Microsoft Office for iPad confirmed by Ballmer, coming after touch version for Windows

Microsoft's long-awaited Office for iPad app has finally been confirmed by Steve Ballmer while speaking at a Gartner event on Tuesday. The outgoing CEO hasn't provided a release date for the iPad app, so don't expect it anytime soon, but it's reassuring to hear it's in the works.

Ballmer said the "iPad will be picked up when there's a touch first user interface". He's referring to a touch interface for the Windows version of Office that has been teased by Microsoft and is expected to launch at some point alongside Windows 8.1.

Users have been waiting for an iPad version of Microsoft Office since the release of the iPad in 2010. It's no secret Microsoft has dominated the space, even with Apple trying to compete with its iWorks suite full of Pages, Keynote and Numbers.

Microsoft dipped its toes into the iOS waters with the release of a version of Office for the iPhone that offers basic document editing with a subscription to Office 365. iPad support was left out by Microsoft, wanting users to access Office 365 online instead.

Details on a version of Office for iPad are scarce, but if we had to guess, users will be forced to have an Office 365 subscription. They probably won't be able to buy the app outright like Apple does with Pages. Of course, Microsoft could always surprise us.

In April, Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet claimed Microsoft is waiting until late-2014 to release a sweeping Microsoft Office suite for iOS and Android in 2014. It will come as part of the as part of the "Gemini" updates Microsoft has planned for the Office platform.

Gemini is said to be bringing updated versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, expanding on its features to make users more productive in their daily work. ZDNet says the first wave of updates could be full Metro-Style/Windows Store versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. So far, Microsoft has released only OneNote and Lync as Metro-styled Office apps.

Now we wait for the touch version of Office for Windows.