Ballmer said that the Office touch first user interface is currently "in progress." There was no date given for a resulting application, either on Windows or iOS -- or, for that matter, Windows Phone or Android.
Although Microsoft previously released a version of office for the iPhone, that version was not optimized for the iPad. In addition, Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers requires -- as its name implies -- an Office 365 subscription.
Recently, Microsoft's COO, Kevin Turner, conveyed similar views at the recent company meeting. Sources said that Turner expressed the "need [for Microsoft] to own the productivity experience across all devices."
In addition, Qi Lu, Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Applications and Services Group said that Microsoft is "working on touch-first versions for our core apps in the Office suite," and that the company will "bring these apps to Windows devices, and also to other devices in ways that meet out customers' needs."
Rumors of a fully functional iPad version of Microsoft Office have been around for years. One of the most convincing was the report of the now-defunct iPad newsmagazine, The Daily, which last year predicted a November release.