There’s some fairly good news if you’ve been holding out hope to see Microsoft Office hit the iPad. According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, who is consistently a reliable source of inside news from the company, the program is alive and well and should arrive sometime in the first half of 2014.

Interestingly enough, the iPad edition could even be released before a touch-focused version of the suite lands for Windows:

Microsoft officials have acknowledged, in a somewhat roundabout way, that it exists and is coming. Last we heard, it sounded from ex-CEO Steve Ballmer that it was going to arrive some time after Microsoft’s own touch-first, “Gemini” implementation of Office. Gemini is Microsoft’s Metro-Style/Windows Store versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

But I hear Ballmer and the senior leaders of the company may have had a change of heart towards the end of last year. According to one of my contacts, Ballmer OK’d the suggestion by the Office team that they’d bring Office for iPad to market as soon as it was ready, even though that would likely mean before the Windows 8 version. I’m hearing that new date for Office for iPad is some time in the first half of calendar 2014. (My sources last summer were hearing Office for iPad wouldn’t debut until Fall 2014.)

Unfortunately, Foley hasn’t heard how the app will be available. But it will most likely require some kind of Office 365 subscription to operate.

Last summer, Microsoft finally brought Office to the iPhone with its pictured Office Mobile app. But users need to have an Office 365 Home Premium or Pro Subscription to use the app. And being designed for the smaller screen of the iPhone, the app isn’t all that useful, at least in my opinion.

While I’ve moved on to Apple’s free productivity options – Pages, Keynote, and Numbers – I still know a number of iPad users who can’t wait to use Office on the bigger screen of a tablet.

For other news today, see: Apple And Samsung Cannot Hammer Out A Deal Ahead Of A March Trial, Report: Apple’s ‘iWatch’ To Monitor Blood Oxygen Levels And Heart Rate, and Comcast Might Have Just Screwed Up Apple’s Television Plans, Or Not.