So is Microsoft bringing Office to the iPad or not?At a conference for investors on Wednesday, the Microsoft executive in charge of Office dodged the question, as you’d expect.
But he didn’t slam the iPad and talk up Microsoft’s upcoming tablets instead.
Not at all. In fact, he pointed out all the work Microsoft has already done to support the iPad.
- Microsoft is working with Apple to support Office Web apps. Microsoft already lets users access some Office files with a Web browser (they have to be stored on Microsoft’s SkyDrive or SharePoint products). DelBene said that Microsoft has “been working with Apple on improvement to the Safari browser so that those Web applications work well on an iPad.”
- It adapted its note-taking app for the iPad. “We did a lot of research. Note-taking is the next thing that people actually do on these mobile devices. And so we’ve built OneNote. I encourage all of you guys to try it, if you haven’t, but we have a great experience around OneNote on iOS devices as well.” (OneNote has been available on Windows since 2003.)
- Email and videoconferencing work on the iPad. DelBene also pointed out that Microsoft’s e-mail server, Exchange, and IM/videoconferencing product, Lync, work with the iPad.
DelBene concluded, “These are mobile devices. And those are the scenarios that we actually focus on, and really drive our attention on.”
We think Microsoft would be crazy NOT to make Office for the iPad eventually. But it might wait until after Windows 8 tablets have been on the market for a while, to see if having Office helps sell more of them.
(Here’s a transcript of DelBene’s comments in Word format.)