Anyone wondering how popular Microsoft’s Office for iPad would be at its launch should wonder no more. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote currently occupy the top four places on the Top Free iPad Apps less than a day after they launched.
It’s a good sign for Microsoft’s new tablet offering, which the company built from the ground up to work with the iPad. It’s also a testament to the power of the Office brand, even as companies like Apple and Google look to unseat Microsoft’s dominance over workplace productivity.
It probably helps matters that Office for iPad is, at first glance, a really capable suite of apps that run well and provide functionality that Office users have been looking for on their Apple tablets. While Apple offers its iWork productivity suite for free, users have to convert their Office documents to work with Apple’s apps, and then export them to an Office-readable format if they want to get them out of iWork.
While it’s too early to draw significant conclusions about how this might affect Microsoft’s bottom line, it seems like a good sign for Microsoft’s new strategy to put Office on as many devices as it can. The company still plans to bring touch-ready versions of Office to more devices, including Windows 8.1 tablets and Android tablets, and today’s App Store success paves the way for future developments.
Microsoft’s success is also good news for Apple: Microsoft, as an App Store developer, will have to give Apple 30 percent of any Office 365 subscription sales it makes through the iPad apps. With a year of Office 365 Home costing $99.99, that’s a sweet chunk of change for Apple.