Microsoft launches Office for iPad

Long-rumoured product hits iTunes App Store

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has officially brought the software giant's Office suite to Apple's iPad, cashing in on what is rumoured to be a $2.5 billion per year revenue source.

A version of the app with limited functionality will be available free, while Office 365 subscribers will get access to a fuller version of the productivity software.

The app, which became available to download from the App Store at 6.00pm GMT tonight, provides a native experience of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which Nadella described as "a beautiful set of applications".

Julia White, the GM of Microsoft's Office division who demoed the service, said the app will help overcome previous problems experienced when viewing Office documents on an iPad, such as graphics overlaying text or different lines of text running into each other.

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The app has been designed to look and feel like the latest version of Office for desktop, Office Online and Office 365, Microsoft said, including details like the ribbon' at the top of the document.

In Word, users are given functionality like the ability to insert and modify tables from Excel or graphics in the document and responsive text-wrapping.

"This is unmistakeably Word, but it also [looks good] on the iPad," said White.

In Excel, touching on the number pad brings up a scientific calculator, allowing users to easily insert formulae into their spreadsheet.

The company has also introduced various features that are unique to Office for iPad.

In Excel, if the user wants to create a graph, the product will suggest different formats it believes could work best and create previews of them using the user's data within the dropdown menu.

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In PowerPoint, if the user touches and holds on the screen during a slideshow, it will bring up a laser pointer. Furthermore, they can make annotations to the presentation, rather than having to make changes straight away.

"This is not the desktop app ported to iPad, it is not the iPhone app ported to iPad," she said.

Nadella added: "We are committed to making our products work ... cross platform [and] we are taking great focus and great care with every device to make sure office shines through. Our commitment going forward is to drive Office 365 everywhere."

All documents are also saved in OneDrive, allowing real-time collaboration and versioning control.

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Nadella said this launch was not the revelation of Microsoft's whole strategy, but is the first step in a new strategy of "Cloud for Everyone", which, he said, focuses on bringing the best possible experience consumers, developers and IT professionals.

He added: "The real goal for us is to step up and provide the services that ... empower people to be productive and do more across all devices."

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Nadella concluded by saying more details about Microsoft's strategy, particularly with regards to Windows, will come at its Build conference next week.

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