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Microsoft Office Finally Makes its iPad Debut

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On March 27th, Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint became available in the App Store for the iPad. Microsoft asserts that the new applications maintain the functionality and familiarity associated with Microsoft Office, “while offering a fantastic touch experience built from the ground up for iPad.” The new application is available through an annual subscription, with 5 copies of the software for tablets and five copies for Macs/PCs.

While some have speculated that business strategy has postponed the iPad debut, others chalk it up to internal disagreements within Microsoft. Many have questioned and complained about Microsoft’s sluggish response to the iPad craze. The move suggests a practical – if overdue – acceptance of the scope to which Microsoft will need to cooperate with other technology platforms. “What motivates us is the reality of our customers,” said CEO Satya Nadella.

Opinions regarding the use of Microsoft’s new Apps generally appear positive. Harry McCracken, with Time magazine, writes, “The level of polish and performance is high.” Most online reviews find the Suite pretty and functional, but most everyone wonders if the move is too little, too late.

We all love the familiarly of Microsoft Office, but opportunistic developers have benefited from its absence from the iPad. And the choice between the mobility of the iPad and Microsoft Office has been an easy one. “The millions of iPad owners have gotten along just fine without Office and they’ve moved on,” wrote tech blogger James Kendrick in November. The extent to which iPad owners adopt software remains to be seen, but Microsoft definitely bungled Office’s transition to the iPad.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.