Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announces Office for iPad at public debut

March 27, 2014, 10:21 PM UTC
Satya Nadella. Photo: JP Mangalindan/

In his first public press conference as Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella announced iPad versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, available today.

“Today’s briefing is all about giving you the first step on a journey,” Nadella said during his opening marks. During the event, Nadella outlined a company vision that includes what he called a “critical intersection of mobile and cloud.” This includes a more developer-friendly, platform-agnostic approach that ties together business and personal use. In other words? The new Microsoft (MSFT) will be actively developing for many current and future devices, rather than falling dangerously behind. (That’s a big change from the Microsoft of yore, which essentially sat on Office for iPad for years.)

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Following Nadella, Microsoft General Manager Julia White walked through the products emphasizing their touch-friendly user interface with many of the same features found in the company’s desktop software counterparts, including Word’s “Ribbon.” The company’s freemium model resembles the one previously used by Office for iPhone: It’s free to download, view documents, and give presentations, but an Office 365 subscription is required to edit. Says White: “This is just the beginning.”

Microsoft’s announcement comes 52 days after the India-born Nadella took over the CEO role from longtime CEO Steve Ballmer. Office remains one of the company’s chief revenue drivers, accounting for 90% of revenues for the company’s business division last fiscal year. Added Microsoft Office VP of Marketing John Case: “We get the feedback. Many years ago, Office was a static application. What we’re trying to do is turn it into it into a first-class cloud service.”