Microsoft announces Office for iPad
Mobile • After long wait, users will finally get popular office suite for Apple’s tablet.
Published: March 27, 2014 07:59PM
Updated: March 27, 2014 10:32PM
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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gestures on stage while speaking during a press briefing on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing Thursday, March 27, 2014, in San Francisco. Microsoft unveiled Office for the iPad, a software suite that includes programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and works on rival Apple Inc.'s hugely popular tablet computer. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Satya Nadella spent his first official media presentation as Microsoft’s new CEO Thursday introducing Office 365 for iPad, long one of the most requested apps for Apple’s computer tablet.

Microsoft’s popular office suite, which includes the Microsoft Word word processor, Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation software, went on sale at noon today on Apple’s iTunes App Store. The application is free to download and view documents and presentations, but it requires a Microsoft Office 365 monthly subscription ($9.99 per month or $99.99 per year) in order to edit or create documents. There was mention of being able to buy a copy outright.

The goal of the new application, Nadella said, is to “make sure the 1 billion Office users — and growing — can have access to the high fidelity of Office on every device they use.” Microsoft Office is currently the most popular office suite available for desktop computers. It also is available for Microsoft’s own computer tablet, the Surface, which has had underwhelming sales.

The new Office 365 will have the same features as its desktop counterpart, including the ability to create graphics and insert photos in documents. Users also can make the same choices in text including bold, italics and underlining, and multiple people can edit the document, which is stored in Microsoft’s cloud storage service called OneDrive. Authors of documents or spreadsheets can continue working on the same document on a desktop computer without encountering formatting problems.

“We keep that file fidelity so everything looks exactly as you want it,” said Microsoft’s Julia White, who was demonstrating the app during the media presentation in San Francisco.

iPad users have been patiently waiting for a mobile version of the Office suite to come to the computer tablet since the iPad was first introduced in 2010. Since then, the most popular word processors and spreadsheets available for the tablet have been Apple’s own Pages word processor, Keynote presentation software and Numbers spreadsheet and Google’s cloud-based office software.

Nadella, who has been with Microsoft for 22 years and was president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, became the company’s CEO earlier this month after Steve Ballmer stepped down. One of Nadella’s first moves as the company’s leader was bringing back founder Bill Gates in a consulting role building new products.

vince@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ohmytech