One of the biggest drawbacks to owning an Apple iPad is a lack of being able to find a great word processor on iOS. There are some out there but these are not great, they are middling or poor. This is why we were so excited in November of last year when Microsoft said that they would release an iOS version of their popular Microsoft Office Suite.
CEO talks about possibility of Microsoft Office For iPad app
However this excitement turned to disappointment as it looks as though this is far away from happening. The CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, said that he was happy with the status at the moment, Office for PCs and Macs, but not on iOS devices like the Apple iPhone and iPad.
He said “I have nothing to say on that topic. We’re very glad with the product, very happy with the product that we’re putting in market”, before saying “It makes sense on the devices like the Mac and the PC. We have a product that we think makes a lot of sense. We do have a way for people always to get to Office through the browser, which is very important.”
Of course this is not a straight denial of an Office for iPad app but it does endorse a status quo. Bear in mind that with Office 365, which is subscription based, you could access Office in the Safari web browser on the Apple iPad. However this may not give the same experience as you would get if the device had a dedicated app. But this seems like as far as Microsoft wants to go at this point so don’t expect it to suddenly appear in the App Store.
Over the short term the strategy may make sense for Microsoft. Office is one of the bargaining chips for those choosing tablets. If you go for the Microsoft Surface tablet you would get the Office app and enjoy products like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. While with the Apple iPad you do not.
ZDNET said that Microsoft were unfamiliar with the app market of Apple as well. They added:
Microsoft is comfortable with pushing out with a new version of Office every few years, having it replace the older version. But this is not how apps work, and buyers — consumers and enterprise alike — like the new model of buying an app once and then receiving a continuous trickle of free updates over time. Embracing apps would mean embracing a new way of doing business. This is why we don’t have the Office suite on our iPads.