As Microsoft purportedly prepares a version of Office for iOS, Apple and VMWare ( — which specializes in virtualization and cloud infrastructure — are teaming to build a cloud-hosted office suite for the iPad “that will let organizations ditch Office entirely,” according to “CRN” (, quoting unnamed sources “with knowledge of the project.”

The “CRN” report says:

° The project combines VMware View virtual-desktop software with cloud-hosted versions of Pages, Keynote and Numbers running on an Apple infrastructure.

° VMware’s Horizon Application Manager, a management tool that has been likened to an enterprise app store, is also included.

° Apple and VMware are working together on Horizon Mobile for iOS, part of the Horizon Suite. It would offer a partition between the personal and business apps and data on a device “to solve IT concerns with the bring-your-own-device trend.”

° The infrastructure that Apple is building for iWork is a separate offering from iCloud.

“The iWork suite has been primarily aimed at consumers since Apple launched it in 2005,” says “CRN.” “But with Microsoft reportedly planning to launch an iOS version of Office next March, Apple is recasting iWork for businesses in order to challenge Microsoft’s Office cash cow.”