Microsoft Office For iPad Makes Long-Awaited Debut

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Microsoft Office for iPad is available to Office 365 subscribers immediately

Microsoft has finally taken the wraps off the long-awaited version of Microsoft Office for iPad, in Satya Nadella’s first major public appearance since he took up the mantle of the CEO last month.

Versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint optimised for Apple’s tablet will be available immediately to Office 365 subscribers, while there will also be a free version of each application, allowing anyone to view documents on their iPad.

Julia White, who is responsible for product management for Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Office 365, demoed the applications at an event in San Francisco, explaining that each app had been designed to ensure that seasoned Office users would be immediately comfortable using them, but also so that they were optimised for a touch interface.

Microsoft Office for iPad

satya nadella microsoft 3Files are stored in the company’s OneDrive cloud storage service and can be accessed on a number of devices with the promise they will look the same no matter what kind of screen they are viewed on.

“Microsoft is absolutely committed to creating mobile applications,” she said, confirming that touch optimised version of the office suite would be available for other popular platforms, such as Windows 8.

Until now, Office 365 subscribers had only been able to use the suite through a web app in the iPad’s browser, with a dedicated applications long being rumoured. Other Microsoft apps, such as Outlook, OneNote and OneDrive have been released for the tablet, while apps for the iPhone are also available.

The decision to launch dedicated apps is a shift in strategy from Microsoft, which has often touted full versions of Microsoft Office as a unique selling point for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets.

However it is estimated that the continued absence from the iPad is costing Microsoft around $2.5 billion a year and recent developments have suggested the company is keen to get its software on as many platforms as possible – despite some internal opposition from those who fear this will weaken the Windows platform.

Last week, Microsoft revealed details of Office 365 Personal, which will be launched in the Spring, and will be the least expensive version of the cloud-based office suite for consumers.

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