Why Microsoft has held out for so long on releasing its Office suite for the iPad is anyone’s guess but Reuters reports that the company is coming under even greater pressure to bring it to market because many businesses who use tablets are finding other ways to get productivity software. Reuters cites the example of “Artivest Holdings Inc, a New York-based financial services startup that sells alternative investment products” and that uses tablet-tailored app Quip to meet its word processing needs.
Reuters‘ sources say that Microsoft has an iPad version of Office ready to go but that it’s held off on releasing it because it’s worried about hurting sales of its own Windows tablets if it makes Office available on Apple and Android tablets. However, Microsoft really might not have much of a choice if tablet users are both avoiding Windows tablets and are finding ways to be productive that don’t involve Office. ValueAct, an activist hedge fund that has taken a significant stake in Microsoft, has also been banging the table to get Microsoft to release Office for the iPad for the last year.
ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reported last month that we should expect to see Office for iPad released in the first half of the year, as outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer apparently had a change of heart and decided it was better to release the tablet-centric Office to the iPad even before releasing it to Windows tablets. However, Reuters‘ sources say new CEO Satya Nadella “wants to widen Office’s customer base but has to balance that with the flagship Windows franchise, which benefits greatly from tight integration with Office, especially on desktop computers.”