Microsoft (MSFT) Brings its Office Suite to Apple’s iPad

At a news conference in San Francisco on Thursday, Microsoft (MSFT) announced that M’soft’s Office suite of apps will become available to iPad users from Apple (AAPL)’s app store starting today at 2 p.m. eastern. The iPad version of Office will include Word for iPad, Excel for iPad, and PowerPoint for iPad.

Microsoft is going with a “freemium” model. It costs nothing to download the apps however, an Office 365 subscription is needed to let users create or edit files on the iPad. An Office 365 subscription comes at $99.99 a year for most folks.

The announcement marks a significant shift in Microsoft’s longstanding Windows strategy. The software giant has previously been guided by the “no compromises” mantra when it came to its signature PC operating system.

A touch-based version of Office is also in the works for Windows, Julia White, a senior Office exec for Microsoft, confirmed.

MSFT was holding steady at mid $39 level in midday trade.

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