A post from BGR (formerly the Boy Genius Report) has reinforced the rumor of an upcoming release of an iOS version of Microsoft Office. The site references a “reliable source”, so I don’t accept the rumored release as concrete. That being said, Microsoft would be turning their back on a very large (and growing) demographic of iPad and iPhone users that have either been assigned an iOS device by their employer or those that joined the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) crowd and are using their devices in a professional setting.
While some argue that Microsoft would be better served keeping Office to just Windows devices (especially the pending tablets running Windows 8), I’d wager the money to be had from iOS users will outweigh any benefit exclusivity might provide. Exclusivity has already been ignored thanks to the OSX version of Office, and considering that iOS is founded on OSX it would seem that transitioning it for Apple’s touchscreen devices would be a fairly straightforward affair. I’ve restricted all my productivity tasks to iWork apps (specifically Numbers and Pages) and have been very satisfied with the experience so far, but many businesses are heavily vested in Office, and Microsoft’s file types have become industry norms.