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Microsoft Launches Office for iPad

Author: DAMON POETER   Date: 2014-03-28


Microsoft on Thursday launched Office for iPad as a free suite of its flagship productivity software for Office 365 subscribers using Apple's tablet.
The software that has been customized for the iPad includes Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, each tailored for the tablet with a full range of tools and tricks familiar to users of Office on Windows PCs and Macs.
Office for iPad is available in Apple's App Store as a freemium product. The new iOS-optimized productivity suite also incorporates Microsoft's OneDrive and OneDrive for Business cloud storage and collaboration services, the company said.
The combination of delivering full Office capabilities on such a prominent mobile platform as the iPad and tying that in with cloud services is part of Microsoft's belief that "it's a mobile-first, cloud-first world," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, pictured above, said at a press event in San Francisco.
"How can two things be first? Do we have a problem with ordinal numbers or something? ... Well, a device that's not connected to the cloud just cannot complete these scenarios where we want to empower people to be productive and do more on any device," he said.
With the new offering, Office 365 subscribers "can simply add an iPad as one of their chosen devices included in their subscription benefits, and can create and edit documents with Word for iPad, PowerPoint for iPad and Excel for iPad," the company said. Though the new iPad-optimized productivity suite has been rebuilt for a touch interface, Office for iPad apps "have a familiar look and feel that are unmistakably Office but are built from the ground up for iPad, factoring in the unique nature of touch and functionality native to iPad along with what people most commonly want to do on a tablet," according to Microsoft.
Microsoft Julia White
Demoing Office for iPad, Microsoft's Julia White, pictured above, showcased several of the features cooked into the new software. That includes the ability to easily work with charts and photos in Word for iPad, a custom numeric keyboard built for Excel for iPad, and a laser pointer and annotation tools for Powerpoint for iPad presentations.
"The iPad has a bit of a reputation for making you look cool, but with Office now it can make you look smart, too," White said.
In conjunction with the Office for iPad launch, Microsoft rolled out an enterprise IT-targeted toolkit for device, identity, and access management called the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). The new device management package includes Windows Intune, Azure Active Directory Premium, and Azure Rights Management Services "to give IT the tools they need to help protect corporate assets and enable people to work on the devices they love," the company said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft also said Thursday that it is updating its Office Mobile applications and services for the iPhone and Android phones.
Office for iPad is now available in 29 languages to Office 365 subscribers with iPads running iOS 7.0 or later. New versions of Windows Intune and Azure Active Directory Premium will be made available next month, while EMS will be distributed via Microsoft's partner channel starting on May 1, the company said.

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