar” and that it’s expected in the first half of 2014.

There’s no information yet on how the software would be made available, but I agree with Foley: It’s sure to tie in directly to Microsoft OneDrive, which is the new name for SkyDrive. And it could even require a Microsoft Office 365 subscription plan of some sorts, giving Microsoft a recurring revenue stream with plenty of growth opportunity thanks to soaring iPad sales.

Of course, there’s still opportunity for a more touch friendly Office for Windows too. While Microsoft Windows tablets can run the desktop version of Office, the touch targets are generally too small without some system setting modifications; the software is still best when using a trackpad or mouse, not a touchscreen tablet.

  1. Being productive with Office has ALWAYS required a keyboard and mouse. I don’t see that changing.

    Hinting that a touch UI can mimic or even replace that without hindering productivity reminds me of those who suggested that desktops and notebooks would be extinct too.

    I’m certain that if MS is mad enough to open up Office for iOS, it will be with severe limitations, and below the capabilities of what you can do with Office RT, let alone the x86 flavor.

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  2. Why would Microsoft give Apple 30% of the revenue to have MS Office available on iTunes store and as was said before you will never get any real work done without a keyboard. The on screen keyboard takes up over half of the iPad screen as you are typing.

    Plus there is no way any of the Excel Macros or back end office integration with SharePoint would work on iOS nearly as well as it would on a Windows 8.1 tablet.

    But I guess it really doesn’t matter as you could use iPads with Bluetooth keyboards and then Citrix Receiver which does work beautifully.

    How is Microsoft Office 2013 on Windows tablets not already touch friendly? I use MS Office 2010 every day and it still works well with touch and a stylus on Windows 8.1 Pro tablet.

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  3. Windows already has a touch-friendly version. It’s called Office 2013, and I use it every day. It’s free on Windows RT and cheap for Windows Pro.

    Don’t spin this like Apple is getting something Windows doesn’t. Apple will soon be getting the feature-reduced tablet version that will also be an option for people who want a bare-bones touch interface. However people on Windows who want a fully featured touch interface already have it.

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    1. There’s no spin here. Ballmer last year said this:

      “Word, PowerPoint and Excel are all authoring tools,. They are optimized for use with keyboards and mice. The last time I checked, the iPad didn’t have a paradigm for keyboard or mice. iPad will be picked up when we do what I would call not just a touch-enabled, but a touch-first user interface [for Office]. That is in progress…for both Windows 8 and other platforms.”

      It clearly refutes your comment, no?

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