Microsoft Office for iPad has been a favorite subject of the rumor mill for almost as long as the iPad has been around. Today the rumors are no more, as Satya Nadella used his first event as the company's CEO to announce the first "real" version of Office for iPad.
Starting today, iPad owners can visit the App Store to download individual apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The apps are free, but with a catch: you'll need an Office 365 subscription to create and edit documents. If you aren't subscribed to Microsoft's cloud-licensed version of Office, then you can only read and present your docs. Office 365 subscriptions start at US$7 a month for a personal, one-computer license.
The apps are much closer to full-fledged desktop Office than anything we've seen before on iOS or Android. Last year the company released a scaled-down Office 365 app (also requiring a subscription) for the iPhone and Android.
The move has been a long time coming from Microsoft. The years it took the company to launch apps for the world's most popular tablet left mobile opportunities for rivals like Google Docs/Drive, Apple's own iWork, and Office clones from a host of smaller startups. As Office is still the overwhelming industry standard, though, it's easy to see this quickly becoming one of the most popular apps on iOS.
You can download the app from the second source link, and see the new apps in action in Microsoft's launch video below.