After years of rumors, Microsoft may finally be blessing iPads with a Microsoft office suite.
The iPad has been cursed to a functionality middle ground for a few years now. It has the same capabilities as an iPhone, but lacks the portability, while it has better portability than a laptop, but lacks the features. While it does accomplish around 90% of the tasks most people need, it continues to be a secondary device, since it is unable to fully replace a laptop.
A Microsoft Office suite goes a long way to helping the iPad challenge normal laptops. While there have been office substitutes for the iPad, none were official Microsoft products and full touch optimization is still lacking in available apps, making them more of a workaround than a solution.
With the proliferation of iPads, Microsoft could stand to profit highly from such a move, but it could also eat into the sale of Microsoft’s own tablet, the Surface. More than likely, they are hoping to avoid any legal issues that could arise from a prolonged delay of a touch optimized office suite for the iPad since Office could be considered an “essential service.”
Microsoft did release a limited Office application for the iPhone last year and that version did require a subscription to Office 365, so it’s reasonable to expect the same Office 365 and/or One Drive subscription for the tablet counterpart.
The application is expected to launch by July—several months ahead of Microsoft’s own touch-optimized Office suite. It’s likely this will have a much bigger impact on iPad sales than it will on Microsoft Surface sales, since the Surface Pro—but not surface RT—is already able to run a full version of Office. This could affect Surface RT sales, but reception for the RT has been lukewarm at best, and Microsoft Office support isn’t likely to change that.
There will still be areas where iPads can’t fully substitute for a regular laptop, but the addition of touch supported Microsoft Office will close the gap from about 90% of necessary functionality to 95% functionality and before long, it might not be possible to tell the difference between a laptop and a tablet.
Source: NDTV Gadgets