Microsoft is finally getting ready to launch its Office program on the iPad, but it won’t arrive until the company has launched a fully touch-enabled version for its own Windows 8 platform first, outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer has confirmed.
Speaking at the Gartner Symposium Itxpo event on Tuesday, Ballmer revealed that the “iPad will be picked up when there’s a touch-first user interface” ready, but said that any release would be on Windows 8 machines first.
That’s good news for any entrepreneurial or business-type iPad users out there, but we should note that roadmaps leaked earlier in the year suggest that any development could still be some months off. The reason for this is that any touch-enabled Office suite is likely to be part of the so called “Gemini,” Wave 2.0 release of the software. According to last April’s leak, the first version of Gemini to be release, Wave 1.0, will come later this month as part of the Windows 8.1 update, while Wave 2.0 won’t become available until October 2014. In between those dates, Microsoft will likely put out a Wave 1.5 release as well, which includes an update for Office for Mac, an updated Office for Windows RT and Windows Phone, and support for Perceptive Pixel added.
Ballmer’s confirmation of Office for iPad is a big deal for Microsoft, which could potentially rake in billions of dollars in revenues from the move. Even so, with any release likely to be at least one year off, one has to wonder if the company might of missed the boat at that late stage.
There’s already an assortment of productivity apps already available for the iPad, such as Apple’s iWork suite that comes bundled free with all new iOS 7 devices, together with iMovie and iPhoto. Meanwhile, Google recently introduced its own free Quickoffice iOS app for Apple devices as well, which comes with a very generous 10GB of free Google Drive space for users. With both Google’s and Apple’s office suites being free to download and offerring full compatibility with Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, many fanbois may well question whether its worth paying Microsoft’s license fees just to get Word on their iPads.
For our BYOD collection on Springpad, see below.