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Another hint at Office for iPad? Microsoft says decision will be 'thoughtful'

by David Needle

February 14 2014

It's hardly the first and unlikely the last time a Microsoft executive will be asked when the software giant plans to offer a version of Office for the iPad. 

Most recently, as Computerworld reported, it was Tami Reller, Microsoft's chief of marketing, who was asked what plans the company has to bring Office to mobile platforms other than Windows.

"As we step back and say, these core applications, these core brands that are so important to enterprise customers and consumers, how do we make sure that we're thoughtful about what we're doing on the Windows platform, as well as cognizant of the fact that there's other devices in their lives (emphasis in original)," Reller said  when she was asked about the status of the decision to put the productivity suite on other operating systems.

"So you'll see us be thoughtful about how and when we bring what applications to what platforms," Reller added at the Goldman Sachs-sponsored technology conference on Thursday.

In other words, still no timeline or confirmation it will happen at all, though clearly bringing Office to iPad is under consideration. The issue came up in 2012 when it appeared Microsoft had a test version of Office on the iPad in the works, but abruptly cancelled plans to release it. 

A year ago, a Morgan Stanley analyst speculated that Microsoft was leaving as much as $2.5 billion on the table by not releasing an Office for iPad suite. 

For its part, Microsoft's reluctance has a lot to do with protecting its lucrative Windows franchise and giving Surface and other Windows tablets a point of differentiation as the only tablets that can run Office.

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