Much Awaited Office For iPad Arrives, Finally!

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 28, 2014


Office for iPad is something people have wanted since 2010 when the iPad was first launched. But somehow it never took off and with the kind of rivalry the two giants had, many wanted to forget about it, though the thirst for Microsoft’s Office on iPad prevailed. Just then the landmark announcement came, which suggested that the tech world has dramatically changed in the last few years.

As in case of Microsoft’s transformation, courtesy, the newly-appointed CEO Satya Nadella, who said in a live webcast from San Francisco that Microsoft Office will soon go live in Apple App Store, and provide users with a high fidelity Office experience. The Office for iPad, obviously a part of its mobile-first-cloud-first initiative and brings together two of the world’s most popular personal computing products: the ubiquitous Office productivity suite and the ever popular iPad from Apple leading to a tablet revolution.

Microsoft’s announcement comes at a time when consumers are increasingly using productivity apps on their mobile devices, believe analysts.

A mobile revolution

Office for iPad will always be a landmark in the history of technology because, until now, the Office was kept within the confines of Microsoft’s Windows operating system, which will now be available as a free download on Apple’s iPad. At present key Office programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint would be available on the App Store for the iPad.

Microsoft’s popular email application, Outlook, however, were absent from the list of available programs. The apps are free but users will require a subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 service to use them.

According to industry experts, Microsoft had been taking slow, yet deliberate steps in this direction. The company released a version of Office for the iPhone last year, but that product hasn’t caught on, primarily because many Office functions did not fit into the smartphone screen sizes. Recently, it tweaked Office Web Apps, a browser-based version of the suite with limited functionality to work better with Safari on the iPad. However, the Office for iPad has changed all that.

A shift from Ballmer’s era

The announcement marked a move away from Microsoft’s policies under Steve Ballmer to keep software services locked to Windows devices. “Microsoft is now looking to empower people to be productive and do more across all devices,” says the India-born CEO.

However, there are certain skepticism. “Much now depends on how intuitive the new Office features are, and they will come under intense scrutiny by users, technology reviewers and journalists over the next few days”, said Forrester’s Rob Koplowitz says in an interview with Forbes.

“Microsoft Office has strong presence in desktops and laptops worldwide, but very limited presence in tablets. Microsoft has struggled for the past five years to transition Office from the keyboard PC era to the touchscreen-computing era,” Strategy Analytics’ Neil Mawston told Know Your Mobile.

Mawston states that the deal for the Apple iPad, will be a good win for Microsoft and open up a new market for its Office products. Microsoft makes huge margins on Office software, so any iPad deal, big or small, will drive instant extra profits for Microsoft.

Nadella in his webcast also mentions Windows a massive commitment for Microsoft. He said Microsoft would give a bigger picture over the coming days about its innovation agenda.