Office for iPad release date set for 27 March

18 Mar 2014
iPad mini

New Microsoft CEO to use his first press conference to unveil Office on iPad

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella looks set to unveil an iPad version of the company's Office software suite on 27 March.

The new CEO will use his first big press appearance to launch the company's most profitable product on Apple's tablet.

Nadella, who replaced long-time CEO Steve Ballmer earlier this year, will address the media and industry executives in San Francisco.

Microsoft has had an iPad versions of Office primed for several months now, sources told Reuters, but the company has dallied on its release due to internal divisions, among other things.

Microsoft already has a version of Office for iPhone, which is only available to Office 365 subscribers. Microsoft sources have told The Verge that the iPad version will offer a similar feature set and also require an Office 365 subscription for editing.

Investors have long urged Microsoft to adapt Office for mobile devices from Apple and Google, rather than shackling it to Windows, as PC sales decline. But the software giant has been reluctant to undermine its other lucrative franchise.

Microsoft gives up some $2.5 billion a year in revenue by keeping Office off the iPad, which has now sold almost 200 million units, analysts estimate.

Microsoft said in an invitation to reporters that Nadella will discuss "news related to the intersection of cloud and mobile" but declined to comment on the specifics of the CEO's appearance.

Although Nadella is expected to discuss his thinking in depth next week, the company has already signalled that it will adopt a more liberal attitude toward putting its software on different platforms. On Monday, Microsoft made its OneNote software available on Mac, and last week the company suggested it would launch a new version of Office for Mac before the end of the year.

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