There have been rumors for quite some time about a version of Microsoft Office specifically created for the iPad. And now The Verge is reporting  that Microsoft Office for iPad could be released this month. Ars Technica and others suggest  the new version could be unveiled at a Microsoft event next week.
This is good news for small business owners, who may like to use an iPad as their portable office, but would also like to be able to open, create and edit Microsoft Office files.
Until now, iPad owners wishing to have Office capability, needed to rely on third-party apps, all with varying degrees of success. The best third-party app of all is one from Google, of all people. It is called QuickOffice  and when it came out, Google offered 10GB of free Google Drive space to anyone who downloaded it.
Of course, you can already use Office on your iPad, through the Office 365 subscription service . And Office is already up and running on the iPhone . So is the iPad version likely to be a Windows 8-like touchscreen affair? The Verge thinks not , saying it will probably emulate the iPhone version, run on Office 365, and include Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Outlook users will be disappointed this app has not been initially included.
Any Office for iPad version will, of course, be competing with Apple’s own word processing apps – Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. These are free with all new iOS devices. Google also offers free Office document creation, uploading, and editing on Drive . Oh, and let’s not forget Office Online itself .
Despite all this competition giving it away free, will Microsoft be able to charge for Office 365 subscriptions? It will depend upon whether having Office on your iPad is worth the added cost .
iPad  Photo via Shutterstock, Logo: Wikipedia