Microsoft’s Office for iPad a Hit on Apple’s App Store Charts

App Store 2008

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Office suite of software for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad quickly rocketed to the top of the App Store’s charts soon after being released last Thursday. As reported by Apple Insider, Microsoft Word for iPad, Microsoft Excel for iPad, and Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad have secured the first, second, and third highest spots respectively on the free iPad apps chart.

The Office for iPad apps also had a beneficial spillover effect on Microsoft’s other apps, with the recently redesigned Microsoft OneNote for iPad moving up to the No. 4 spot. Although OneNote had slipped to fifth place by March 30, the three Office for iPad apps have maintained their positions at the top of Apple’s free iPad apps chart.

While the Office for iPad apps are available as free downloads from the App Store, it should be noted that users must subscribe to Microsoft’s Office 365 service in order to unlock the full potential of the apps. The free versions of the apps only allow users to read Word documents, view Excel data, and open PowerPoint presentations. The editing and creating new documents functions are only available with an Office 365 subscription. On the other hand, Microsoft recently made the editing and creating new documents functions available for free on its Office Mobile for iPhone software.

The Office 365 subscription is available as an in-app purchase or can be bought directly from Microsoft outside of the app. In-app Office 365 subscriptions are available for $9.99 per month or $99 per year. According to Recode, an Apple spokesperson has confirmed that it is taking a standard 30 percent cut of Microsoft’s in-app Office 365 subscription sales. This arrangement allows Apple to benefit from the sales of one of its major software rivals.

Office 365 subscriptions purchased directly from Microsoft vary in price depending on the number of users. An Office 365 Home Premium subscription costs $99.99 per year and allows Office to be used on up to five PCs or Macs, plus five iPads or Windows tablets. A Small Business subscription that allows for up to twenty-five enterprise users, but does not include the desktop version of Office, is available for $60.00 per year. However, enterprise users that want the desktop version of Office can get a Small Business Premium subscription for $150.00 per year.

As noted by MacRumors, Microsoft first suggested it was interested in bringing its Office suite of software to Apple’s iPad in early 2010. Some industry watchers have suggested that Apple’s policy of taking a 30 percent cut of all in-app sales may have delayed the release of Office for iPad. Microsoft may have also been hoping that the unavailability of its Office software on Apple’s iPad would help draw more users to its own beleaguered Surface line of tablets.

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