Microsoft is currently examining the possibility of developing applications for the iPhone, including versions of its Office apps, according to a new report. Speaking with Fortune, Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Specialized Devices and Applications Group, said, “It’s really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone. To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we’re actually in the process of trying to understand that now.” Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit, which is responsible for the development of Office for Mac, has long been one of the largest groups of Mac developers outside of Apple, giving it experience it can leverage when developing for the iPhone. “We do have experience with that environment, and that gives us confidence to be able to do something,” Gibbons said. “The key question is, what is the value that we need to bring? We’re still getting comfortable with the SDK, right? It’s just come out. So we had a guess as to what feasibility would be like, now we’ll really get our head wrapped around that.”
The article also points out that voice recognition unit TellMe, which was purchased by Microsoft last year, may be interested in building an iPhone application as well, so long as the SDK allows it access to voice recording and location-based information. “If the SDK supports these things,” said general manager Mike McCue, “we’re absolutely going to get a version out there as soon as we can, get TellMe out there on the iPhone.” Thus far, Apple has suggested that location-based information would be accessible to iPhone SDK developers, but has not offered any hope for voice recording functionality.