Steve Ballmer Promises Office for iPad After Touch-Optimized Windows Version

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Office for iPad?Soon-to-retire Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said on Tuesday that an iPad version of his company's market-leading Office suite will be released, but only after a touch-optimized version for Windows is released. The Verge reported that Mr. Ballmer made the comments at a Gartner event in Orlando, Florida.

Microsoft released a version of Office for iPhone in June of this year. Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers is a free app that requires an Office 365 subscription (starting at $79.99 per year), but it's designed for iPhone, and is not available for iPad, not even in iPad's emulation mode.

Microsoft has not said if it will pursue a similar strategy for iPad or if it will release standalone apps. Mr. Ballmer also didn't announce a specific time frame for this theoretical iPad version.

But, this does represent a continuing shift in strategy for Microsoft, which has tried to keep a tablet version of Office in the domain of Windows 8 and its own Surface tablets. The Verge noted that Microsoft COO Kevin Turner has said that Microsoft should seek to, "own the productivity experience across all devices."

Qi Lu, Microsoft's head of applications and services, has said that Microsoft would, "bring these apps to Windows devices, and also to other devices in ways that meet out customers' needs."

Personally, I've long said that if Microsoft wants to make money in tablets it should release a great version of Office for the iPad. Trying to pursue its own tablets—and keeping Office limited to those tablets—has not been successful.

It would appear the company is ready to accept that reality.

Comments

Lee Dronick

You are running out of time.

TaliesinSoft

For the great majority of tasks that one undertakes in Microsoft Office the same things can be easily accomplished using the applications in iWork. Several years ago I deep sixed both Microsoft Office and have never missed it! I will admit that I am looking forward to an updating of the iWork applications.

Lee Dronick

Same here, I have been using Pages on my Macs, iPad, and iPhone. It fits my needs, though it may not for others.

Winski

Let’s see, what’s another way to say this, ‘Hey Steve - WE DON’T CARE” !!!

geoduck

Interesting perspective on this.
Where I work the head of IT is a Microsoft Geek. Outlook is “the best mail client ever”, Windows is “The best OS, period. It’s far better than any *NIX or Mac OS”, Clippy was “very helpful” and the Ribbon is “one of the best interface ideas ever”.

There’s a reason I don’t do IT for the company any more.

But yesterday I heard from one of my buddies still working in the tech office that the head of IT announced that the company would be staying on Office 2010, they’re snapping up as many licenses as they can. Cloud integration in later versions and other changes make it too much of a problem and security risk. In addition we will be staying with Windows7. After running tests for a few months the head of IT decided we would just be “skipping Windows 8 completely”.

And that, Mr. Ballmer is why Microsoft is totally screwed. If you have messed up so badly that someone that sleeps in Windows jammies every night is turning his back on you, what hope is left?

geoduck

To finish my thought:
So now Ballmer, you want to go with a touch optimized version of Office? Even though the core of your Office customer base is running Keyboard/Mouse PCs? Even though by “optimizing” for touch screen you are going to be compromising keyboard/mouse access? Really? You’d risk alienating the customers for one of your core products with little evidence that new markets would make up for the lost sales?

What a stupid concept.

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