Will Microsoft ever release a version of Office for the iPad? That question has been percolating since last year amid rumors the software giant had in fact developed just such a product, but put its release on indefinite hold.
By at least one analyst’s estimate Microsoft could be missing out on as much as $2.5 billion dollars in revenue by not releasing Office for iPad. But the reason is simple, the company wants to give Windows tablets, particularly its own Surface RT and Windows 8 models, every advantage versus giving potential buyers one more reason to favor the iPad.
The issue came up again today at Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference where Office division President Kurt DelBene was one of the speakers.
As CNet reported, Delbene towed the company line, saying the premium tablet experience for Office is on Surface RT and Surface Pro devices running Windows 8.
As for the iPhone and iPad, DelBene said that users can view Office files, such as Excel spreadsheets, on Microsoft's SkyDrive storage service.
“We think we have a pretty good cross-device product today," DelBene said. "In the future, you should expect to see us bet on SkyDrive even more.”
But iPad users also have many other Office-compatible options for the iPad they can turn to including Google's Quickoffice and a recently introduced Accellion Mobile Productivity Suite.
Microsoft recently released an update to the Office 365 version of its business apps suite, that is available on an online subscription basis. DeBene reportedly said he hopes Microsoft’s entire Office business eventually shifts to a subscription model.
He also noted Microsoft is moving quickly to integrate Skype and Yammer, an enterprise social media service, into Office. Microsoft paid billions to acquire both companies.