Microsoft's CEO to officially launch Office for iPad today?

Big things are expected from the newly crowned CEO as he hosts his first major press conference.

Satya Nadella, the Indian-born self-described cricket fanatic who took over as Microsoft's chief executive last month, makes his public debut today and is expected to go on the offensive right away with some bold strokes.

When Nadella hosts his first major press conference this week, he's likely to describe - if not officially launch - versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint designed for Apple's iPad, looking to cash in on a market worth up to $7 billion a year, according to Wall Street analysts.

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The technology behind the software is not ground-breaking, but the strategy is: It puts Office at the heart of the company's push to become a leading services company across a variety of platforms - possibly at the expense of Windows and its own Surface tablet.

That perceived willingness to break with the Windows tradition, which remains co-founder Bill Gates' most enduring legacy, has helped spur Microsoft shares to $40-plus levels not seen since the dotcom boom of 2000.

Wall Street is now guardedly optimistic on a company that,franchise on the iPad for some time, welcomed the idea but was more cautious on the rewards. He estimates that an iPad Office would generate only $1 billion or so in new revenue a year, as many potential users will already have corporate licenses that can be converted to the new product.

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And it's unclear how much of its revenue will be surrendered to Apple, which generally takes a 30 per cent cut of app sales through its store. Microsoft and Apple declined comment.

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The anticipation of Nadella's mobile-centric strategy has pushed Microsoft shares up 11 per cent in the seven weeks since he took the helm, and they are now rolling along at 14-year highs.

Today, Nadella is officially slated to talk about mobile and cl while still garnering billions of dollars in annual profit, risks gradual obsolescence in a mobile-powered tech industry.

"The fact that Nadella is going to pull the trigger (on Office) shows he's not just an insider that's going to continue the status quo. Right now, it's a blank sheet of paper," saidstrategies. But investors and industry executives will be just as attuned to any signals from the new CEO on whether he's willing to take Microsoft in a radically different direction.

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