What To Know About Microsoft Releasing Office For iPad

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled Office for iPad at his first public event Thursday, ending four years of speculation.

What To Know About Microsoft Releasing Office For iPad

After nearly four years of speculation, Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella unveiled the Office suite made for iPad at his first public event in San Francisco Thursday.

The Microsoft Office suite of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPad will be available in Apple's App Store starting Thursday. Each is listed as a separate app in the store.

Office for iPad is available to download for free, but full access will be given to paying customers who subscribe to Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-based service. If you're not paying the $70-a-year base price, the apps will be locked as read-only on your iPad.

At first glance, ZDNet calls the suite "feature rich" and the "gold standard" of tablet productivity.

"Anyone who was expecting Office Lite or a rehash of the underwhelming Office for iPhone will be pleasantly surprised."

Mashable points out the suite plays well with the iPad intuitive touch interface, providing a "comforting sense of familiarity," but there are also some "shocking feature gaps."

One major pitfall: Printing has been banned from the Office.

"Microsoft, oddly, defends the decision. Julia White, General Manager, Office Marketing insisted printing is 'an inferior mode of communication' and noted that today's content is constantly changing and highly collaborative." (Via Mashable)

Features and functionality aren't enough to impress The New York Times, which said Microsoft is late to the party.

"The new Office product will test whether one of the great successes of the PC era can thrive in the age of mobile devices."

‚ÄčIn the article, the Times says traditionally PC-era businesses that have embraced mobile devices have already found niche apps such as Evernote, Quip, Smartsheet, Haiku Deck, and Apple's own iWork as functional workarounds.

CNN agrees, saying: "But do enough people care that much about productivity and file compatibility to make the leap to Office for iPad? That's a big, unanswered question."

However, even though Windows has a late start, Nadella pushed the idea that Office for iPad symbolizes an entire shift in focus for Microsoft.

Mashable's Pete Pachal summed up his idea with a tweet from the event: "A 'competitive reality' is 'not what motivates us,' says Microsoft CEO @satyanadella . My my, how the times have changed!" (Via Twitter/@petepachal)

In the end, maybe for Microsoft, money talks louder. It might seem like a good bet to put Office back into the hands of iPad owners, considering the iconic product has made the company more than $180 billion in the past decade.