In appearances in September and October, Steve Ballmer said Microsoft would build native Office editions for iPads and Android tablets, but the company’s marketing chief spoke with much less certainty when asked about this on Thursday.

At the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference, Marketing Executive Vice President Tami Reller was asked about Microsoft’s willingness to “repurpose” Office for other platforms, even if this means hurting Windows’ appeal.

Microsoft must make sure its most important brands are differentiated in the market, and Windows is no exception, Reller said .

“With Windows, we’re obviously spending a lot of time thinking about how do we continue to differentiate the full Windows experience,” she said.

A big asset for Windows continues to be Office, she said, adding that Office is also a major franchise in its own right.

Without directly answering the specific question posed by the moderator, Reller said those types of decisions will be made on a business-by-business and product-by-product basis.

The answer is a far cry from the unequivocal comments former CEO Ballmer made several months ago, when he went so far as to say that the Office version for iPads and Android tablets would come after Microsoft delivered a touch-first version for Windows 8.