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Report: Microsoft to Unveil Office for iPad, in Big Mobile Move

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will hold his first press conference next Thursday, and according to multiple reports, he'll unveil a version of Office for iPad.

Microsoft sent members of the press an invitation late Monday for an event "focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing" on March 27 in San Francisco. The event will be webcast.

According to sources from tech blog The Verge, Nadella will announce an Office suite that is compatible with Apple's iPad. (A Reuters article said Office for iPad "may" be the big news.)

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment on those rumors. "We have nothing further to share," she told NBC News.

If the Office for iPad reports are correct, it could finally quell critics who have slammed Microsoft for being slow-footed in the mobile space. The company delayed putting Office on competitors' mobile platforms, even as devices like smartphones and tablets have quickly overtaken the PC.

That left room for competitors like Evernote and Dropbox to become go-to apps for productivity on mobile devices.

Image: The Microsoft logo is seen at their offices in Bucharest in this file photo
The Microsoft logo is seen at their offices in Bucharest on March 20, 2013. BOGDAN CRISTEL / Reuters, file

Microsoft finally launched Office Mobile for the iPhone last June, available and free only for customers who pay to subscribe to Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-based Office program. (According to The Verge, Office for iPad would also require an Office 365 account.)

Nadella, who ascended to the Microsoft CEO role last month, has focused on boosting the company's mobile offerings.

Last week the company announced a new "personal" version of Office 365 for $70 per year, which lets users connect one device (compared with $100 annually for a premium subscription that allows Office on five devices). Analysts suspected that meant Office for iPad could be coming soon. Then, on Monday, Microsoft released a Mac version of its cloud-based note-taking app OneNote.

Nadella's comments next week will come just a few days before Microsoft's developer conference, Build, kicks off April 2. Microsoft is expected to reveal the new version of Windows, along with a possible Surface mini tablet, a Siri voice-assistant rival called "Cortana" and other products.