We’re getting it, we’re not getting it.

The rumours flew around the Internet all day yesterday, that Microsoft would, within weeks, be launching a suite of office tools for iPad.

Then the denial; sort of. Microsoft have apparently stated that the images are “not of a Microsoft product”. But stopped short of denying that such a product is being developed.

Obviously they should be developing Microsoft tools for iPads, given the rise and rise of iPad sales, and their use in large companies.

Large companies are the natural habitat of Microsoft, each with thousands of staff using outlook, word, PowerPoint and often SharePoint for intranet sites and collaboration environments. Increasingly iPads are invading this habitat – often starting in the niche areas of upper management and IT geeks.

I saw statistics for mobile access to our website today; for the first time iPad is in the lead at just under 40% – not bad for a device that wasn’t on the market two years ago. Windows phones have yet to reach 1%. Our website targets investors and analysts, a group who are increasingly addicted to iPads.

As people use iPads more and more for their work they’re going to want the office suite, I can get my work email on my iPad, and view powerpoint presentations in meetings (bonus – I’m printing less paper). It’s becoming the tool I travel with, but for the iPad to become a real work tool I need the office suite. This new way of working is a reality Microsoft acknowledge, and their 365 product is a strategic step in this direction. I really hope they’re not planning to use their old business model of locking people in – assuming we’ll buy devices with the windows operating system in order to use their software. They have to know that companies are moving towards “bring your own device” policies for IT.

So whatever the rumours, I’m hoping Microsoft are close to launching the Office tools for iPad.

Image cry

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