What Does Microsoft Office on the iPad Signify for the Future of Mobility?

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella has announced, in his very first press event, a planned excursion into the Enterprise Mobility arena for the software giant.

Speaking today, Thursday 27 March, at a news briefing in San Francisco, Nadella finally unveiled the capability to use the Microsoft Office suite (namely Word, PowerPoint and Excel) on the iPad.

The suite will now be downloadable for free from the Apple App Store, but will require a subscription to Office 365. Interestingly, Microsoft Outlook, the popular email service, has not been included.

This announcement was highly anticipated, as Microsoft have been widely urged for a long time to accommodate the use of their technology on the iPad, which now reportedly enjoys a 91% usage rate of all enterprise tablets. It is expected that the decision to now comply with these demands could generate anywhere between $1billion and $7billion in extra revenue for Microsoft. These projections are unsurprising when the fact that over a billion people use Office on a daily basis is taken into account.

These developments suggest that Nadella is prepared to diverge from previous Microsoft policies to capitalise on the plethora of cloud and mobility opportunities which are currently exploding within the digital business space. Although it has taken Microsoft some time to move on from their successes of the PC era, the company has now admittedly adopted a more liberal attitude toward optimising its software for different platforms.

Another big reveal to come out of the news briefing was a new Microsoft Enterprise Mobility suite (EMS), aimed at organisations requiring a holistic cross-platform access, device and security management solution.

This enterprise technology marks Microsoft's plans for a mobile-first and cloud-first future. The EMS will operate with a combination enhanced versions of Azure Active Directory Premium, Windows Intune and Azure Rights Management Services, and will work across Android, iOS and Windows platforms.

The EMS will redefine the management capabilities of large organisations with a high-level of employees implementing BYOD, eliminating restrictions on operating systems, and providing more acute individual measurement of mobile activity from the cloud.

Video via Office Videos