As expected, Microsoft has launched Office for iPad that has been built keeping touch interface in mind. This marks a new beginning for Microsoft under its new CEO Satya Nadella. The interesting bit is Microsoft launched the touch UI optimized Office first for the iPad ahead of Windows tablets, which it would hopefully announce at next week’s BUILD conference.
Steve Jobs famously introduced the first iPad in 2010 when he called it the first post-PC era device, which irked Steve Ballmer to no limits. Ballmer countered the iPad with hybrid PCs and tablets running Windows 8, a new operating system that was built for devices with touchscreens. Unfortunately, Windows 8 has not been successful and PC shipments have continued their fall.
The good thing for Microsoft, however, is Nadella understands that and is willing to place bets that would probably not have happened under Ballmer’s reign. “Our goal continues to be to delight users wherever they are and on whatever device they are using by giving them the full power of native Office apps,” says Nadella.
Office for iPad is the first step. It is free to download from the App Store and users can see and present Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. However, having an Office 365 subscription would enable them to even edit existing files and even create new ones.
On the iPad, users will get the same look and feel, complete with the ribbon on top, as they get on the PC. Microsoft says it brings all the functionality that one gets on the PC. Users will also be able to share the files, collaborate on them with others with real time editing, commenting, tracking changes and much more. Of course, it will also be connected to OneDrive, which means files can be accessed from anywhere. Microsoft says a version for Android will also be launched soon on the Play store.
Users can get a 30-day free trial but will then have to subscribe to Office 365 to get it. Currently in India, Office 365 is available for Rs 4,199 for an annual subscription or Rs 420 per month, which can be used on five Macs or PCs and mobile devices. We believe Microsoft lost a chance here by not offering a one-time payment for a native Office for iPad app.
You can download Office for iPad from here.