If You Like Office For IPad, Thank Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer AP

One of the first big things that Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella did was release the much-awaited Office for iPad.

It was shocking that Microsoft released the new touch-friendly version of Office for an Apple device before it was available for Windows 8.

Nadella was praised for the decision, but the truth is, he wasn’t the guy responsible.

“The decision to ship Office for iPad was made before Satya became CEO. Steve Ballmer approved the plan to ship Office for iPad,” the Office for iPad team said during an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit on Tuesday.

We had heard rumours that Ballmer was originally hesitant to release Office for iPad before Windows 8, but by the end of last year he had bowed to pressure from the Office team and agreed to release it whenever it was ready.

The interesting thing about this news is that it means Nadella might not be pushing Microsoft in brand-new directions. He’s actually still following a path that had begun before Ballmer left.

As for when the touch-friendly Office for Windows 8 will appear, Microsoft isn’t talking. Word is it will be out later this year. But at the Microsoft Build developer conference held in San Francisco earlier this month, Microsoft offered no details.

Microsoft did show off a demo of the touch-friendly version of PowerPoint. But it had also previewed PowerPoint a year earlier, at its 2013 Build developer conference . So showing off that app doesn’t mean it’s on the cusp of shipping it.

Rumour has it, Office for Windows 8 will arrive later this year, and most tech pundits believe it will have more features than the version for iPad. For instance, you can’t print a document from the iPad version, though the iPad team did promise that it was working on that feature, saying: “Print is a high demand feature that we intend to introduce in due course.”

It seems likely that Office touch for Windows 8 will be able to print documents right out of the box, and, probably, do other things not available in the iPad version