ATTENTION IPAD USERS EVERYWHERE! Microsoft has FINALLY released an iPad version of its popular Office software suite.
Today’s unveiling of the anticipated iPad apps for Microsoft’s bundle of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software comes nearly four years after Apple Inc. released the tablet computer that has contributed to a steady decline in sales of desktop and laptop machines running on the Windows operating system.
The Office app for the iPad represents a major step in the right direction for Microsoft, said FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives. “They finally looked in the mirror and realized they needed to go with the crowd in terms of iPads,” Ives said.
The availability of an Office app also could encourage more people to buy an iPad. That, in turn, could siphon more sales away from laptops running on Windows, which also generates billions in licensing fees for Microsoft each year. This year, Gartner Inc. expects 271 million tablets to be sold this year, including those running on Windows and Android, versus a total of 277 million desktop and laptop computer. By the end of 2015, tablets should be outselling PCs by a wide margin, Gartner said.
Microsoft hasn’t made Office apps for Android tablets yet, though the company has previously said those will be coming. Last year, Office apps for Android phones came out a month after the iPhone versions debuted.