Office for iPad: The Plot Thickens

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Is Microsoft finishing up work on a version of Office for the iPad? On Tuesday, The Daily’s Matt Hickey reported that it was, and got a lot of folks–me included–excited.

Now Microsoft is disuputing Hickey’s account of things. That doesn’t mean that it says it isn’t working on Office for the iPad–it’s declining comment on that question–but it says that the photo of an iPad running Office which accompanied Hickey’s story doesn’t show a real software product.

But The Daily’s tech editor, Peter Ha–formerly of TIME–says that someone at Microsoft demoed iPad Office to The Daily, and that the screen is legit:

And Microsoft’s official corporate communications account is pushing back:

And so is Ha:

Mary-Jo Foley of ZDNet has a good recap of the back-and-forth to date. Both Hickey’s piece and Microsoft’s comments on it are squishy, leaving plentiful wiggle room. Sounds like the truth may sit somewhere between the most optimistic interpretation of Hickey’s piece (Office for iPad will be here shortly) and the most pessimistic take on Microsoft’s denials (Office for iPad might not exist at all).

I continue to think it would be a good idea for both iPad owners and Microsoft, but I’m done speculating about it until there’s more evidence that it’s on its way. Or isn’t.

(MORE: Office for the iPad: Microsoft, Seize This Opportunity!)