I saw an article today on Engadget about the possibility of Microsoft creating Office for the Apple iPad. We are talking about Microsoft Office here. Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Probably the biggest selling software suite ever on Windows and Mac OS X. What would this mean for prospective iPad users? How would this affect sales of the iPad?

Most people don’t know this, but Microsoft Word and Excel were released on the Apple Macintosh before MS Windows. Microsoft has been supporting the Mac for years and continues this support it with an end of year release of Office 2011 for the Mac. If Microsoft carries over this Office support to the iPad, this could mean even greater sales for Microsoft and a possible push of the iPad into the business and educational market.

Will we see Microsoft Office on the iPad?

Now I’m not about to say that the iPad could replace your business laptop, but if an Office Lite version was made available for the iPad, I could see some business users carrying around an iPad instead of their laptop. Think of the convenience of having the ability to easily view and edit documents on the fly, from just about anywhere, with just a few swipes of your fingers.

I’m not one to carry a laptop or netbook around everywhere, but I could see myself packing up the iPad for trips. With it’s instant-on operating system and quick loading applications, a user could get an email with sales figures in spreadsheet, pop it open in Excel Lite, make the needed changes, and have it sent back before most laptops boot up. Hit the power button, put the iPad back to sleep, and slip it back into your briefcase.

Think about the students who could use a lite version of MS Office. At home, they can dock the iPad and edit their documents using a Bluetooth keyboard. Take the iPad to school and they can review their notes, make quick updates to documents, or email copies of a presentation to a friend.

I can’t see Microsoft pricing this like a full-blown Office Suite, but I could see them competing with Apple’s own iWork applications. Even at twice the cost of Apple’ suite, Office for iPad would still be a great deal. They may even break up the suite and sell Word, Excel, and Powerpoint separately.

We don’t know what Apple has in store for the iPad. With OS 4.0 being announced next month, they may introduce more appealing features into the iPad. It’s the software that will make or break the new device. With Microsoft’s help, we may see more uses for the iPad then we could have known. It is now just running an updated version of the iPhone OS. The updated OS 4.0 will be made to take advantage of the new iPhone and iPad features. A lite version of MS Office may be just what the iPad needs to push it into more markets. Only time will tell.

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