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March 27, 2014

Satya Nadella announces Microsoft Office for iPad

San Francisco unveiling boosts Microsoft's 'mobile first, cloud first' strategy.

By Ben Sullivan

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will today unveil Microsoft Office for iPad at a special event held in San Francisco. The app will feature the entire Office suite, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

Last year, Microsoft appeased iPhone users with an Office app, but iPad users were left behind. Pricing details are expected to follow the trend of having an Office 365 account, and paying a monthly or annual fee.

Office 365 costs £79.99 a year for the Home Premium version and has amassed 3.5 million customers in just over a year. The iPad version of Office will help boost these subscription numbers even further for Microsoft. However, the app will be free if users just want to simply view documents, but editing will require the 365 subscription.

Today’s event will be Satya Nadella’s first public press event, and will kick off his push for the ‘mobile first, cloud first’ strategy. Microsoft’s slower innovation when it comes to its software on mobile has forced it behind the leaders, with productivity apps like Evernote, Google Apps and Box all taking charge. Some argue that if Microsoft had released Office for iPad back in 2010, it would not be in the position it is now.

Read: Three things you need to know about Nadella’s mobile and cloud strategy


Ex-CEO Ballmer indicated that there would be Office for iPad last October, with Microsoft COO Kevin Turner saying Microsoft needs "to own the productivity experience across all devices."

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"It’s not about one single device anymore," said Nadella in a webcast following his appointment to CEO. This backs up Nadella people-centric IT approach where anyone can use whatever device they want, even if those devices are running on iOS or Android.

The shift to iPad will also benefit Apple, showing its user base that iPads are acceptable devices for enterprise and business. Last week, Microsoft released a version of OneNote for Mac, and made the note taking app available for free to everyone. This moves sets Microsoft up for competition with apps like Evernote, which has long been free.

"OneNote is now free everywhere including the Windows PC desktop and Mac version because we want everyone to be able to use it," the company said in a post on the Office blog.

Microsoft also recently announced a new version of Office for Macs. With the latest Office for Mac version being released in 2011, it has fallen behind the Windows version, not offering the option to edit PDFs or letting users have full SkyDrive integration.

Read: Don’t believe the hype, why 200m Windows 8 sales is bad news for Microsoft

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