Office for the iPad: It's all about the enterprise

Summary:The rumor that Microsoft is soon to roll out Office for the iPad is being met with the question of why the company would negate the advantage Windows has with Office. The answer may be the iPad's entry into the enterprise.

ipad-in-tie
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Microsoft Office for the iPad has been featured in rumors for a while. We've heard it's coming, then that it's not, and recently that it is indeed coming, and soon. I tend to believe it is, especially given the report from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley . Her information is usually spot on, and I'll bet it is accurate.

Some have wondered why Microsoft would release Office for the iPad, since it's a selling point for Windows tablets. Why negate its advantage over the iPad by releasing Office? I believe the answer is simple: it's all about the enterprise.

See related:  Where are Microsoft's next versions of Office for Windows and Mac? Microsoft officially rebrands Office Web Apps as 'Office Online'  |  Microsoft Office on iPad: It's alive and coming sooner than most think

There's no denying that big companies have been making iPads available to employees wanting to participate in the tablet craze. Companies have conducted test programs to see how well the iPad will work for workers, and by and large they have worked just fine.

A contact at ExxonMobile, who must remain anonymous, said the company did that a while back. The test worked well and the company has been making iPads available to those who want to use them for work. According to this insider, the company has deployed quite a few.

Must See Gallery

10 technologies that made me more productive in 2014

Hardware. Software. Services. We live in amazing times, and the technologies we use every day would have been considered magical just a few short years ago. Here are 10 small pieces of magic that made my life easier this year.

I'll bet ExxonMobile is not the only large enterprise that's deployed lots of iPads. If so, like ExxonMobile they won't be used exclusively. My contact says ExxonMobile is trying to get employees to choose Surface tablets over the iPad. Employees tend to like the iPad option, and that's not likely to change.

With the threat of the iPad invading the enterprise, it makes perfect sense for Microsoft to get Office on them. Office is a favorite solution for the workplace, and if Office for the iPad was available I'll bet companies would make sure it's on most of the tablets.

Microsoft grew to the huge company it is today due to Bill Gates' vision long ago to get Microsoft's software on every desk. That extends to the iPad today. If the iPad is coming into the enterprise, why not have Microsoft software on every one?

No question that some consumers will buy Office for the iPad, but getting the enterprise to pick it up is more important. Having Office on the iPad in the workplace is what Microsoft needs, lest corporations discover they can get by without Office. That would be catastrophic for the folks in Redmond.

Topics: Mobility, iPad, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.