Microsoft Office is coming to iPad

According to corroborated rumors, it looks like the Redmond-based company is expected to extend the Microsoft Office olive branch. A version of Microsoft Office for iPad is likely going to be announced at an event next week.

The first move of Satya Nadella, the new CEO of Microsoft, will likely be revealing Microsoft Office for iPad.

Remember the Mac guy versus PC guy commercials from a few years back? If their fictional relationship still existed today, instead of trading thinly veiled insults, the two characters would be tentatively shaking hands. 

Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, will likely announce Microsoft Office for iPad at an event next week, according to rumors confirmed by sources at several major tech websites. This will be the first major move for Mr. Nadella at the helm of the company, and signals a far more conciliatory outlook than leadership in the past. Will it work?

Microsoft reached out to reporters Monday morning announcing there will be an event in San Francisco on March 27 hosted by Nadella concerning “news related to the intersection of cloud and mobile.” Sources confirmed to Gigaom, CNET, The Verge, and others that this event will feature the release of the Office suite for iPad.

Sources say Microsoft will offer a few free options (some say Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) and a premium subscription that includes the entire suite. It is expected to be downloadable from the Apple App Store.

Last June, Microsoft released Office for iPhone. Office for iPad is expected to have a similar look and function.

Currently, Microsoft offers an Office suite subscription that can be downloaded on one PC or Mac, with the option of extending to one tablet. Though the only current tablet option is a Windows tablet (such as the Surface 2).

The Surface hasn’t exactly excelled in the increasingly competitive tablet world, especially when compared to Apple’s iPad.

However, Microsoft has remained the dominant player in software. Office has remained the gold standard for word processing software. It has retained a tight grip on Office for this reason – it is the one piece of seemingly indestructible armor in Microsoft’s defense.

That being said, software without hardware is useless. Nadella seems to understand that. It appears a change of heart is accompanying the Microsoft regime change, especially considering outgoing CEO Steve Balmer once pretended to stomp on an iPhone at a Microsoft meeting.

Rumors of Microsoft extending the Office olive branch to Apple have been circulating for the past two years, however many thought it wouldn’t be released until after Microsoft put out a touch-based version of Office just for Windows tablet users. Sometime in the past year, the project got fast-tracked.

The March 27 event will be webcasted at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern) and comes just days before the Build developer's conference, the annual celebration of Microsoft innovation.

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