Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

David Zax

A View from David Zax

An iPad MS Office?

It may or may not exist. But it’d be big.

  • February 22, 2012

First The Daily said they had a hands-on with a prototype, and gave us a picture. Then Microsoft (via the Times) said it wasn’t so. Then ZDNet parsed Microsoft’s denial. Then The Daily defended its story. Then Microsoft went mum, but then piped up. Then The Verge called the whole thing World War III.

What is everyone talking about? An alleged version of Microsoft Office for Apple’s iPad (to be priced, per the first report, around ten bucks). The Daily’s Matt Hickey is clearly chummy with someone at Microsoft, as he’s been getting a number of MS-related scoops of late. As he told ZDNet: “Right now, someone with a mid-level job at Microsoft is being yelled at. To that person: I’m sorry, I owe you a beer. But say it however you want to, we both know that Office for iPad is on its way. And if it’s as cool as the version I’ve seen, you’ve got a winner.”

Let’s assume for the moment that an MS Office app is on its way to the iPad, which is what most of the tech reporters following this believe. More important than the timing or the exact nature of the app’s launch screen is this: that an MS Office app will inch the iPad closer to becoming a true productivity device.

I’ve maintained, in a few posts, that the iPad and its ilk are not productivity devices, but rather media consumption devices. The iPad lacks a physical keyboard, and traditional workplace applications like MS Word haven’t been available. And yet in the cafes I frequent, the spectacle of an iPad user with an external physical keyboard is increasingly common. People are increasingly willing to make do with tablets as productivity devices, one of the more startling instances, I’d say, of what Wired has told the “good enough revolution.” With the addition of MS Office to the iPad’s app portfolio, the device’s “good-enoughness” will receive a boost, and I expect to see many more ad hoc iPad workstations sprouting up in Prospect Heights’s Sit and Wonder or Park Slope’s Tea Lounge.

Meanwhile, in the unfolding Third World War, Microsoft seems to have had the last word. It tweeted, “Much respect for The Daily but regrettably someone is giving them bad info, and that’ll be clear in the ‘coming weeks.’”

“The ‘coming weeks’”? It initially seemed like a confession that news would soon emerge, together with an egregious use of scare quotes. But then I recalled the deck of the original Daily story, which promised MS Office for iPad–“in the coming weeks.” If Microsoft wants to win this war with the speculative tech blogosphere, all it has to do is…nothing. 

Keep up with the latest in intelligent machines at EmTech Digital.

The Countdown has begun.
March 25-26, 2019
San Francisco, CA

Register now
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to All Access Digital.
  • All Access Digital {! insider.prices.digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The digital magazine, plus unlimited site access, our online archive, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    Digital magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.