Reuters reported late on Monday that new Microsoft Chief Executive
Satya Nadella would unveil the iPad app at an event on March 27.
The event will be Nadella's first major public appearance since his
appointment last month.
Microsoft shares rose as much as 5 percent to $39.90 on Tuesday,
adding $15 billion to the company's market value. At that price, the
stock was up about 10 percent since the announcement of Nadella's
appointment on February 4. The shares last touched $40 in July 2000.
Microsoft has had iPad and iPhone versions of Office primed for
several months now, sources told Reuters, but the company has
dallied on their release due to internal divisions, among other
Analysts said the lack of an Office version for the iPad may have
robbed Microsoft of billions of dollars in revenue. (Reuters
"We estimate that if 10 percent of the iPad install base were to
subscribe to Office then this could add 15 million subscribers and
generate $1.1 billion to $1.5 billion in consumer Office
subscription revenue per year," Bernstein Research analyst Mark
Moerdler said in a note on Tuesday.
Investors have for years urged Microsoft to adapt Office, its most
profitable product, for iPhones and iPads and devices using Google
Inc's Android software rather than shackling it to Windows as PC
Microsoft's productivity tools remain the industry standard in
offices, but America's employees are increasingly using smartphone
and tablets to supplement their work.
Tired of waiting for Office to be optimized for their touchscreen
devices, a growing contingent of younger companies are turning to
cheaper touch-friendly apps that can perform word processing and
other tasks in the cloud.
Barclays analyst Raimo Lenschow said the plan to launch the iPad app
would signal that Microsoft is moving towards a more serious
[to top of second column]
Bernstein's Moerdler said he did not believe that the app would have
any significant positive or negative impact on Microsoft's Windows
franchise as most corporate customers use Windows.
Microsoft already offers Office Online on its Windows smartphones
and as a free Web-based version.
Google Inc has been making inroads into Microsoft's Office
software business with its free Google Drive application, which
includes spreadsheets, presentation and word-processing tools.
Last year, Apple offered free updates for life on its iWork business
software, which includes rival applications to Microsoft's Excel,
Word and PowerPoint, for MacBooks, Mac computers and iPad.
Apple also said today it would offer an iPad 4 tablet in place of
the mid-range iPad 2 at the same price.
Tablets based on Apple's iOS platform held 36 percent share of the
market in 2013, trailing those based on Google's Android software
that had 62 percent share, according to research firm Gartner.
Microsoft shares were trading up 4 percent at $39.60 in midday
trading on the Nasdaq.
(Additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee;
editing by Saumyadeb
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