There's a rumor that Microsoft is working to publish a version of its Office business suite on Apple's iPad platform. Naturally the company hasn't responded to the report, but the move could be valid given that Apple controls 80-percent of the tablet market.
For Microsoft, iPad support would mean millions of additional people worldwide using Office -- not to mention Microsoft Word -- on a portable non-x86 platform. In 2011, revenue generated from sales of the software suite is expected to reach over $15 billion, but that number has a potential to skyrocket next year if Microsoft releases a version for the Apple's tablet.
But given that Apple's A5 SoC powering the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S is based on ARM's v7 instruction set, there may be more to this story that just an iPad port of Office. We already know that the company is working on developing ARM-based versions of its software to be sold directly from the Windows Store. These will be Metro-styled, but Microsoft may also be tweaking a version to be visually more iOS friendly and sold through Apple's App Store.
Microsoft is also reportedly working on a new edition of Office for OS X Lion, slated to arrive next year via the Mac App Store. The current version of the desktop client, Office 2011, already supports Mac OS versions up to Snow Leopard. Microsoft is also actively working on Office 2012 for the Windows platform which is now in beta.
An Office iPad app wouldn't be the first Microsoft product on Apple's iOS platform. Apps currently available for the iPad include Bing, MSN Onit and MSN OnPoint. Additional apps are also available for the iPhone such as Microsoft Tag, Windows Live Messenger and Wonderwall. That said, publishing the company's Office suite on Apple's platform isn't exactly a far-fetched idea.
Pricing for the Office iPad app is expected to be around $10 -- a price point Apple has established for its own Pages, Numbers and Keynote products. It's also expected to appear in 2012, but there's a good chance it won't hit the market until ARM-based Windows 8 notebooks begin to hit store shelves.