Satya Nadella will take the stage today as Microsoft’s CEO for the first time at a press conference in San Francisco in about an hour from now. The event which is “focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing,” according to the invite, is likely to see Nadella announcing the availability of Microsoft Office on Apple’s iPad.
The iPad was first launched in 2010 and for four years Microsoft has stayed away from launching one of its most popular product. Office has been the world’s most used word processing, presentation and spreadsheet suite of applications and the Redmond, Washington based software giant tried to use it as a differentiating factor between the iPad and other tablets running on Windows operating system including Microsoft’s own Surface tablet.
However, that strategy has not paid off and the iPad still remains to be the most sold tablet in the world, selling 26 million units in the last quarter of 2014 alone. The absence of Microsoft Office on the iPad has worked in the favor of its rivals, most notably Apple’s own iWork, which it has started bundling for free on new iOS devices. At a time when even Mac users preferred using Microsoft Office over iWork, the lack of Office for iOS meant that many users shifted to iWork to keep files synced between their Macs, iPads and iPhones.
If Nadella announces Microsoft Office for iPad tonight, which he is most likely to do, it would mark a big shift from Steve Ballmer’s era. It would show that Nadella is willing to accept Microsoft’s present shortcomings and is able to make the most out of the opportunities that Microsoft’s rivals provide.
Microsoft’s Office 365 is already available under a monthly or annual subscription plan that can be used on five PCs or Macs and “select mobile devices” and we expect the iPad to come under those select devices. Microsoft currently charges Rs 420 a month or Rs 4,199 a year as subscription fee.