But we missed an interesting point: if the story and screenshots are real -- and The Daily, which first reported them, swears they are -- that means Microsoft is bringing its "Metro" interface for Windows 8 to the iPad.
That means when Windows 8 tablets finally do ship, users might already be accustomed to how Office looks, feels, and works -- from the iPad.
The whole mess started yesterday morning when The Daily published a scoop, including photos, of a prototype version of Office running on the iPad.
Microsoft's PR team kicked into full non-denial denial mode, saying that the product wasn't real and strongly hinting that there would be no version of Office on the iPad in "coming weeks."
Then, today, The Daily fired back in the clearest terms possible:
We did not fabricate this story, nor did we fake the images in any way. A Microsoft employee, not a contractor, demoed a prototype of the app for us. We were repeatedly told that it wasn’t the final build and we did not report it as such, which is probably why Microsoft has said that it isn’t their software.
The Daily also says that another source close to the matter has said repeatedly that Office for the iPad is coming soon.
One more nugget: the little red tile on the launch screen might connect to SkyDrive, Microsoft's online storage service.
So what's going on? Why is Microsoft being so wiggly on this?
Apple is known for making partners sign extremely tight non-disclosure agreements. (We have heard from several companies that they do business with Apple but can't talk about it.) That would certainly be one reason why Microsoft was so determined not to spill the beans.
Or, as we wrote yesterday, maybe Microsoft hasn't decided what to do yet and doesn't want anybody jumping to conclusions. That seems more likely.
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