Thursday, December 01, 2011

Report: Microsoft planning $10 Office Suite for iPad?

Microsoft is preparing a version of its Office productivity suite that will run on the iPad, the Daily is reporting. Coincidentally, The Daily is Rupert Murdoch's iPad only news daily (iTunes link) that was launched on the iPad earlier this year.

The report cited the typical unnamed "sources." It went on to say that the iPad Office app could be released prior to the next version Office for Mac, which is expected to ship late next year.

It wouldn't be the first iOS app for the Redmond, Wa. company, which also has its own smartphone platform, Windows Phone. Office for the iPad can only help the iPad in corporate environments, but it's also a market just waiting for Microsoft to enter it, with the iPad currently owning some 80 percent (or more, depending on the source) of the tablet space.

Still, with Microsoft's Windows 8 OS capable of supporting ARM-based processors in addition to Intel-based processors, it's widely expected that a Windows 8 tablet will be coming. One would expect that porting Office to iOS might actually hurt those Windows 8 tablet sales.

The Daily said that Office for the iPad would be around the same $10 price point that Apple has established for its Pages, Numbers and Keynote products. We'd assume, actually, that the information is inaccurate, and probably another 0 to the left of the decimal point would be added.

Still, it's a tablet, and a mobile app, and that sort of pricing isn't normal in that realm. We'll see what Microsoft chooses to do.

This is still rumor, and notably, it's hard not to doubt them based on the following: The Daily said the following, speaking of Office for the Mac: "The current version of the desktop package, Office 2011, officially supports iOS versions up to Snow Leopard." Uh, Snow Leopard is Mac OS, not iOS.

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