For years now, Microsoft has been mulling over the possibilities of bringing the incredibly useful and almost entirely necessary productivity software, Microsoft Office to Apple iPads. Surely, this step would be like matching peanut butter with jelly, Sundays with football, Kim Kardashian with Paparazzi… eh, you get the point. It’s a concept that’s been long overdue. Well, it’s finally happening folks. MS Office is officially available on iPad.

In the meantime, all the delaying on Microsoft’s part has caused iPad users everywhere to seek alternative productivity software to use for their touchscreen love affair. Products like Evernote, Smartsheet, and more have been where iPad users have been turning for their office-style productivity needs. What remains to be seen now is, will Office for iPad mean an inevitable end for these applications? Or, did it lose considerable market share permanently by allowing users to get too comfortable with those alternative products?

Industry analysts certainly already seem to have formed an opinion because Microsoft shares have been up, up, and away ever since the news came down the technology pipeline about the software release finally happening.

Undoubtedly, this perennial pause by the Gates-led industry giant was mostly due to the fact that Microsoft’s corporate strategy had always been to make Windows an arguably irreplaceable operating system, and not wanting to make Mac OS any more attractive of an option than it absolutely had to be. Let’s not forget that at one time MS Office wasn’t available for Mac users either. So, the slowness to allow iPad users the popular productivity tool is not too surprising after all.

What the release of MS Office does indicate is a shift in Microsoft strategy. Most likely understanding that tablets are accelerating in growth at a record pace, Microsoft recognized the need to make Office available to the iPad. It is the most popular tablet by a technological landslide. So, Microsoft would otherwise run the risk of the application getting lost in the shuffle eventually. Tablets are only going to increase in popularity and Office needs to be there or it could become the next BetaMax.

Whatever the reason, releasing Office for the massive amount of iPad users in the market will undoubtedly be a huge benefit to Microsoft, Apple, and all the consumers of each company.

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