The Microsoft Office for iPad Saga: Allegations, Denial, and Somehow, Confirmation

Today was quite insane if you were following the crazy sequence of events pertaining to a certain alleged screenshot of Office for iPad that surfaced earlier this week. The outcome? Well, we’re still lacking substantial confirmation or evidence of anything. But, Microsoft might have at least acknowledged the intent to develop a version of Office for the iPad. Let me provide a rundown of today’s events, starting from the beginning:


Earlier this morning, The Daily — the blog that sparked the rumors of an impending Office for iPad release — claims to have gotten a brief hands-on with the app. They posted two images of the supposed app (in the tradition of the infamous Mr. Blurrycam) on their blog: One depicting what appears to be a “start screen”, where you can create or open documents, and another showing the “Office” app icon. They claim that the user interface of the app is similar to OneNote, though it has some Metro aspects to it. They also stated that the app supported the creation and editing of Word, Excel and PowerPoint files locally and online, but it was unknown if other Office apps will be supported at launch.

Curious, ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley pinged Microsoft PR inquiring about this leak. The response that she received was interesting and unusual. To quote MJ:

A Microsoft spokesperson said the screen shot accompanying The Daily’s story is not a picture of a real Microsoft software product. But the spokesperson also said Microsoft is declining to comment as to whether or not the company has developed a version of Office for the iPad and/or when such a product may come to market.

When you request comment from a Microsoft spokesperson on something that’s a far-fetched leaked, rumor, or piece of speculation like this, it’s highly unlikely that they will provide a comment beyond “we do not comment on rumors and speculation.” That wasn’t the case today, however. They actually essentially claimed that the screenshots are “not of a real Microsoft software product.” What do they mean by this? Are they saying that they are screenshots of a prototype that have no bearing on a future Microsoft product release, or are they suggesting that the photos in their entirety are fake? Whatever the case, Peter Ha, an editor from The Daily, responded to Microsoft’s comment on the matter in a string of tweets:

What’s interesting is that the comment sent to Mary-Jo wasn’t the last that Microsoft had to say on this. They fired off this tweet from the @MSFTnews account:

Great respect for The Daily but regrettably someone is giving them bad info, and that’ll be clear in the “coming weeks.”

In the coming weeks? This is either a sarcastic retort at The Daily’s post claiming that we can wait on their report and in the end see nothing — in the original post on The Daily, they said: “An exact launch date is unknown, but the design team has since wrapped up the project, meaning it could be released in the coming weeks” — or it is an indication of something to come. We’ll see.