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Microsoft CEO Said to Unveil Office for IPad on March 27

Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp. Source: Microsoft Corp. via Bloomberg

Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella will begin unveiling his vision for the company when he debuts a version of Office for Apple Inc.’s iPad and offer some features of the application for free at an event next week, said people with knowledge of the announcement.

The Redmond, Washington-based company will introduce Office for the iPad with limited capabilities that can be upgraded to premium versions requiring a subscription to the Office 365 Internet-based software, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. At the event, which will be held March 27 in San Francisco, Nadella will also discuss his commitment to software services that work on Microsoft’s Windows and rival operating systems, the people said yesterday.

The event will be Nadella’s first public appearance at a product rollout since he was appointed Microsoft CEO last month, replacing Steve Ballmer. His presence underscores how the company, whose Windows software remains a mainstay on personal computers, is trying to catch up in the mobile-software market. Microsoft released a paid version of Office for the iPhone last year and has various iPad applications, yet is grappling with how to balance helping Windows succeed on devices while selling software for rival products that dominate the market.

Twin Priorities

In his first day as CEO last month, Nadella emphasized Microsoft’s focus on devices and cloud services and said those priorities would “define Microsoft going forward.” An official invitation to next week’s event also described it as a “briefing and news focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing.”

Dawn Beauparlant, a spokeswoman for Microsoft, declined to comment. Office for iPad was earlier reported by technology blog The Verge.

The March 27 event precedes Microsoft’s Build confab for Windows software developers, which will take place in San Francisco starting April 2. At Build, Microsoft plans to introduce an updated Windows Phone 8.1, as well as its rival to Apple’s Siri voice-controlled assistant, which is code-named Cortana, said the people familiar with the matter.

Microsoft opted for two separate events since Build is focused on Windows developers and didn’t seem to be the right place for a product rollout focused on Apple users, said the people.

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