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Assuming Microsoft accepts it has no tablet presence and won't for some time, then it needs to get Office to as many tablet users as possible to keep one toe in a booming market. So, why not bring a new Office to the iPad?

Office Everywhere?

Hot on the heels of the recent updates for Office 365 and the likely iOS/Android Lync app, Microsoft is now rumored to be bringing a new version of regular Office to the latest Mac desktop as well as the iPad, but at a radically different price structure.

An update for Lion will bring the Office Suite smack up to date on the Mac platform and is pretty much a certainty. However, the new Office apps for iPad could be sold for around $10 each, giving users the flexibility to choose just the tools they need. That would also make them competitive with Apple's  Keynote, Numbers and Pages pricing.

A New App Strategy

The new apps would likely be able to interoperate with Office 365 and other editions of Office. With millions of iPads on the street and few comparable Windows tablets until at least sumer 2012 and probably later, Microsoft is missing out on a lucrative segment of the market.

Hopefully this single product strategy will make its way back to the desktop where Office is coming under increasing pressure from Web-based services like Google Docs and Zoho. A stripped-down line of discrete products could be welcomed better than the traditional Office bundles.

Microsoft is refusing to comment on the report, which started in The Daily, which cites the usual mystery "sources" and has since circulated widely.