Microsoft launches Office iPad apps; Nadella promises mobile/cloud focus

|About: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)|By:, SA News Editor

As expected, Microsoft (MSFT -0.8%) has unveiled its Office iPad apps at a San Francisco event. Read-only versions are free, but full versions will require an Office 365 subscription. They'll be available in the App Store at 2PM ET.

The iPad's screen real estate has allowed the apps to sport UIs similar to those of PC Office apps. At the same time, Microsoft promises it has put a lot of effort into optimizing for touch - for example, images can be easily resized and wrapped around Word text with one's fingers.

Satya Nadella put some effort into reassuring his Bay Area audience Microsoft now has mobile/cloud religion. He also declares his company is pursuing a vision of "ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence." Google can relate.

The iPad apps are aimed at bolstering an Office cash cow that continues to see moderate growth in the face of weak PC sales and a shift to Office 365 subscription sales. Office 365 subscriptions that include PC apps run from $150-$264/year for business users, and $70-$100/year for home users.

Shares rallied last week on reports of a pending Office iPad launch.

Event live blog, an early review