According to this piece from iMore we may see MS Office for iPad as soon (ha!) as March 27. Yes, of 2014.
March 27, 2012 might’ve done the trick. But at this point between iWork apps and other apps like quickoffice, goodreader, and readdle, the rumor that Office will require an ongoing subscription (!), and it’s decreasing ubiquity, I think the iPad productivity ship has sailed.
If there’s a free trial I’ll check it out. But it’ll take a home run to win me over.
UPDATE: Reviews are starting to come in and they confirm suspicions. MS Office for iPad is a fine set of office apps, limited to subscription only (the cheapest plan is $70/year) and tied solely to Microsoft’s cloud storage services.
Thus, unless you’re in an enterprise already tied to Microsoft cloud storage, there is little to recommend it over the free iWork suite or one of the many other free/cheap solutions, most of which are far more flexible with regard to the cloud services with which they work.
For me, this is a PASS.
That said, I predict that sooner or later they’ll sell the apps outright for $10/each or thereabouts, perhaps with a slighty limited feature set or reduced cloud storage capacity.