On March 27th Microsoft announced Office is now available for Apple’s iPad. The code became live at 11AM in the iOS App Store. MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are available on Apple’s mobile platform. These apps were built on OneDrive and provide real time collaboration in the Cloud among several users. If you have a subscription to Office 365 you still have read and write capability; without the subscription, it is still possible to download and read without editing. Office 365 subscriptions begin at $7 a month for a personal subscription and $10 for the Home Premium version that allows users to install Office on one to five PCs or Macs. These subscriptions are available for purchase directly within the Office app.
Subscription included for Home users
If you already have an Office 365 Home subscription you need not worry as the subscription includes five desktop installs plus five mobile device installs so the iPad install does not come out of the existing five desktop installs. Since you need a paid subscription to edit files, you can download the iPad version for read only purposes. Until the third week of March this year, Office Mobile for iPhone only allowed document read/write capability for Office 365 subscribers, which would have meant using another license. Since then, Microsoft has allowed home users to make edits without using up a license (business users still have to use one of their licenses).
The release of the Office app for iPad represents the direction Microsoft is moving since Sayta Nadella stepped in as CEO. Nadella’s command gives Microsoft Corp. a chance to improve itself to adapt to the evolving environment of computing. The Office app for iPad could generate an extra $1 billion for Microsoft. Almost 200 million iPads were sold in 2013 and approximately 5% of the owners would have to pay for the $100 annual subscription which leads to the projected $1 billion in additional revenue for Microsoft. The Office App is free for read only rights for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint however, users will need to subscribe to Office 365 for edits. With the growing population of bring your own device (BYOD) policies in various work environments, many users will want to pay for the subscription. Large corporations and enterprises maintain Office subscriptions as their standard which guarantees a certain percentage of the BYOD workforce will use annual subscriptions costing between $70 and $100 depending on the number and types of devices per subscription.
Boosting sales for Apple
The ability to use an Office app on an iPad may boost iPad sales. On the flip side of this, Windows-based laptop sales may drop; however, more tablets (running Android and Windows OS) are anticipated to be sold than desktop and laptop PCs. By the end of next year tablet sales will exceed PC sales by a wide margin. While Office apps aren’t available for Android devices yet, Microsoft has plans to release them soon which will then place Office 365 apps in the hands of nearly all mobile devices. In the meantime, Office Mobile is available. This strategic plan will take Microsoft to another level of computing power. While iPads have catapulted tablet sales, the combination of Office 365 on iPods and iPads may lead to a new market of tablet users who, prior to this release, may have avoided Windows-based tablets and stuck with laptops.
Boosting sales for Microsoft
Expanding the distribution of Office 365 is a great move for Microsoft, especially if it drives users to pay for the subscription to edit files. Apple stands to take a percentage of about 30% of these sales. This move will be fruitful for both companies and provide users with a highly competitive and useful application suite to Apple’s own iWork suite. While these apps do not provide the full functionality of Office’s desktop software, it provides essential functionality that can be transferred to desktop applications. Office for iPad and iPod is useful for users who need a touch-friendly interface when on the go, and the ability to transfer it to their desktop for the final details.
Office 365 for iPad opens new doors for businesses and home users. Once Office 365 becomes available for use on Android-based mobile devices, nearly everyone will have Windows products at their fingertips.