Microsoft is planning a version of its Office business app for the iPad, The Daily has learned.
According to sources, the tech giant is actively working on adapting its popular software suite for Apple’s tablet. With the iPad making up over 80 percent of the tablet market and millions of people worldwide using Office, that could mean big bucks for the tech giant based in Redmond, Wash.
In addition to an iPad-ready version, a new edition of Office is expected for OS X Lion sometime next year. The current version of the desktop package, Office 2011, officially supports iOS versions up to Snow Leopard. A Lion version, likely available via the Mac App Store, is widely expected. Windows, too, is due for an update, with Office 2012 currently in beta form.
It’s assumed that both of these would work with Office 365 as well as mobile versions, such as Windows Phone’s Office Hub. Because it would be compatible with these full suites rather than as stand-alone apps, the pricing will most likely be significantly lower than existing Office products. In fact, it’s likely the cost will be around the $10 price point that Apple has established for its Pages, Numbers and Keynote products.
Microsoft already has numerous popular — and some not so popular — apps available for the iPad. They include Bing, MSN Onit and MSN OnPoint. There are even more available for iPhone, including Microsoft Tag, Windows Live Messenger and Wonderwall.
Office is one Microsoft’s biggest sellers, second only to Windows. In 2011, the software suite should earn more than $15 billion in revenue, according to Business Insider. By branching out to new platforms — like the iPad — that number should only grow.
Besides Office, Microsoft is betting heavily on the next version of its flagship product, Windows 8, which, with its graphically focused Metro interface, has proven controversial. If it flops, the company’s fiscal future could rest on the performance of Office. Spreading Office to new platforms therefore makes a lot of sense for Microsoft.
The full versions of Office for Mac and Windows 8 are expected to launch near the end of 2012, though the iPad version could come well ahead of that date.Source: http://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/11/29/112911-tech-news-ms-ipad/