Apple CEO Tim Cook thinks that Microsoft should have shipped Office for the iPad long before this past quarter.
“I believe if it would have been done earlier, it would have been better for Microsoft, frankly,” he said on Apple’s quarterly earnings conference call today.
While he’s happy to have Microsoft’s productivity suite on the iPad, Cook said Microsoft’s delay in launching Office for Apple’s tablet has allowed other productivity software to flourish. That includes Apple’s iWork suite, which the company made available for free to new purchasers of Macs, iPhones and iPads last year.
Microsoft released Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad last month. Each of the apps are free to download, though they require an active Office 365 subscription to do more than view documents created by Microsoft’s productivity suite.
Users have been asking for a version of Office on the iPad since the Apple tablet’s launch, and while it’s clear that there’s still significant demand for Microsoft’s suite, the Redmond company allowed a variety of other apps to fill the needs of iPad users in areas including notetaking and collaboration.
That said, Cook is happy to have Office on his company’s tablet, especially as the iPad continues to make inroads in the enterprise market. The way he sees it, Office is still a “key franchise” in the enterprise market, and having it on the iPad is a boon. Cook spoke positively about the reception that Office for iPad received from consumers, and said that he “wholeheartedly” welcomes it to the App Store.