Microsoft officials have stopped bothering to deny that there will be some kind of Office support on the iPad. But the Softies still aren't sharing when this support will arrive or in what form.
Reports that Microsoft was developing Office for iPad began circulating, courtesy of The Daily, earlier this year. Reporters at The Daily claimed a Microsoft representative demonstrated privately to them Word, Excel and PowerPoint running on the iPad. Microsoft officials, at that time, tried to throw cold water on The Daily's claims.
In subsequent appearances, Microsoft officials danced around questions as to when and whether Microsoft would deliver Office for iPad.
The latest non-answer to the "when is Office coming to iPad" question came last week from Bill Koefoed, who is now the Chief Financial Officer of the Skype unit at Microsoft. Speaking at the December 4 NAS DAQ OMX Investor Program, this was Koefoed's reponse to a queestion about how Microsoft is thinking time- and unit-continuum-wise about moving Office to the iPad:
BILL KOEFOED: There are some of the Office services that are available on the iPad. We have OneNote available on the iPad. I know we have Lync available on the iPad. And so as you look, we obviously think that Office is a differentiator on the Surface and you should obviously watch the Office momentum that we have with the Office 2013 release, and they'll have more to say on the products and how it lights up the different devices. (Emphasis mine)
As first noticed by bloggers over at the Mac4ever site, there also are references popping up in Microsoft's support pages to Office Mobile apps for the iPad. Again, there are no specifics as to specific capabilities, pricing or packaging. But based on recent leaks, it could be the case that Office Mobile for iPad and Android, as well, will require an Office 365 subscription.
Among the rumored release dates for Office Mobile for iPad are "early 2013" (The Verge) and May 2013 (various reseller and other sources).
Again, if you think of Microsoft's new desire to be a "devices and services" company, a subscription-based offer of Office on non-Microsoft devices makes sense....