The Daily has published a photo of a purportedly near-final build of Microsoft Office for iPad. Following a brief hands on, Matt Hickey writes:
A brief hands-on with a working prototype of the software revealed a number of new things. The app’s user interface is similar to the current OneNote app, but it has hints of Metro, the new design language that can be seen in Windows Phone and in the as-yet-released Windows 8 desktop operating system.
Word, Excel and PowerPoint files can be created and edited locally and online. But it’s unclear if Microsoft will support other Office apps at launch or at all.
Although Microsoft is arriving late to the game, such a move certainly makes sense. Back in December, I wrote an article for The Loop discussing Microsoft as a platform company. I wrote:
Rather than resting on its laurels, Microsoft appears to be taking an uncharacteristically humble path, and is doing what it can to redeem its image and to gain support.
Office strikes me as a rather dull piece of software but the long-term ramifications of iOS implementation are far-reaching. Rather than relying solely upon Windows, Microsoft is smartly broadening its software reach.
Office is Microsoft's largest source of software income and has a veritable stranglehold on the enterprise market. As more and more businesses invest in iPads, Microsoft assures itself a place in countless offices, regardless of the OS or hardware type.
I don't plan to invest in Office for iPad whenever it arrives, but I certainly know people that would.