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January 31, 2013

Microsoft and Apple — a New Battle of the Titans?

Microsoft Releases Office 365, Apple Debuts 128GB iPad

There is no love lost between Microsoft and Apple — that became apparent this week following the release of Office 365, Microsoft’s home premium software.

Office 365 is still not available for Apple’s iPad and it is a subject Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer seems a bit touchy about.

Ballmer was asked at the launch of Office 365 when the product would be available for the iPad — his answer was terse: “I have nothing to say on the topic.”

“We’re very glad with the product, very happy with the product that we’re putting in market,” Ballmer told Business Week. “It makes sense on the devices like the Mac and the PC.

Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer

“We have a product that we think makes a lot of sense. We do have a way for people always to get to Office through the browser, which is very important. And we’ll see what we see in the future.”

Apple announced this week it would launch a 128GB iPad — doubling its current top storage capacity — aimed at business users.

The new Office product would seem to be a perfect fit for the 128GB iPads.

That partnership does not seem likely, however. At least for now.

Apple has been frank about its desire to steal Microsoft’s core business user clientele. The launch of its fourth-generation 128GB iPads, which will go on sale Feb. 5, is proof of that.

The iPad with Wi-Fi will retail for $799 while the Wi-Fi plus cellular model will cost $929. The new devices will hit the market one week before Microsoft’s Surface Windows 8 Pro. The new Surface tablet offers the same amount of storage as Apple’s offerings, but will cost $999.

Phil Schiller

Phil Schiller

Apple senior vice-president of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller’s comments this week about the iPad’s superiority no doubt has added to tensions.

“With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and every day they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” Schiller said in a press release.

“With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs.”

The holdup in bringing Office to iOS could also be Microsoft’s reluctance to pay Apple’s 30-percent commission on apps sold through its App Store.

In fact, negotiations on the subject disrupted Microsoft’s plans to update its SkyDrive app for iOS last year, according to AllThingsD.


Apple debuted its 128GB iPad this week.

The 128GB iPad Specs:

• 9.7-inch Retina display.

• Apple-designed A6X chip.

• FaceTime® HD camera.

• iOS 6.1 and ultrafast wireless performance.

•  iOS 6.1 includes support for additional LTE networks around the world.

• iTunes Match subscribers can download individual songs to their iOS devices from iCloud.

• Runs more than 800,000 apps available on the App Store, including more than 300,000 apps designed specifically for iPad.

• Supports the more than 5,000 newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand, and the more than 1.5 million books available on the iBookstore.

Office 365 Specs: 

On a large touchscreen at the Office 365 Home Premium launch, people demonstrate how to use your fingers to move through pages and notes when you don't have a keyboard.

On a large touchscreen at the Office 365 Home Premium launch, people demonstrate how to use your fingers to move through pages and notes when you don’t have a keyboard.

Customers can pay $99.99 per household annually or $9.99 a month for a subscription to Home Premium version. Users download the software and it is regularly updated from a Microsoft data center.

• The license lets the buyer install the suite on up to five Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs or tablets, and Mac OS computers. Multiple people in the household can use the suite, each with his or her own account.

• Includes major Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher) in downloadable form. Includes upgrades as they are released.

• 20GB of extra SkyDrive space, in addition to the 7GB Microsoft offers for free.

• Includes Office on Demand which enables users to stream Office to Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs that don’t have the suite installed.

• An hour of Skype calls to landlines monthly.

Other New Versions:
• Office Home & Student 2013 can be installed on only one Windows or Mac OS computer for a one-time price of $139.99.

• Office Professional 2013 can be installed on only one Windows or Mac OS computer for a one-time price of $399.99.

• Office 365 University for post-secondary students and teachers can be installed on up to two Windows or Mac OS computers for a $79.99 four-year subscription. The program offers the same features and components as Office 365 Home Premium.