Office on iPad: Reports of its Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

4/14/14

The day that iPad users and Microsoft Office suite lovers have been waiting for has finally arrived. Now the fate of dozens of third-party applications like Prezi and SlideShark hang in the balance.

In a break with tradition, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the release of Office iPad on March 27. Under former CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft protected its Windows franchise by first launching software on its own operating system, though Ballmer did eventually make the decision to ship Office for the iPad. With this move, Microsoft has moved Windows beyond its own product domain, and expanded further into the tablet market.

Does this mean that Microsoft is no longer prioritizing its own operating system? Not likely, according to Tab Times contributor Don Reisinger. However, Nadella made it clear that he would like to focus on cloud and mobile capabilities for Windows in the future. Until he has time to dive into these objectives, Nadella is approaching iOS with a new outlook.

Before Ballmer stepped down as CEO, he hinted that Microsoft was already considering rolling out Office for Apple products. Word of this rumor broke in the fall of 2013. It’s taken almost six months for the idea to evolve into a reality, and there’s no telling how long Microsoft had been mulling over the concept. Now, the time has finally come to see Office and the iPad in action.

Contrary to much of the news that you hear coming out of Silicon Valley, it’s a bit premature to compose the eulogy for Office. More than 1 billion people around the world use Microsoft Office, most on a daily basis. As of 2011, approximately 100 million licenses 2010 have been sold, and Office generates nearly a third of Microsoft’s product revenue.

The fact of the matter is that today’s generation of enterprise leaders grew up with Office—it’s in their DNA. People crunch their numbers and tell their stories with Microsoft Office, and professionals at large corporations are going to be using Excel, Word, and PowerPoint until the day they retire. I understand them because enterprise leaders are my customers too.

Many people believe that Microsoft is late to … Next Page »

Doug Winter is co-founder and CEO of Seismic, a leader in enterprise mobile content management. Doug previously co-founded Objectiva Software Solutions, which was acquired by EMC Document Sciences in 2004. He holds a MSEE and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSEE from Virginia Tech. Follow @

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  • D. Bullock

    I agree with much of what was said, except the part about 3rd party apps. I recommend you check out the office suite provided on the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. It doesn’t require a subscription to take advantage of the full suite like office for ipad, yet you get an identical user experience, possibly better. I believe the suite is called HanCom. The version of Excel it comes with actually has calculation options that are not provided on office for PC’s. If it is ever released in the general marketplace, Google playstore or app store, it will completely take away any reason to pay for an office 365 subscription. Check it out!