Apple and virtualization kingpin VMware are teaming to build an iPad cloud-hosted office suite that will let organizations ditch Office entirely, according to a report in CRN citing sources with knowledge of the project.
The iPad app combines VMware View virtual-desktop software with cloud-hosted versions of Pages, Keynote and Numbers (Apple’s iWork suite) running on Apple infrastructure. VMware's Horizon Application Manager, a management tool that has been likened to an enterprise app store, is also included, according to CRN.
Apple and VMware are also working together on Horizon Mobile for iOS, part of the Horizon Suite VMware showed off at VMworld, which is slated for beta release by the end of the year. Horizon Mobile, which creates a partition between the personal and business apps and data on a device, is designed to solve IT worries about the growing use of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the workplace.
The new infrastructure for iWork is reportedly separate from Apple’s iCloud, consumer-focused online storage service.
The status of Microsoft's Office app for the iPad is unclear though one likely reason it hasn't been released to date is that Microsoft doesn't want to give the iPad any advantages ahead of the release of new generation of Windows 8 tablets just now coming to market. Microsoft characterized a recent report that Office for the iPad would be released by March, 2013 as "not accurate."