Microsoft does Reddit: Five cool things we learned about Office for iPad

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Don’t look now, but the Office for iPad team ventured onto Reddit for one of the service's Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions. Here are the five most intriguing things they said.

The Office for iPad team and Office for Mac team are one and the same

Not a big surprise, but the folks who built the Office for iPad apps are the same ones who are working on Office for Mac. And it’s a pretty Mac-centric group, too; According to the team, “everyone has an iPad, and the Mac:PC ratio is 16:1.” Don’t expect them to reveal when the next version of Office might make its way to the Mac, however; when asked, the group would only say “we are working on the next version.”

Office for iPad was built from the ground up, and shares code with OS X

One of the nicest things about the new Office apps is that they feel fluid and comfortable on the iPad, and the back-end code is part of the reason for that: According to one of the Word developers, the team “started with the Mac Office code base, and ported it from [the older OS X Carbon infrastructure] to Cocoa/UIKit.” In fact, building the iPad versions of the Office apps is actually helping the team rebuild Office for Mac: When it arrives, the OS X suite should be fully built in the modern Cocoa infrastructure—resulting in faster and more responsive versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Ballmer approved Office for iPad

While the Office for iPad team didn’t comment directly about the app suite’s rumored shelving/delays over the years, the team’s technical product manager did let slip that it was Ballmer who approved Office for iPad’s release, not new CEO Satya Nadella.

Hate all you want on Clippy, but Max was pretty cool

clippy max windows office

Max = so much cooler than Clippy.

There were plenty of comments in the AMA both praising and insulting Office’s old mascot/3D-assistant Clippy, but one of the Office for iPad team’s Word developers pointed out an important detail in that debate: Clippy wasn’t actually called Clippy on the Mac—he was Max. “Max was an icon of a Mac SE, and, when he got bored, he’d turn himself into a Rubik’s Cube. In typical Mac fashion, Clippy was lame. Max was cool.”

Macworld has a hidden presence in the Microsoft’s Silicon Valley offices

Microsoft eddys Microsoft iPad for Office team

When asked about “cool vintage Apple products” hidden in the Office for iPad team’s offices, Derek Johnson pointed out that there are quite a few Macworld Eddys and MacUser awards hanging out in Silicon Valley above a bar made entirely of Office for Mac boxes. Also, a G4 cubequarium (which is sadly not Macworld-related, but pretty cool all the same).

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