Microsoft Office on the iPad

Matt Hickey reporting for the Daily:

According to sources, the tech giant is actively working on adapting its popular software suite for Apple’s tablet. With the iPad making up over 80 percent of the tablet market and millions of people worldwide using Office, that could mean big bucks for the tech giant based in Redmond, Wash.

The iPad market is becoming so large that not even Microsoft can ignore it. This must really sting given that for 10 years Microsoft has tried to squeeze Windows on a tablet without success.

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.

Today Microsoft sells Office in various bundles ranging in price from $119 for the Office Home and Student edition all they way up to $499 for Office Professional. I can’t imagine a scenario where Ballmer and company are thrilled about selling versions, even scaled down ones, for ten bucks a shot. If reports are correct, that’s about what OEMs pay for each copy of Windows 7.

When I worked as a product manager for Office, I once suggested Office for Linux during a brainstorming meeting. My suggestion was met with such derision that it wasn’t allowed on the white board. I can imagine the same thing happening to the person brave enough to first suggest Office for iOS.

But either way, this is a good development for iPad owners like myself who still juggle Office files on occasion.