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Microsoft Office May Reach The iPad Before Windows Tablets

Feb 18 2014, 8:46am CST | by , in News | Technology News

Microsoft Office May Reach The iPad Before Windows Tablets
 
 

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Microsoft Office May Reach The iPad Before Windows Tablets

The news from Microsoft on Monday is that it is readying a touch version of its Office software for — gasp! — Apple's iPad before it’s ready for Windows 8-based tablets.

The idea, according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, is to launch the new product mid-year as a downloadable subscription app.

The speculation appears to counter a comment last week by Tami Reller at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference. Microsoft, she said, was taking a “thoughtful approach” to cross-platform models of Office that could be used on the iPad and Android tablets as well as Windows-based Surface tablets.

Thoughtful may be an understatement, assuming Foley’s story is accurate, and she does have good sources deep within the software giant. The acceleration of Office for iPads(code-named Miramar) appears to be a slight change in direction by Steve Ballmer before he ceded the CEO reins at the company to Satya Nadella. Before, Ballmer had suggested Office would be available for Windows tablets first. (That version is known as Gemini.)

There has long been talk about making Office available on tablets. It is available on a subscription basis for desktops and notebooks for business and home users. There are also versions of Office available for the iPhone and Android devices as well as Windows-based smartphones.

And Microsoft has marketed a version of Office for Macintosh computers for years. Indeed, ensuring the available of Office for Macs was an important piece of the late Steve Jobs’ strategy to turn Apple around in the late 1990s. (The Windows and Mac versions behave so similarly that each platform can read both versions.)

Given that history alone makes an iPad version of Office inevitable. Increasingly, tablet users want their devices to act like notebooks. In fact, it can be argued that tablets already are the new notebooks.

Does making a version of Office for the iPad threaten the Windows-Office relationship? Probably not. If anything, it may make Office even more staggeringly profitable than it already is.

Plus, Windows 8/8.1 is slowly gaining users. Reller told the Goldman Sachs conference more than 200 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold. In May, Microsoft said more than 100 million licenses had been sold.

The Windows 8.1 upgrade has been well-received, although the operating bedevils some users because it is essentially two operating systems in one. . But Win 8 or 8.1 are used on just 11% of all Windows-based machines. Windows 7 remains the dominant version. With Windows XP still enjoying popularity even as Microsoft readies an end to its support for the operating system

More versions of the controversial operating system are due this year.

The chatter about Office and the iPad does not appear to be having an effect on Microsoft shares. They closed Friday at $37.62, up 0.6% on the year. Not bad when you consider the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index are down so far in 2014. Microsoft shares had jumped 40% in 2013.

Source: Forbes

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
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