According to several sources, Microsoft will be revealing the long-rumored Microsoft Office Suite for iPad by the end of this month. Analysts are saying the company’s brand new CEO Satya Nadella will make the announcement March 27.
The merger of the most beloved productivity suite and the most popular tablet has been discussed for some time, with Nadella’s predecessorhinting at the product in interviews last year.
“We expect new CEO Satya Nadella to introduce this as a directional step in repositioning Microsoft to a mobile first/cloud first company,” according to analyst Rick Sherlund of Nomura Equity Research. “We would expect Microsoft to announce that users of Office 365 (the subscription-based service) can access the touch first versions of Office (iPad, Windows 8.1 devices and Android tablets) as an additional platform service for no additional charge.”
If Microsoft Office for iPad is released next week, it will be Nadella’s first big press event as CEO and a showcase of his apparent strategy to focus Microsoft toward mobile and the cloud.
“This is likely to increase interest in Commercial Office 365 and the Home Premium version and additional cloud-based services,” Sherlund concludes.
Many are fascinated by how Microsoft Office will translate to the world’s favorite tablet.
“Office remains the business standard, especially at larger corporations, and many enterprises will integrate Office for iPad because they"ve already signed up for Office 365,” according to Michael Endler of InformationWeek. “These forces alone guarantee the product a certain amount of success. But whether Office can be a game changer on the iPad depends on whether Microsoft can appeal to people outside its core corporate audience.”
How consumers will interact with Office on a tablet will undoubtedly be different with how they use Office on a desktop with a keyboard and mouse. Most believe the iPad Office will be more editorial as opposed to an arena for creating documents.
"To some extent, I need two applications for each [interface] I use," said Gartner analyst Michael Silver in an interview, "a touch-friendly one and then a desktop one for more detailed work."
While official details are extremely muddled at this point in time, most believe that Microsoft Office for iPad will require a monthly subscription to Office 365.
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