Microsoft shares jump on speculation that Office is coming to iPad


Microsoft Office may finally be coming to the iPad.  (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

It turns out that people really, really want to see Microsoft Office on the iPad.

As rumors circulated that the tech giant may finally release a new version of Office for the iPad this month, shares of Microsoft rose 4 percent in Tuesday trading. That took the firm as high as $39.90 — a price the company hasn't seen since the year 2000. Shares closed at $39.55.

Reuters, citing an anonymous "source familiar" with Microsoft's plans, reported Monday evening that new Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella will be announcing the major release in his first public event as CEO on March 27.  A report from Re/Code noted that Microsoft said the event will include a "“briefing and news focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing."

The event follow Microsoft's Monday announcement that it would make its cloud-based note-taking app, OneNote, available on Macs, and that it was also making the program free for all devices.

Cloud, of course, is Nadella's strong suit — before becoming Microsoft CEO last month, he ran its cloud and enterprise group — and moving one of Microsoft's biggest money makers onto a competitor's device is a fairly strong commitment to putting its mobile and cloud ambitions front and center.

That's an important move for the firm as it seems its traditional strength in desktop software drop along with growth for the PC market. Nadella's predecessor, Steve Ballmer, was roundly criticized for failing to ride the mobile and cloud wave early enough — something that Ballmer himself acknowledged this month as a fair criticism of his time as CEO.

When Nadella was named as Microsoft's new CEO, analysts said he would have to move quickly to show that he wasn't going to fall into a similar trap, particularly since he was promoted from within the company. And he has made some big moves in his short tenure, announcing March 2 that he was reorganizing his senior leadership team.

That reorganization saw the departure of two top executives and changed the duty for a third, Mark Penn, to shift away from marketing in favor of a focus on competitive research and analysis.

 

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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