Government // Mobile & Wireless
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12/11/2012
06:55 PM
Larry Seltzer
Larry Seltzer
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Office for iPad: Don't Expect Much

The evidence is pouring in that there will soon be a Microsoft Office of sorts on the iPad. Just remember, that Microsoft will never give Apple their cut through the app store, so look for Office for iPad to be a free gateway to some for-pay service.

My former colleague, Microsoft-stalker Mary Jo Foley, is forever finding out, as Don Corleone might have put it, what Microsoft's got under their fingernails. Her latest report isn't really a scoop, but it's interesting and cries out for clarification.

In Microsoft no longer bothering to deny Office on iPad she notes that the long-rumored support for Office on the iPad looks more real and imminent every day.

It's hard to argue with this. She cites, for example, references on Microsoft support sites to Office for iPad. The rumors of this product go back almost a year.

The main thing to keep in mind about this product, should it actually be released, is that it will not do much all on its own. Microsoft has always charged good money for Office and gotten away with it, and there's no way that they will charge any money for Office for iPad, because Apple would get 30% of the cut.

I'm therefore inclined to believe other reports she cites that say that in order to use Office for iPad, you'll need an Office 365 subscription. This makes sense from Microsoft's perspective.

By the way, Microsoft hasn't been averse to iPad support in the past. Months ago we reported on how Office Web Apps work well on iPad. These are not the same as a consumer-accessible version of Office, and are more of a development tool.

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