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Microsoft Job Ad Hints At MS Office For iPad

A new job posting at Microsoft is seeking developers who can adapt Office to run on Mac OS X and iOS

Microsoft could be about to port its MS Office productivity suite to run on the hot-selling Apple iPad.

This rumour emerged after a recently spotted job listing on a Microsoft site suggested that Redmond is seeking a few good programmers to design Microsoft Office to run on Apple products.

Office iOS

Rumours have been bouncing around various tech news Websites for months, that Microsoft and Apple are close to an agreement on developing a version of the Office suite to run on the iOS operating system that powers iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches. Speculation resurfaced in May that Office would come to iOS as well as the Google Android OS for various brands of smartphones and tablets.

Asked for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson said by email that Office Mobile is available currently on Apple iOS, Android and, of course, Microsoft Windows Phone 7. She declined to comment further about the recent speculation.

Now a job listing on a Microsoft Website for a software development engineer at its Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, California has added impetus to the speculation that Microsoft wants to get Office running on new platforms. The ad seeks someone to work on a software development team there “on the design, implementation and testing of new feature work to be part of Microsoft’s next move on the Mac and on iOS.”

The ad specifically mentions PowerPoint, the application for creating presentations, one of many applications in the Office suite along with Excel, Exchange, Outlook and Word. The ad seeks someone with “Hands on experience with Mac OS X development technologies” and “Knowledge and experience with Microsoft Office for the Mac.”

Microsoft Dilemma

Office has long been available for Macs, but not iOS devices. Instead, iPad users have third party apps available to them in the App Store to run Office apps on an Apple iOS device, such as DataViz’s Documents to Go or QuickOffice, which was recently acquired by Google.

Also, the new Office 2013, a customer preview version of which was unveiled 16 July, includes a number of cloud-based applications that would be delivered through a Web browser, including Safari. The Microsoft spokesperson said that when Office 2013 is released this fall, it will include an update to Office for Mac 2011. “With this update, Office for Mac licenses can count as part of your Office 365 Home Premium subscription,” she wrote in an email. An Office 365 subscription allows end users on up to five devices use the cloud-delivered software suite.

The idea of Office 2013 on iOS devices presents a conundrum for Microsoft. On the one hand, offering Office on iOS – and Android – devices could expand sales of the popular Microsoft productivity suite. On the other hand, if Office is available on those competing platforms, that’s one less reason for someone to buy a tablet running Windows 8, including Microsoft’s coming Surface tablet.

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