Apple apparently has its eye on producing an office suite that will compete directly with Microsoft Office. According to a report from CRN today, Apple is teaming up with VMware to design a cloud-based iPad app that will allow organizations to “ditch Office entirely.”

According to sources with knowledge of the project, the iPad app combines VMware View virtual-desktop software with cloud-hosted versions of Pages, Keynote and Numbers — known as the iWork suite — running on Apple infrastructure. VMware’s Horizon Application Manager, a management tool that has been likened to an enterprise app store, is also included, sources told CRN.

The infrastructure being designed will be completely different from the consumer-facing iCloud that is built into the latest version of iOS and Mac OS X. The report had no information on when the solution would be released or what it would cost. But its intent seems clear:

“Apple wants Pages to be seen as a replacement for Microsoft Word, Numbers as a replacement for Excel and Keynote as a replacement for PowerPoint,” one source familiar with the project told CRN.

The news comes on the heels of Microsoft bringing Office to iOS devices. News of the Office iPad app first hit in February, but the most recent information is pointing to its release sometime early next year. Would you want to ditch Office for one of Apple’s solutions?

Source: CRN