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Did Steve Ballmer just hint at Office for iPad and Android tablets?

by Doug Drinkwater

September 20 2013

The ‘will they, won’t they’ question around Microsoft and Office for iPad looks unlikely to go away anytime soon, despite Steve Ballmer hinting at the app just yesterday.

Speaking at Microsoft’s Financial Analyst conference in Bellevue, Washington on Thursday evening, Ballmer appeared to insinuate that the app is being worked on at Redmond headquarters, even if he didn’t mean Office by name.

"We don’t have our heads in the sand. We are working away on all the things you think we should be working away on,” said Ballmer, in comments reported by various tech blogs.

The outgoing chief exec, who will retire next year, seemed to later confirm the possibility of the app launching in an exchange with analyst Rick Sherlund.

However, while PCWorld interpreted these comments to be a strong indication that the app is being readied, GeekWire dived down into the event transcript and found that Ballmer was vaguer on the issue.

“The most important thing for us to have is communications and notes. They have to be on every platform and we’ve done that,” said Ballmer, presumably talking of Skype, Outlook Web Apps and OneNote.

“We’re always Windows lovers. We love Windows. Windows is first, Windows can be best because we have the capability of doing so. But we’re also eyes wide open and being I think pretty smart in taking a look in developing for other platforms.”

Microsoft launched Office for iPhone and Android phones in June, but both are reliant on the user having a $100/year Office 365 subscription.

There have been continuous rumors over an Office for iPad app, but it could be that the app never comes to market, especially now that Apple and Google have made their respective iWork and Quickoffice apps free-of-charge.

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