The latest rumor on Microsoft Office for iPad says it may be coming sooner than had been expected – possibly in the first half of this year, rather than late 2014.
Mary Jo Foley, writing for ZDnet, says Office for iPad is far from dead and her sources even believe it will launch before a ‘touch-first’ version for Windows 8:
But I hear Ballmer and the senior leaders of the company may have had a change of heart towards the end of last year. According to one of my contacts, Ballmer OK’d the suggestion by the Office team that they’d bring Office for iPad to market as soon as it was ready, even though that would likely mean before the Windows 8 version.
Her sources also indicate that Office for iPad will require some level of subscription to Office 365 (which currently has home user plans starting at $99).
I’ve tried out the current version of Office on a Dell Venue Windows tablet and it’s pretty awful to use. It runs in the ‘Desktop’ side of the schizophrenic / two user interfaces on one device Windows 8 and it’s about a million miles away from tablet optimized.
I’m tempted to say that Office for iPad would need to be far better than that horrible Windows 8 version for tablets, but the reality is probably that it will sell like hotcakes no matter how good, bad, or mediocre it is. Another reminder of the billions of dollars Microsoft has left on the table by refusing to bring Office to iOS and Android for so long.
So … when Office for iPad hits the App Store will you be snapping it up? Or have you already got apps that do this job for you?