In A Huge Shift, Microsoft Might Release Office For IPad Before It’s Out For Windows 8

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Microsoft’s leadership Microsoft

Microsoft is going to release Office for iPad “sooner than you think,” says Microsoft reporter, Mary Jo Foley.

She thinks its out in the first half of this year, and in a bit of a bombshell, she thinks it could be ready for iPad before its ready for Windows 8:

I hear Ballmer and the senior leaders of the company may have had a change of heart towards the end of last year. According to one of my contacts, Ballmer OK’d the suggestion by the Office team that they’d bring Office for iPad to market as soon as it was ready, even though that would likely mean before the Windows 8 version.

People have been pounding Microsoft for ignoring the iPad as its grown.

We’re actually working on a story about Office. In our own reporting, we’ve heard that Ballmer was hesitant to release Office for iOS (the operating system that powers the iPad). We were told that there were “heated” arguments and that the Office group really wanted Office on iOS and Android.

Our source said Ballmer didn’t let it happen because he wanted to protect Windows.

Perhaps by the end of last year, when Ballmer was on his way out, he realised it was OK for Office to go iPad first.

Historically, Microsoft found success on Apple’s platforms. The original version of Excel worked on a Mac before it was ready for Windows. Apple had a graphical interface before Microsoft, so Excel was on Apple computers first. Going iPad before Windows would just repeat the past.

As part of the reporting for our story, we talked to John Case, VP at Microsoft in January. At the time he said, “We have confirmed we are building an iPad version. The touch first versions of Office for Windows, those will likely be first. We haven’t announced a date for iPad version.”

It’s possible Microsoft has changed its mind on timing.

What’s clear, though, is that despite some chatter today to the contrary, Microsoft remains dedicated to bringing Office to iOS this year.

“When we do something for iPad, it will be a first class application,” said Case to us previously. “When we do iPad, we don’t want it to be half way done.”

If you’ve worked on Office through the years, and you’d like to chat, email [email protected]