Microsoft rallies as iPad apps, multi-platform strategy get praised

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

"It was encouraging to have the CEO of Microsoft (MSFT +2.8%) visible in a product strategy discussion, laying out in a transparent way the strategic direction of the company that embraces where users are going ... and breaking away from the Windows and PC-centric focus of the past," writes Nomura's Rick Sherlund, praising yesterday's product announcements.

Apple uber-fan MG Siegler also likes what he sees. "Microsoft could have released Office [for the iPad] much much much much much sooner. They chose not to. Steve Ballmer chose not to ... I believe Satya Nadella has already put Microsoft in a better place than it has been in years."

The apps, free in read-only mode, have quickly moved to the top of iPad download charts. Though criticizing a few feature omissions (such as printing support, due in an update), reviewers (I, II, III) have praised the apps' editing tools, touch optimizations, and cloud integration.

Also of note: 1) Microsoft has made the full versions of its iOS/Android Office smartphone apps completely free for home use, and is promising Android tablet apps are on the way. 2) Though doing so requires giving Apple a 30% cut, Microsoft is allowing free iPad users to upgrade to Office 365 from their devices. Few enterprises are likely to subscribe using an iPad, but some consumers/SMBs might.

Yesterday: Office iPad apps launched, mobility suite detailed