The day has finally come. During a keynote today in San Francisco, Microsoft unveiled the Office suite for iPad. Rumors have said that Word would be unveiled for Apple’s tablet this month, but that’s not all; Microsoft has also released versions of PowerPoint and Excel.
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Microsoft has full versions of Office for iPhone and iPad ready for release, and now all it has to do is allegedly pull the trigger. It’s up to newly-appointed CEO Satya Nadell to make the call, according to Reuters.
Office for iOS has been rumored for years, but recent reports point towards the company finally releasing the software this year. The questions now are why has Microsoft waited so long, and has the ship already sailed?
We’ve been hearing tell that Microsoft will release a version of Office for iPad “soon” since at least February 2012, but instead of a native version, the only thing Microsoft has released so far is Office 365, a cloud-based version of the Office suite that works on mobile devices.
According to some well-connected insiders, though, the wait is almost over, and Microsoft could launch Microsoft Office for iPad in the next three months.
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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has confirmed that Microsoft Office will come to the iPad just as soon as it’s ready for devices with a touchscreen. Speaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Florida today, Ballmer said, “iPad will be picked up when there’s a touch first user interface.”
That user interface is “in progress” Ballmer added, but it’s likely to come to the Windows version of Office first.
Rumors (and credibleleaks) about Microsoft Office for iPad have been swirling for at least a year, but so far, the best you can do is load up Office 365 in your iPad’s web browser. If you want a tablet that natively runs office, you have to buy a Surface.
There’s a reason for that. Microsoft knows that Office is the biggest reason why someone might buy a Surface over an iPad. But by refusing to release Office for iPad, Microsoft is leaving a lot more money on their table than they are taking from it in Surface orders, at least according to one analyst.
The iPhone and iPad are the perpetual accessories of today’s office warrior, yet even so, the pickings are slim for the professional who wants an app suite capable of reading and writing Microsoft Office documents on the go.
There’s been plenty of debate over whether or not Microsoft will ever bring its Office productivity suite to Android and iOS devices. Many reports have claimed it will, while Microsoft itself has denied the rumors. But now product manager Petr Bobek has confirmed that it will happen next year.