Microsoft In Denial About Office For iPad

The web swirled this week when it was learned that Microsoft was prepping a version of Office for the iPad.

Say what?

Sure, Office for iPad. Why not? Because Microsoft is light years behind Apple and the iPad’s growth curve is why not.

The Windows maker is scrambling to introduce a new version of Windows, and presumably Office, for PC tablets. Why in God’s little acre would Microsoft create Office for iPad?

Wouldn’t Office be a compelling reason for iPad users to switch to a PC-based tablet running Windows? Of course it would.

Hence, Brian X. Chen’s Microsoft Denies Rumor of Office Software for iPad. Chen quotes a Microsoft spokesperson.

The Daily story is based on inaccurate rumors and speculation. We have no further comment.

Wait a minute. Is that denial? Or, is there a window still open for Office on the iPad?

As Chen notes, why would Microsoft even do that?

…Office, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint, has been around for years but remains one of the company’s top drivers of revenue and growth. It would not appear to be beneficial for Microsoft to release an Office app for iPads before releasing Windows 8, its operating system for tablets that is arriving this year. Windows 8 is crucial to Microsoft’s efforts to challenge Apple in the fast-growing market for tablets…

It’s the math.

By the time Microsoft gets Windows-based PC-tablets to the marketplace later this year with volume shipments next year, Apple is likely to already have 100-million iPad customers. That’s a big market for Office.

Either Microsoft is shrewd as a fox, and ready to launch Office for iPad to keep the sheep in the fold, or they’re crazy confident that a Windows-based tablet will eat the iPad for lunch, and Office on a tablet will be the compelling reason for iPad users to switch.

If Microsoft is smart, they’ll move Office to iPad as quickly as possible. Why? The reality is in the numbers. It will take years for Microsoft to catch up to iPad numbers with a Windows-based tablet platform (if they do at all).

In the meantime, having some Office revenue from Apple’s customers would be a good thing for Redmond.