Around We Go With Office for iPad

I keep threatening to stop writing about this story but some part of me can’t resist. Last week Microsoft’s chief of marketing explained how there were a lot of reasons to keep Office off the iPad. Then days later, Mary Jo Foley reported we could see Office on the iPad by July.

How many times must this carousel go around? Clearly there are warring factions at Microsoft. Putting Office on the iPad means a lot of money (or more likely Office 365 subscriptions) but Office ubiquity also makes their own platform (like the Surface) less special.

For years now, we’ve all been wondering if Microsoft will put Office on the iPad. While there is a version of Office for the iPhone, it still is missing on iPad. If Office does find its way to the iPad, I don’t expect it to have all the bells and whistles that Office has on Windows or the Mac (or even the Surface). In fact, I’d expect it to be feature limited. That is the compromise that would let the anti-iPad wing Microsoft finally capitulate. “Make it for the iPad, but don’t make it as good.” This isn’t without precedent. That appears to be the tack they used with Office Mobile for iPhone. I suspect that if/when Office does make it to the iPad, it won’t be that impressive and we’ll all wonder why we spent so much time on this merry-go-round to begin with.