Microsoft’s Ballmer Torpedoes Prospects for MS Office on iPad

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During the launch of Microsoft's Office 365, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer was asked about MS Office for iPad, a project that has long been partially leaked and rumored. His reply was that he had nothing to say on that subject, then went on to explain.

The question was, according to BloombergBusinessweek News, "How's that Office for iPad coming along?" Mr. Ballmer's response was:

I have nothing to say on that topic. We’re very glad with the product, very happy with the product that we’re putting in market. It makes sense on the devices like the Mac and the PC. We have a product that we think makes a lot of sense. We do have a way for people always to get to Office through the browser, which is very important. And we’ll see what we see in the future."

All at once, that comment both closes the door for the time being and leaves the door open for a future change if the situation warrants.

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It could well be that a version of MS Office for iPad exists and has been tested. But now that Microsoft has its own tablet (well sort of), Ballmer may be thinking that MS Office only on Surface gives Microsoft a competitive advantage. And if not, then follow the money on iPad.  But it may already be too late because iPad customers have gotten along great for nearly three years without MS Office. And then there's that pesky 30 percent MS would have to pay to be in the Apple App Store.

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Lee Dronick

Well for my needs Pages and Numbers are just fine, for my Macs, and iOS devices. Other people’s needs may be different.


I’m with you there. I haven’t missed Office at all. I only wish Pages for iOS had track changes…


Lots of people had to learn new word processing software when IT folks took away Word Perfect and forced them to use/learn MS Word. It may be time to dump MS Word for something that does run on iPad. I suspect many have already done so.

other side

If Office for iPad doesn’t offer 100%, byte-for-byte compatibility with PC Office documents, then nobody needs it.  For once Ballmer made a good decision.

But if Office for iPad does offer full compatibility… it’s being missed.


Um, Pages for iOS does have track changes.

Paul Goodwin

“If Office for iPad doesn’t offer 100%, byte-for-byte compatibility with PC Office documents, then nobody needs it.”

The iPad has already made a big impact in many businesses, including huge corporations, even without MS Office. You don’t need 100% compatibility for it to be extremely useful. If MS were to introduce Office on the iPad, as long as it had a familiar user interface to what the PC and Mac versions of Office have, a lot of people would probably buy it rather than learn Pages and Numbers, and businesses might buy it if the price was right.

Ballmer maybe made the right decision, we’ll have to wait and see. Computer sales are in decline, so to sell more copies of Office, MS needs their Office to work on their Surface. But I’d the Surface doesn’t sell we’ll, there’s a chance they would have made more money selling Office to iPad users.


One shouldn’t need a universal translator to comprehend Ballmer, but this response is practically inscrutable, and therefore can be assigned any meaning you fancy.

My translator relayed Ballmer’s as, ‘We’re looking for yet new ways to not make money, and thereby further diminish our relevance in the post-PC era (which we deny even exists) by lashing our cash cow to a dwindling platform that is being cannibalised by the very platform that we refuse to support in order to support our own toaster-fridge, which shows no signs of life.’

Now, my translator interpreted the statement, ‘And we’ll see what we see in the future’, as ‘And we hope we’re around to see you in the future’.

Perhaps I need to do a level 1 diagnostic on my universal translator.

John Martellaro

wab95:  Awesome translation!

Paul Goodwin

Hahahahahaha wab


If you are using Microsoft word, excel and want to use this softwear on a ipad, then either use it through Microsoft sky drive or on cloudon. Cloudon is a super way to use Microsoft word and excel, the formatting I’d identical.

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