March 18 - Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella may bring new change to Microsoft by offering a version of Office for the iPad. Analysts say the lack of an Office version for the iPad may have robbed Microsoft of $2.5 billion in revenues. Fred Katayama reports.
A new era of a more open Microsoft? A source tells Reuters, CEO Satya Nadella may do on March 27 what was once deemed unthinkable by some at Mister Softy: introduce its Office software suite for archrival Apple's iPad. This would follow Monday's move to make its note-taking software OneNote available to users of Apple's Mac computers. Investors and consumers have been waiting for an iPad version for years, and some have moved to mobile-friendly alternatives. Analysts say the lack of an iPad version has robbed Microsoft of $2.5 billion in annual revenues. Some media reports say Microsoft will launch a free version with limited functionality and fully-featured version that requires a paid subscription to Microsoft Office 365. Bernstein Research figures that if 10 percent of iPad users were to subscribe to Office, that could pad Microsoft's annual consumer Office revenue by up to $1.5 billion; 20 percent would add up to $3 billion. Bernstein senior analyst Mark Moerdler doesn't think the move would hurt Windows, saying, "We do not believe that Microsoft offering Office on the iPad will have any significant impact on Microsoft's Windows franchise." Some investors apparently agree. They bid up Microsoft shares at the market open, adding to its 36 percent gain over the last 12 months.