infoTECH Feature

April 09, 2014

Microsoft Office Comes to iPad

You love your Apple (News - Alert) products, but you’re also a die-hard fan of Microsoft Office (let’s leave the Windows 8 controversy for another time). Nothing’s better than a mash-up of your favorite technology, and that’s exactly what Satya Nadella had on deck for his inaugural press meeting as the company’s CEO. Microsoft (News - Alert) was surprisingly quiet about the San Francisco event which was held at the end of March, which was all about getting things mobile. Nadella discussed the “mobile first cloud test” in preparation for the massive Build Conference in early April 2014.

Microsoft had been working diligently on the Apple-complementing Office software for months, and released an iOS version for the iPhone (News - Alert) last summer. However, until recently, Office hasn’t been designed for other Apple products, including the all-important iPad (which is where users really need Office). Office for iPad is very similar to the iPhone version, which is very popular among users.

Taking care of business

You’ll need a subscription to Office 365 in order to use the software on tablets, and document creation complete with editing is available in the biggies like Word, PowerPoint and Excel. In other words, if you need to work on the go, having Office on your iPad can make a world of difference. The interface and other features are close to what’s available on the iPhone, making for a relatively easy learning curve.

Of course, Nadella is also heavily focused on cloud technology and keeping up with the Jones’ when it comes to going mobile. It was his first huge press event as the new CEO, and likely laid the foundation for his future strategies. It didn’t take long for Nadella to get vocal about mobile strategies with a focus on cloud technology, and he’s behind the launch of a OneNote Office app Mac version already. Office Online has been another of his successes.

How Office on Apple helps consumers

Nadella is spot-on when he says that the world at large is going mobile, which is why responsive design is so important and marketing campaigns are shifting to a more mobile-responsive focus. Even the email marketing industry is onboard with the responsive trend; GetResponse, an email marketing service provider, has even published a responsive email design guide. Whether you’re a student, business owner, entrepreneur or work for a company of any size, you’re probably doing a lot less sitting at your desk and a lot more moving around. Maybe you’re dipping into telecommuting, traveling more for business or simply moving around the office more for brainstorming sessions with different departments. Regardless, you need a device that’s mobile and can keep up with your hectic schedule.

No device is going to be great unless it has the tried and tested software you love and are familiar with; for the vast majority of people, that’s Office. Apple has been angling for a corner on the mobile device market for years and with great success, but there was an impasse when users couldn’t use their usual software. Nadella’s first steps were to address that, and he may be able to secure a partnership that’s symbiotic for all involved.

What this means for the future

The Apple vs. Android (News - Alert) battles have been waging for years, but with the iPad getting Office, that might give them the leverage they need to move to the top of the ranks. There’s no denying that Apple fans are loyal, but even they need to be able to whip up a blog in Word or keep spreadsheets updated in Excel. That was impossible when their go-to devices didn’t mesh with Office and Nadella is committed to changing that.

Thus far, the reception and feedback surrounding this offering has been immensely positive. It might be enough to lure brand new iPad users to the other side of the Mac vs. PC fence, because the promise of having your favorite software on hand is a must, especially for business-minded users. Nadella seems to be on the right path with all of his moves so far, proving that he might be just what Microsoft needed to bring the company fully into the digital era.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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