Satya Nadella Makes Office for iPad His CEO Debut




The launch of Office for iPad has been in the works for years, but what is significant is that newly named CEO Satya Nadella made its launch his first public event.

Microsoft is clearly aiming to show it gets that it is in a world of mobile devices and, much as it would like things to be different, most of those devices aren’t running one of its operating systems.

It also needs to demonstrate that it has a way to make money in this new world. It showed a glimmer of that business model with OneNote for the iPad, which it is making free, though some features will be available only for paid users.

Nadella isn’t just talking Office for iPad though, and is expected to touch more broadly on how Microsoft intends to play a bigger role in the intersection of mobile and the cloud.

Nor does any of this mean Microsoft doesn’t need to get its Windows and Windows Phone house in order. That’s still Job No. 1 for Nadella, with more to come on that front at next week’s Build developer conference, also in San Francisco.

Re/code will have live coverage of the event, which kicks off at 10 am PT.

Ina Fried March 27, 20149:56 am

It’s a relatively modest gathering, maybe 75 folks in the requisite loft-like urban space in downtown San Francisco. No sign of Clippy.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:01 am

Almost ready to start. Told to expect 45 minutes of talky-talk. Then demos.

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And Satya takes the stage, noting it is Day 52 of his tenure. Dark jeans and a short-sleeve black polo. Also quoting T.S. Eliot. (pretty sure Steve Ballmer never did either of those things).

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Nadella notes world of next 10 or 15 years won’t be defined by the shape of computing devices we’ve come to grow and love (and Microsoft has historically profited from, he didn’t add).

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Nadella talking about his first e-mail to Microsoft employees, talking mobile-first, cloud-first.

He starts by addressing the mathematical challenge of two things being first.

“The reality is it is one and the same,” he said. ‘It’s the magical coming together of the mobile and the cloud coming together that we want to talk about today.”

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Nadella says two unique things Microsoft brings — its experience dealing with both people and businesses across a wide range of devices. Also, Microsoft knows how to bring together developers, IT departments and people.

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Positioning Microsoft as working with everyone, across devices.

“We’re not bound in fact to one device, one place and one time,” he said.

Mobile app creators too want to be able to work across platforms, Nadella said.

“Developers are looking for their canvas,” he said., noting the challenge that they face trying to support all the different devices, span business and consumer and scale their business.

“These are all the hard challenges for developers we are stepping up to solve,” Nadella said.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:11 am

Nadella trying to remind the audience that IT people still exist and have to both support workers that want to bring their own devices while still protecting their corporate assets.

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“A cloud for everyone on every device” reads a slide. That’s a big departure from A PC on every desk.

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Demo-er Julia White is showing an iPad with a Word document in native iPad viewer. If I only had the “real office for iPad,” she says.

Well, as of today, you do. Goes live at 11 am in app store. Word Excel, and PowerPoint (No Outlook!)
Ribbon, menus and all… “This is unmistakably Word,” she says, but also works well on a touch and iPad experience.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:16 am

Getting a demo…

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Collaboration built-in so multiple people can work on a document at same time, save to cloud by default, etc.

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The iPad has a reputation for making you look cool. With Excel for iPad, White says you can also look smart.

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Excel has a custom numeric keyboard that pops up in place of the regular keyboard, along with other pop-up menus.

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White is also in hipster-wear with a leather (or at least leather-looking) jacket. Message: This is not your father’s Microsoft.

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Some iPad only features. In PowerPoint. If you touch and hold in a presentation you get what looks like a laser-pointer.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:21 am

Office 365 lets you get Office on any device, White says, showing same presentation on an 85-inch Perceptive Pixel touchscreen.

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Office for iPad has freemium business model. Read and present are free. Office 365 subscription lets you create and edit.

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Office for touch will also come to Windows and other platforms, natch.

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Now she is using a Samsung tablet, showing Windows Intune, which lets IT people allow workers manage their multiple devices. Features include not just adding apps, but wiping a device. One can even remove just the business information off a device, like an iPhone.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:26 am

Now onto a Windows PC, where white is showing a cloud-managed Active Directory using Microsoft Azure (Yes, you read that right. It was Windows Azure until this week. But again, Microsoft trying to say it knows it is more than just Windows)

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:27 am

Over 1,000 apps can work with Active Directory, including AP Stylebook (which –and style purists will cringe–now lets me say over even when I mean more than)

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:28 am

Now allows multi-factor authentication via, say text message or a phone call)

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All this comes together in what Microsoft is calling its Enterprise Mobility Suite (as Mary Jo Foley sleuthed out yesterday).

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:29 am

The device swapping continues at a rapid-fire pace. Now White is on an iPhone, opening DocuSign and accessing a SharePoint server to get Office 365 content.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:30 am

Nadella is back. 

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It’s a lot more than Office for iPad, Nadella says. Office 365 is about having Office on every device. iPad just “one more step” in that direction. “Our commitment going forward is making sure we drive Office 365 everywhere” Web, all phones, all tablets, all PCs. 

Plus there will be APIs allowing better access to data within Office.

High up on the priority list, though, has to be a touch-native version of Office for Windows 8, which now trails the iPad when it comes to touch productivity.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:34 am

Microsoft also allowing single-sign on for iOS developers using Office 365, which Satya says has the opportunity to be the enterprise equivalent of Facebook sign-in.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:36 am

Nadella trying to tie it together and paint the picture that Microsoft has a serious role here. That role is making sure business and personal are connected. “We’re the company that obsesses about that.”

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:38 am

“Today is just one aspect of our strategy,” Nadella said, noting that Microsoft will have more to say–especially on the Windows front–at next week’s Build developer conference.

Where does Windows fit in with all of this?

“Windows is a massive agenda for us. We will innovate.”
At the same time we are absolutely committed to making our applications run cross-platform.

“There is no holding back of anything… There is no trade-off for us. It’s reality.”

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:38 am

Another event, post-build, will talk about Microsoft’s vision with regard to data, Nadella said.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:39 am

That ends the formal part. Demo and mingle time.

Ina Fried March 27, 201410:44 am

Demo-er Julia White is showing an iPad with a Word document in native iPad viewer. If I only had the “real office for iPad,” she says.

Well, as of today, you do. Goes live at 11 am in app store. Word Excel, and PowerPoint (No Outlook!)
Ribbon, menus and all… “This is unmistakably Word,” she says, but also works well on a touch and iPad experience.