Microsoft’s(s msft) 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(s aapl) coming or not?
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.