The Microsoft Office for iPhone and iPad is ready to be released, sources suggest, but Microsoft hasn’t put an official release date on it yet.
According to “sources familiar with the firm”, Microsoft has been urged by investors for years to adapt its Office suite for Apple and Google’s mobile devices.
Estimates suggest that Microsoft could be losing out on up to $2.5 billion every year in revenue from Office for iPad, thanks to over 200 million accrued iPad sales.
“Office is being disenfranchised on the hottest growth platforms. Maybe it is time to focus on Office independent of Windows,” suggested Rick Sherlund, Nomura analyst.
However, from the sources’ information, Microsoft already has a full iPhone and iPad version of Office completely ready for release.
The actual release date will be decided by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who took over the role in February.
“We have some pretty exciting plans,” said John Case, the top Microsoft Office marketing executive, without providing further details. “Certainly, interest in Office on the iPad is extreme. When [customers] want to do real work, they are going to want to use Office.”
Nadella apparently wants to widen the Office user base, but must balance it with the flagship Windows products, which greatly benefit from strong Office integration.
Some analysts suggest it may even be too late for Microsoft to tap into the lucrative iPad market.
“Look at the appliactions that are on the rise to support mobile. It is not Microsoft OneNote or Word. It’s Dropbox or Evernote,” said Ted Schadler, analyst at tech research firm Forrester. “It’s really about being everywhere. That’s an important, immediate decision that Satya’s going to have to drive.”
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