Microsoft has today announced that it is looking to bring its Office suite of apps to the iPad with a touch-friendly user interface, The Verge is reporting. Speaking at a Gartner event in Florida, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that a touch-optimized UI will first make its way to the Windows version of Office. “iPad will be picked up when there’s a touch first user interface”, he added.
Microsoft has previously released an Office version for iPhone (US only) without support for the iPad, noting at the time that tablet users could make use of Office Web Apps in the browser instead. Ballmer noted that development of a “touch first” interface for Office is currently in progress. Sources have also told The Verge that Microsoft’s chief operating officer has expressed the “need to own the productivity experience across all devices.”
Microsoft’s head of applications and services, Qi Lu, also commented on touch versions of Office at an analyst meeting recently. Lu said the company is “working on touch-first versions for our core apps in the Office suite,” and that Microsoft will “bring these apps to Windows devices, and also to other devices in ways that meet out customers’ needs.”
It is not yet known whether Microsoft’s Office for iPad app will require an Office 365 subscription like the iPhone version, or when the company plans to introduce it.