by Shane O'Neill

Microsoft Stays Mum About Office on the iPad Despite Clear Benefits

Mar 01, 20133 mins
Cloud ComputingiPadiPhone

Will Microsoft make Office available on iPads? There's certainly money to be made and it would help Microsoft fit in to a world gone mobile. But Microsoft remains non-committal in the face of urgings from analysts and pundits.

Rumors of Office for the iPad have been swirling for a while now, yet Microsoft continues to deflect the subject. Earlier this month Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated in an interview with Businessweek that making the Office suite compatible on iPads was unnecessary and that accessing Office Web Apps through a browser on the iPad is good enough.

Office on an iPad
Similarly, this week Office division president Kurt DelBene backed away from the Office on iOS question, instead encouraging iPad and iPhone users to view documents through Microsoft’s Web storage app, SkyDrive.

Meanwhile, technology and financial analysts, pundits and journalists beg to differ, stressing that it’s economically beneficial for Microsoft to allow Office to work on iOS, especially now that Microsoft is depending on a subscription service with Office 365; having an iPad app could provide more motivation for people to sign up.

Here’s round up of recent stories on the subject of Office on the iPad.

Office on the iPad: It’s Not About the Money, It’s About Microsoft’s Soul

ZDNet’s Steve Ranger writes that for Microsoft, deciding whether to put Office on the iPad is about much more than the money. It’s about deciding Microsoft’s place in a new world. (ZDNet)

Microsoft’s DelBene: Want Office on an iPad? Use SkyDrive

Microsoft Office division president shed no new insight this week on when, or even if, the software giant will offer an Office app for iOS, instead encouraging iPad and iPhone users to view documents through Microsoft’s Web storage app. (CNET)

Financial Analyst: Microsoft Losing $2.5B a Year by Delaying Office for iOS

In a case of “not if, but when,” Microsoft may be losing out on about $2.5 billion a year by failing to expand its Office offering to iPhones and iPads, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt. (ZDNet)

One Big Flaw in that $2.5 Billion Estimate for Office on iPad

If Microsoft manages to sell Office to 30 percent of existing iPad users, it would gain $2.5 billion in additional sales per year. However, writes CITEworld’s Nancy Gohring, this ignores Microsoft’s move to a subscription model with Office 365, which for consumers includes downloads to five machines. If Microsoft allows iPad downloads among the five, people who have already bought Office 365 for a PC could get Office on their iPad for no additional charge. (CITEWorld)

Office on the iPad Is Better but Still Not Good Enough

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is fooling himself when saying an iOS version of Office isn’t needed, thanks to the fruitless Office Web Apps, writes Infoworld’s Galen Gruman. (Infoworld)