Microsoft CEO signals new course with Office for iPad

Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:43pm EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Gerry Shih and Bill Rigby

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's new Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, finally unveiled Office for Apple Inc's iPad in a polished debut that set him apart from his energetic predecessor while signaling his plans to make mobile apps the top priority at the world's largest software company.

At a news conference Thursday, executives demonstrated a new "touch-first" version of Office crafted for the iPad, available for download as a free app, though a subscription is needed to let users create or edit documents rather than just read them.

Significantly, they did not demonstrate any software on Windows machines, telegraphing a departure from former Chief Executive Steve Ballmer's focus on the personal computer operating software and its own devices.

"Their absence speaks volumes," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. "Nadella's a cloud-centric guy; he's going to focus on what's been successful, and where the future's going. Windows 8 thus far has been extremely underwhelming."

Nadella kicked off the presentation with a fluid, low-key introduction to Microsoft's approach to the new mobile, cloud-centric world of computing, in his first public appearance since taking the helm 52 days ago.

Dressed in a black polo shirt and dark jeans, the 46-year-old computer scientist threw in some geek humor and lines of poetry from T.S. Eliot, marking a change in style from his energetic predecessor Steve Ballmer. His lack of references to Windows indicated a deeper strategic shift.

Nadella gave no indication of when Microsoft would release "touch-first" versions of Office apps for Windows 8, the latest version of the operating software, which he acknowledged had fallen behind in the mobile era.

"The Windows strategy, there's no change, except we want to be known as the innovative company that's coming from behind in some categories," Nadella told reporters in an ad hoc question and answer session after the presentation, another sign of new openness at the company.   Continued...

 
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco, California March 27, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith