MICROSOFT has made its Office suite of applications available for use on the iPad, in a move that marks the first major change in strategy under the leadership of new CEO Satya Nadella.
Word, Excel and PowerPoint are all being made available on the iTunes store to download from 6pm GMT on Thursday. The apps are offered free of charge with basic functions, while existing Office 365 subscribers get full functionality from the start, sister title V3 reports.
Nadella said the move would help “empower” works across the world by bringing the full suite of Microsoft’s productivity tools to the form factors and devices they want to use.
“We want to make sure the one billion Office users have access to a high-fidelity Office experience on every device they love to use. Office on iPad marks just one more step in that direction,” he said.
During the launch of the products Microsoft demoed the apps, showing off a raft of functions such as pressing and holding on the screen in Excel to bring up a laser pointer, or being able to highlight key information.
Bringing Office to the iPad had been something that Nadella’s predecessor Steve Ballmer had been unwilling to do, but Nadella said that providing tools for other platforms was not a “trade-off” but a recognition of what customers want.
“This is reality. It’s not a competitive reality that motivates us, it’s the reality of what customers want. We want to make sure we build a great experience that spans the digital life and work of our customers,” he said. “You can count on us doing that with Windows and other platforms.”
Nadella also promised future innovations around Windows to be unveiled at the firm’s upcoming Build Developer Conference in April.
“You will hear us talk more about other things we are doing next week at Build, including about innovation in Windows. [Windows is] a massive agenda for us,” he said. “We will innovate and you will see innovations in the operating system and devices.”
Last year Microsoft unveiled Office Mobile for the iPhone in the first show of awareness that it could not ignore the huge use of Apple’s device instead the corporate world. At the time, however, a dedicated version for iPads was not available.