Ballmer dashes Office for iPad hopes (for now)

Office online on iPad

Following up on yesterday’s release of cloud-based Office 365 for Macs and Windows PCs, Microsoft’s energetic CEO Steve Ballmer sat down with Ashlee Vance of Bloomberg Businessweek to talk biz, competition and discuss what’s next for the productivity suite. Office 365, basically a subscription-based offering, shouldn’t be confused with the just released Office 2013 suite.

Despite several credible leaks proving that Microsoft is working on Office for iPad, Ballmer isn’t afraid of an Office-less iPad. Little wonder, considering the Windows maker is keeping a tablet version of Office exclusive to Windows 8 tablets as a crucial advantage over other tablets…

When asked to comment how Office for iPad is coming along, Ballmer responded:

I have nothing to say on that topic. We’re very glad with the product, very happy with the product that we’re putting in market. It makes sense on the devices like the Mac and the PC.

We have a product that we think makes a lot of sense. We do have a way for people always to get to Office through the browser, which is very important. And we’ll see what we see in the future.

He also isn’t impressed by Dropbox and its 100 million users:

Well, you’ve got to remember, 100 million sounds like a pretty small number to me, actually. We’ve got a lot more Office users. And actually if you even want to go to the cloud, we have a lot of Hotmail and SkyDrive users.

“I’m not beating on Dropbox”, he added. “They’re a fine little startup and that’s great”.

Be that as it may, don’t take Ballmer’s ‘no comment’ comment for granted.

Quickoffice for iPad (teaser 001)

We know from before that Redmond has an iPad version of the Office suite in development: a spokesperson for the company told The Verge in November 2012 that mobile Office for iOS and Android should be expected in early 2013, adding the app will support Windows Phone, iOS and Android devices.

Unfortunately, checks indicate that it won’t be a full-blown Office offering. Instead, mobile Office apps will be a companion offering providing only limited editing functionality so Microsoft could sell you the full-blown desktop Office suite.

The question is, with a solid Google Apps support on the iPad, Google’s Drive app and mobile Office alternatives like Google-owned QuickOffice, do mainstream users actually need the official mobile Office apps at all?


I ditched Office five years ago and have been using Google Apps for all my productivity needs ever since.

Never looked back.