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Microsoft announces Office for iPad, available later today in the App Store

At a private press event in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has just announced an Office suite for the Apple iPad. The event also marks the first major appearance for Nadella as CEO of Microsoft. Nadella took over the reins at the world’s largest software company in early February. As Nadella has a strong background in enterprise and cloud, it should come as no surprise that the first major item he’s pushed through has been Office for iPad.

Office has been rumored for the iPad since 2011. In recent weeks, those rumors picked up even more credibility from industry watchers. Now it’s finally here.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint will be available in Apple’s App Store at 11 am PT. The applications are designed to be touch-first and offer a great Office experience. You can edit documents and maintain file fidelity across devices. Documents can also be shared and worked on together. Excel will even have a custom numeric keyboard.

Word iPad

Word on the iPad

The apps will have a freemium business model. The apps will be available for free, but feature limited abilities. You’ll only be able to read and present with the free version. To edit you’ll need to be an Office 365 subscriber.

We’ll have more as the event progress. Maybe we’ll see a sneak peek Office for the modern touch environment in Windows 8. 

Update: Sadly, no preview of Office on Windows 8 as modern apps. But the Office blog did publish a blog post with more information on the iPad news. You can view a video above. Here's the rest of the the news. 

Microsoft say's Office documents looker better than ever on the iPad. Here's what you can look forward to doing with Office on your iPad (don't worry, we won't tell anyone):

"They look just as they do on your PC or Mac. In Word, images, tables, SmartArt, footnotes, equations are all there, perfectly formatted. Formulas, charts, sparklines, conditional formatting, and filters in Excel help you make better decisions. PowerPoint presentations pack a punch with transitions, animations, speaker notes and much more. When presenting, you can even use a built-in laser pointer, pens and highlighters to get your point across."

Head to the Office blog (opens in new tab) to learn more about Office for iPad. 

  • Pfft
  • They'll surely need a subscription to work with it.....evil laughter
  • To edit yes they do
  • Just as we do with 365. Your point?
  • All I can say is Surface RT and smile.
  • office RT is very touch unfriendly and have you tried using word on surface RT? slow.
  • But they are working on Office Metro which I'm sure will be free on surface for teh full version.
  • Yeah, "working on it". Office for Metro should have been released in 2012 with Windows 8, until there is no Office available (that's touch friendly) I say there is no Office for a modern Surface user. To tell you the truth it took me awhile to find out that the stuff they're forcing on people in RT is not ready for a tablet, I simply assumed that since they're releasing a device then they took care of the software first (boy, was I surprised).
  • I use a touch cover for Office on RT. Works well for me. Can't wait for Gemini!
  • agreed. office RT is basically a touch aware version of office. not a touch friendly version of office.
  • Not my experience, personally. Sure it's not as easy as a dedicated touch experience, but it's pretty good and has so many more features. have you enabled the 'touch' spacing to make it more touch friendly?
  • yes off course touch mode is needed to even use it. take a look at the ipad demo. really do. and if you have somebody who has an ipad borrow it. I did and I was blown away and how TERRIBLE office for windows RT and windows 8 is on tablets.
  • This is the death of RT (Surface (Non Pro) in particular) . That was it's only USP, now gone. It will be folded into WP8 very soon I think. Good idea, great hardware but just got no traction. 
  • "Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones free Just like Office Mobile for Windows Phone, we are making Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones free for everyone. With Office Mobile, you have the ability to view and edit your Office content on the go.  Office Mobile is available in the App Store and Google Play."
  • They never announced anything for Windows or Windows Phone that was available same day in store. Apple boys get it same day? Wtf, Microsoft, wtf.
  • We should no longer be surprised by MS treating all other platforms better than their own. I wonder if it will even change.  
  • Windows phone 8 debuted with office built in, 1.5 years ago. You didn't even have to download anything.
  • he has a point. certainly rare for MSFT to do so.
  • No, Microsoft, you're doing it wrong. You have to let iPad users suffer without real Office, just like we have to suffer with the lack of apps.
  • But that's the problem - they're not suffering. They're using the myriad of alternatives that are not Office. If Office is on iPad, Microsoft gets the money for it. If it's not, the money goes elsewhere. It's as simple as that; no one is ditching their iPad over Office.
  • The business model should be a money machine.
  • hmm. only if you assume every dolar doesn't donate 30% to the steve jobs foundation which for every device they sell it is a windows license yo don't. basically this doesn't exist in an island. it is a huge win, and a loss. the question is, are we seeing Satya's Vista Moment? you know, the one decision they regret most?
  • And it's beautiful. But not yet available for Windows 8/RT. :-(
  • This is what ticks me off.  So if I want a version of Office that's usable by touch I now need to trade in my Surface for an iPad?  
  • Yup thats exactly what you have to do, go do it.
  • If you want only simple edits and fancy images yes.. If you need macros and want to _really_ use the power of Office not so much. This is mostly a consumer version with only limited editing/creation options through an Office 365 subscription.
  • Just curious, have you tested it and found it to be limited? Because this review seems to say otherwise.
  • ...except Office for Windows RT does not support macros.
  • Why?
  • Let's see what Build has to offer. I can see it being mentioned/launched then.
  • Just be patient. Who knows what they have up their sleeves. You're only days away from getting a nice serving of stuff from Microsoft. This iPad version has supposedly been in the works long ago anyway.
  • Oh I'm patient...I've had a Surface RT for over a year now.  But at some point, my patience will run out.
  • Then what? You go out and spend more money on a device that you didn't choose in the first place? Surely you didn't get the Surface just because it had Office. I mean the version that you're waiting on,you were most likely unaware that it was even planned. The Surface even the original RT (Which I too have),is still far better than anything else out there in it's class save for the Surface 2. Don't get me wrong,I do understand your frustration. MS kinda frustrates me too at times but they have a lot of things that they have to keep up with,and a lot of cleaning up and catching up to do. Let's hope this new CEO knows what to do,how,to do it and executes it quickly and effectively.
  • My Surface RT is rather slow for doing anything but basic tasks.  Outlook, for example, is essentially unusable on it.  In fact so is Word and Excel, they are very laggy and often can't even keep up with typing.  It will soon be time for an upgrade one way or the other.  If they have their act together when I'm ready to buy I'll give them consideration.  But I'm not going to wait around indefinately as they have given no indication that they know how to execute their ideas.
  • Well this I think is a step in the right direction. Office isn't a feature to be overlooked, on any platform. iPad users will pay the premium to use 365.
  • Yes, be patient. Patient for WP7 Mango, then WP8, now WP8.1. Everything will be fine, just be patient.....
  • Umm. I've been using Office 2013 with touch since Windows RT. This iFad version is dumbed down and requires 365 subscription. Not worth our envy.
  • Desktop mode is killing Surface RT, though. Unless Microsoft leaves it people will keep thinking of RT as an inferior laptop instead of a superior tablet.
  • Just no.
  • I had a Surface RT, and it was lovely, but I'm a nerd and that's why I thought that the desktop was great. But the reality is that most people don't care. Hide the desktop and port File Explorer and Office to Metro, and most people would be satisfied.  Don't worry, though, if you want the desktop, there are always Bay Trail tablets. Or buy a Surface Pro like I did.
  • It is stupid to assume, that if you are removing features, you will get a better product.
  • Worked for MacOS to iOS.
  • There never was an iPad with both MacOS and iOS. So there was never a feature removed from iPad. It is one of the strength of Windows 8/RT that with a simple click of a button you can change to desktop mode but you never have to. When i have an external monitor and keyboard/mouse connected to my Surface 2 i am almost exclusively stay in desktop mode (including desktop IE of course). And thats just the application side. Managing services, storage devices (e.g. partition and formating), managing ACLs, Users, running system support and performance analysis tools and other stuff via Powershell is only accessible via desktop.
  • "And thats just the application side. Managing services, storage devices (e.g. partition and formating), managing ACLs, Users, running system support and performance analysis tools and other stuff via Powershell is only accessible via desktop."   This is all AMAZING to do on a tablet. Problem is... Nobody cares. Powershell won't sell the Surface, and the fact that it is a desktop in disguise is actually drivign people away. It is very sad, but it's true.  But even if we were to ditch the desktop mode - for RT only, keeping it for x86 tablets - Surface could still be a nice device. True, it would not have the crazy capabilities and tools of a powerful Windows machine, but if Microsoft plays things right it would still have Office, File Explorer, multi-monitor support. For people like us this would be a downgrade, but sadly we are not a very big market. Most people would not notice that they no longer have PowerShell, but they will notice that they no longer have this weird desktop app that is actually not an app. What happens to us? Surface Pro is our device. Might be overkill for some, but there are lots of other x86 tablets you could get.  
  • +Surface RT
  • It's available on W8 and W8RT in desktop mode. It works great. To me it's not that big of deal that Metro version is not out yet. And it comes free with most tablets while you have to pay for the Office on iPad that allows you to edit. I'd say WP and W8/RT users are still ahead overall.
  • nope, office is not free on my surface pro 2.
  • Wait one week and you'll have your wish.
  • One week from now we can tell Cortana to do the work :P
  • if the rumors are true, fall of 2014.
  • The desktop version will beat any app version out of the water. I use Office extensively and I can see how it is missing a lot of functions that the desktop version has.
  • I don't see all the rage for a touch version too.  That's why the surface is so great if you do a lot of Office work, can't see myself doing anything seriously with an on-screen keyboard.
  • They can't show the W8/WP versions until next week. It would give too much away before //build/
  • If everything you do will require a keyboard, what's the point of buying a tablet?
  • but on a tablet, the desktop version is awful.
  • No, it is not. Even the desktop version of Office is touch optimized.
  • It is only partially touch optimized.  And the desktop itself has very little optimization. 
  • Ok since you are claiming it is only partially optmized, which part of Office 2013 is not optimized, which you think is omptimized in iPad Office? Desktop itself is not much optimized, but Office is.
  • try to use it. look at basic things like selection: ipad: you get the awesome magnifiyer because your finger isnt' transparent. office RT? basically impossible to select. excel: ipad: excel optimized keyboard for formulas etc. office RT: default idiotic keyboard for typing emails, not optimized at all. document management: the ipad's ui lets you seamlessly manage multiple documents. in windows RT you have to drag windows with your fingers and minimize and maximize stuff. OMG, I go crazy and end up grabbing a mouse. office RT is not touch optimized. office RT is touch aware. big difference.
  • Microsoft Apologizes for Ipad Vs Windows 8 Ad
  • he he. you and every surface user who has tried to use awful office RT.
  • I have no problem using office on RT, you must be special SP-ED
  • Agreed, I use it on my RT every day for work and find it great. Activate touch spacing if you find it fiddly (top left of the title bar, looks like a finger touching a screen).
  • well I mean, I suppose I could walk around hand standing if I really tried. but is as confortable as using office RT in touch mode.
  • you must have a mouse and keyboard.
  • With this kind of approach it's no wonder why Windows 8 is so popular/successful Tablet first, desktop second Microsoft.
  • Ugh....
  • The reason MS is slowly dying is their eagerness to please everyone but their core. It doesn't matter if this app was ready first, it should have been able for MS products first. Why should office be better on the damn iPad than the Surface or my Zenbook?
  • Dying? Are you for real?
  • Haven't you noticed on major news organizations, when they mention tech giants, they say Apple, Samsung, Google? And I mean organizations like CNN, BBC and Fox News. The only time they mention Microsoft is when they are talking about Microsoft. They are turning themselves into a bit player and moves like these ensure that. MS should be leaders, not providing leaders with more ammunition. How can I convince my manager that the Surface is a better tablet when the Office on our iPads is now better? Brag about my usb port? Please.
  • The sheer amount of billion dollar businesses and stock price disagrees with you.
  • If numbers were any real indicator, why did we have a financial crises? Why did Blackberry suddenly fall. Remember that juggernaut Nokia? HTC used to be king of Android.  The list goes on in the tech and real world. I say this as one of 8 people to choose a Lumia 920 over an iPhone 5c for my corporate phone. Who spent over two grand on my last laptop, a zenbook and who owns and has purchased for family members, 4 surfaces. I also own 2 900s, that LG Windows phone, a HTC HD7 and will probably get whatever WP 8.1 handset is out when I refresh later this year. Get your head out of your ass and look at the reality instead of being in an echo chamber, MS made another bad move today.
  • ok what? lol. going on and on about what you own kinda makes you look insane. Also, ive convinced a ton of people to get the surface over the iPad. you obviously cant persuade very well even though its like persuading a kid to eat candy.  I dont ever remember HTC being the king of anything. my HTC sucked and never got another one. Blackberry fell cause they couldnt keep up with the abilities of most smart phones. who uses a querty keyboard? also, the fact that you chose the 920 over a 5c is obvious. the 5c's were made substandard. it was just a way to get more iphones into the public.
  • I think you might be missing the overall picture. For one, Office on the Surface RT is free. The iPad version, requires Office 365 to edit/create documents. That's a very big difference. It also means a revenue stream is coming from yet another source. The money matters. More of it allows MS as a company to take greater risks. Their going to sell more Surface's and continue to innovate with their own devices. However, there will still be those who choose an iPad over a Windows based tablet, each and every time. Playing hardball and denying those users access, immediately hurts MS entire portfolio. Remember they were first a software company, its where their bread is buttered. This hardware side of the business has literally been in place going on 3 years. That's NOTHING in this new, faster Tech world. Losing sight of what got MS to the level they are at now, by denying more users access to their services, because of a device choice is idiotic. The reason Apple or Google at the moment get the loins share of users, is the apps. Their stores are filled with alot more apps that people want/use. That's the real.numbers game. However, by themselves (taking away the app store), they don't offer too many compelling reasons to own, say an iPad or Samsung Galaxy. Apple has iTunes (that's a big player for music lovers). Samsung has what, TouchWiz? Office is that killer software other companies wish they had. Its nothing too exciting now (because its been around for over a decade), but it still is a major driving force. So, why not tap into this area where people are "BYOD-ing"? Its unchallenged. Who's really gonna pick Polaris Office or iWork over Office 365 if it means having the same tools across platforms? I think MS tapping into this market is a brilliant move. For those who already purchased iPads (the MILLIONS of users), this is another way for them to get acquainted with MS devices. More people, mode users, more revenue, more cash, more money for R&D, more money to buy, more money to take risks, more to innovate. That's what this is about. Its about reaching out to as many end users as you can. Who better than MS? This world is shifting to this mobile/cloud design. People want access to whatever it is they own, rent, watch, buy, create, edit, etc, etc. From wherever they are. I'm glad that the CEO comes from this background because that's where the real battle is at. This device/hardware business is just the thing holding the tools. Its like getting mad at Snap-On tools for offering their tools to people.who buy Matco Tool boxes. Their using your tools/services, it plants a seed of trust/interest. Perhaps the next time they buy a tablet or phone their interest will be piqued for them to inquire about the Surface 3 or Nokia Lumia 16**. I say this is a good move and one where I feel they will push harder to separate their hardware. With things like Office happening across platforms, it doesn't give MS the ability to sit on their laurels with their devices by saying, "Well, our tablets/phones have Office!" This pushes them to truly show/innovate why their products/devices are the best portals to their services.
  • This is about the best comment I've read in a long, long while. It is refreshing to experience such a clear signal amidst so much noise these days. Well done, keep up the great thought process!!
  • You, my friend, have nailed it
  • +365
  • Business 101 right here folks.
  • You sir are a rare breed among WP Central commenters nowadays. Bravo, and spot on.
  • The sheer amount of billion dollar businesses and stock price disagrees with you.
    That's right now. MSFT is irrelevant in the consumer space and that will eventually metastasize into the enterprise space. Office on iPad is just a way to slow the spread.
  • Exactly, it is just shocking how little my friends know about MS products and their abilities. And now, they don't need to know anymore because MS is bringing it to their platforms under the misguided belief that it will lead them to MS products. They have their own damn hardware to support but they release it on a competitor platform first. Why does the Surface RT need to exist again?
  • Umm..Built in kickstand,USB,Full,browser support,the ability to add optional quality keyboard,true multi tasking,superb build quality. To say the least. Office is PART of what makes the Surface experience better,not the SOLE reason. So my question to you is. If you take away the apps, why should the iPad need to exist again?
  • exactly.
  • If you think MSFT is dying, than I want to be dying! They are beatiing their quarterly expectations and that means they're dying? Makes sense.
  • Office on Surface is waaayyyy more detailed. You get the full featured Office on the Surface compared to the iPad version.
  • Yes, but the thing is most people don't care about the "full featured" version on a tablet that (essentially) requires a mouse and keyboard.  They want a touch version on a touch device to do basic tasks while maintaining full compatibility.
  • I use office on my Surface 2 all of the time without a mouse and keyboard and I don't have to pay for a subscription to earn that right, I just had to buy my surface
  • Yes, and I can do file management using DOS.  But when given other options better suited to the device I am working on, I don't.
  • That is wrong. Office 2013 is alraedy touch optimized. You should try it before making such claims.
  • I have used it.  It's not fully touch optimized, and the desktop itself is terrible to use with touch.  Just like with Windows 7, "touch-optimized" is not the same thing as "primarily touch-interface".  
  • It is not fully optmized? Then maybe you can answer, which part of Office 2013 is not touch optmized but is a the same time optimized for iPad Office? I assume you cannot give an answer to this question, since you claim is wrong.
  • And what are these "basic tasks?" If you're including creating and editing in your definition, then iPad users are in for a big disappointment if they thought they were getting that free. Here's the thing--people always prefer "free" to "pay."
  • Exactly. people are crying because it's not an app that has full touch capability. serious? id rather have the full version than a half one thats an app.
  • Well I suspect that at build, this is where MS may be showing off the 7-8" surface without the desktop included. If they do, then the iPad may still win out due to app count in their app store; I'm a pro Microsoft person who has used all platforms but this really could diminish sales of their devices unless the game changer becomes that legacy apps can be installed on RT (don't see that happening though)
  • Microsoft is making profits. Not dying. The reason why they never get mentioned in news is because they are innovators first, celebrities second. Apple and Google can suck it.
  • These are the same organizations that report that Apple is "doomed" every other week.   I'd take their understanding of the tech landscape with a giant pile of salt.
  • I disagree, I mean, money is money.. But I definitely see what you're saying, and you mention valid points.
  • Tough decisions now would have made more money for them down the line. At some point, the CEO needs to grow a pair, tell shareholders and the board to STFU for a quarter and let me implement, then judge me. It's not like these people would be starving if they had waited till they could have at least done a simultaneous release. Can you honestly tell me, based on this move, that the Surface success is a priority at MS?
  • You're assuming the new CEO wasn't brought in to facilitate the transition from stand alone to service model. These types of moves make sense if you want to be a service provider rather than a stand alone provider. Even in the enterprise market they are making the same kinds of decisions. Office 365 is one of those decisions, now they can sell it to enterprises and it doesn't matter whether you use a PC, Mac, iPad, in the near future Surface, and probably not too distant future Android. Most likely Touch Office for Windows 8 and RT will not be free but also require an Office 365 subscription to use its the full ability. Unfortunately like most of Microsoft's products caught up in the transition, the Surface is getting hurt by the mixed messaging. The Surface is meant to be the proof of concept line, much like Google's Nexus line, to show other manufacturers how to make them. Of course someone at MS also decided that it needed to be like the iPad at the same time so we end up with the mixed message of it being a proof of concept with accessories that cost twice what they probably should like the bluetooth keboard adapter or even the touch keyboard itself that should be an included accessory.
  • This isn't just about the Surface.  It's about Windows 8.  It's on the verge of irrelevance in the consumer market.
  • Over 10% market share (3x the amount of Mac OS X 10.9) and growing is not on the verge of irrelevance. Nice try...
  • I said CONSUMER market.   Including mobile devices.  Excluding business use.  Most consumers don't have much need for PCs anymore and Windows 8 has not gotten any traction with them.
  • I don't think so, more and more companies and individuals are choosing surface over iPad. I've gone around frys in my area and was impress with the knowledge of at least one sales guy. Seen several people who were shown iPads vs surfaces to customers and they chose surface
  • They need Windows 8 and its services AS A WHOLE to succeed. Surface is just one medium by which they deliver that. What about all the other OEMs?
  • MS just postpone dying releasing some of their best work on a popular device, Obviously Nadalla see's MS as a software first company.
  • Microsoft isn't going anywhere because their everywhere, not just the computer side of things, cloud, medical, automotive, gaming, aviation, news media(pixel sense)and more. Where is apple (pc/mac/tablet)....their tv and gaming service can't hold a candle to Microsoft, Sony, even steam. Apple is trying to break into the automotive industry, but that's a crowded space where blackberry even is.
  • True true true !! Now why would people buy surface ? (i mean most people)
  • You talking about a Surface RT?  Well Office is free on that for starters while the iPad costs a monthly subscription.
  • Not if you already have Office 365, in which case, this is better than what the Surface has. Between the app availability on my iPad and now Office, there is no real reason to carry my Surface RT to work anymore.
  • Why is it better?  Desktop version is great on the RT. You can multi-task with Excel, powerpoint, Outlook etc.  It's basically feature complete whereas the ipad version I assume will be missing some advanced features.  Plus on the surface you have a keyboard already, why would you want to type on the screen if you're typing more than one line?? I really don't understand all this moaning.
  • Keyboard doesn't come with the surface, mate.
  • Well don't tell anyone at work that! Gon post all of your points on Satya's twitter page; I am as he needs to know how loyal MS follower feel; that he could have at least did a simultaneous release for iPad and surface. Please verbalize it just the way you explained it here
  • I basically agree. given surface RT cannot run desktop apps, and the only desktop app it has is horrible for touch, ipad wins. I really feel let down by MS. I have to reconsider my choices. Basically if they choosing them was a mistake in the OS game, why should I choose their services? I dislike google, but I don't ever see google basically giving the middle finger to their users. which is what MSFT did today.
  • I think you are missing the point. You already have the full version of Office on your Surface or Zanbook. IPad needs this. You do not need a limited Metro version of Office on your Surface.
  • @OP, whatever you smoking, go get a refund as that ish hasn't enlightened your mindset, its f'd you up for you to be saying such rubbish. Dying, what a joke.
  • Stay in the echo chamber if you want but MS is dying in the consumer space whether you want to believe it or not.
  • You and your echo chamber. Lol. Silly lunatic, go home.
  • the problem is that surface RT is useless for know the fact it ships with a tablet is ridiculous.
  • Huh?
  • Stop spreading bullshit. Name a single touch feature, which is in the iPad version, which is not present in the desktop version. I can tell you, there is none.
  • just one? ok. optimized keyboard in excel for formulas. two? ok. selection mechanism, works around your finger unlike office RT's basically assumes you have a mouse pointer. shall I continue? document management. office RT makes you do window management with your fingers...arrrrgg!!!
  • If they weren't worrying about their core then Windows 8 would have remained the same,and 8.1 would have saw no changes. The next update for Windows would not have the changes that they are making to try and appease desktop users wouldn't be. Nor would we be getting Windows Phone 8.1's massive update. Patience my friend..
  • "Why should office be better on the damn iPad than the Surface"   It's not better, not by far.
  • +1020
  • Honestly, people are their core as people on any platform generates revenue which keeps company afloat. Not that I agree with any of this, but facts are facts.
  • They did do a great job of immediately showing why you'd need Office on your iPad. The native viewer's display of that Word document was just horrible.
  • Andddddd fanboys start to get mad. MS is a software company. Its all about the $$$ and where the consumers are at.
  • Exactly!
  • Yes!!
  • Ummm...actually they are "now" a software AND hardware company. If they're not going to fully support the hardware side, maybe they should just stick to the software.
  • I hate Apple for that...but it seems to be working.
  • Windows 8/RT is software. We are not mad because they released a freemium touch version of Office for iOS.  We are mad because by releasing it for iOS first they have undermined their loyal customers, many of whom bought Windows devices solely for the purpose of using Office.  For Windows devices that don't come with Office, they charge over $200 for it.  If Microsoft can't demonstrate first class support for their own OS, who do they think will?