At the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando, Florida, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer announced that the company will be releasing Office for iPad after it releases the "touch first interface" of the productivity suite on the Windows platform.
Ballmer said the work on the touch first interface of Microsoft Office for Windows is still in progress. Despite releasing the touch-friendly Windows 8 and RT operating systems nearly a year ago, Microsoft has bizarrely not released a touch-dedicated version of Office, relying on the keyboard even for its Windows RT tablets.
The glaring lack of pure-touch interface for a variety of its services is something that will have to be remedied soon by Microsoft. The Redmond giant has been inching towards that goal, but to be fair, no other comparable (at least in scope and complexity) offerings from other developers already exist in the market.
A touch first version of Microsoft Office for Windows 8.1 was showcased at the Build developer conference earlier this year, featuring a Metro UI-like interface. However, no release date was given.
It is not clear if Microsoft Office for iPad will require an Office 365 subscription, which the iPhone edition currently requires. Currently, iPad users who want Office are directed to use Office Web Apps in a browser by Microsoft.
Ballmer will soon be departing as CEO of Microsoft, and in his last shareholder letter, he promised a clear strategy that will take software giant forward as a company that enables 'high-value activities' across its devices and services ecosystem.