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Microsoft Office for iPad? After roughly three years of rumors and bogus launch windows, the whole project had started to seem like a myth. But today the Redmond computing company finally launched the iPad version of its widely used office suite, including its signature programs Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The launch was announced earlier this morning by Satya Nadella, who took over as CEO in the wake of Steve Ballmer's departure.
You can download all three for free from the iTunes App Store right now; the drawback is that you can only create and edit documents if you have a subscription to Office 365. (There's 30-day trial mode for the $10 monthly service if you're curious about how it works.) That shouldn't be a problem, however, if you simply want to open Word documents you receive through e-mail or display the Office projects you created on a desktop computer for a presentation. The service will back up documents through Microsoft's own OneDrive service.
Microsoft has been dropping hints about a possible Office suite for iPad ever since the device first appeared in 2010, and by 2012 the now-defunct The Daily claimed it had screenshots of a prototype for the app. Legitimate or not, Microsoft denied those claims.
The service follows last year's release of Office 365 for iOS, although then as now, many commentators suggest that the ideal time for the suite's appearance on iOS has come and gone. In the wake of so long an absence, many other developers have stepped up to produce workable alternatives.
Tim Cook publicly endorsed the launch on Twitter this afternoon, also taking the opportunity to welcome Nadella to his new position, and Nadella expressed his thanks shortly thereafter. Cook and company certainly have cause to be excited: according to recent news from Re/code, Apple gets a 30 percent cut of all Office 365 subscriptions used to access the new iPad suite.
Follow these links to download Word, Excel, and PowerPoint respectively.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.