SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft unveiled a version of its popular Office software suite for iPad tablets Thursday as the company's new CEO moved to expand its "Internet cloud" footprint.
Microsoft (IW 500/16) CEO Satya Nadella laid out a vision of making the company the master of programs and services offered in the cloud for whatever gadgets people prefer.
The U.S. technology titan underscored that goal with the release of Office software tailored for iPads made by longtime rival Apple (IW 500/4).
"Today is the first step on a journey to make this a great innovation vector for all of Microsoft," Nadella said in his first press briefing since taking the helm of the company. "We are committed to making our applications run cross-platform."
The news comes with Microsoft's Surface having only limited impact in the fast-growing tablet market led by Apple and its iPad.
Nadella said he was intent on putting Microsoft's software in the position of underpinning Internet lifestyles no matter what devices come into vogue.
"The world in the next five to 10 years will not be defined by the form factors we know and love today," Nadella said. "New form factors will be birthed at a rapid pace, and everything we do will be digitized."
As screens, sensors, and chip-infused devices weave ever deeper into lifestyles, Microsoft can play to its software strengths in areas such as machine learning, cloud services, and data security, according to Nadella.
Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as Microsoft chief executive in February, and the market is keen to learn his plans to keep the company relevant in a world rapidly shifting from personal computers to mobile devices.
"It's been 52 days for me, but who's counting?" Nadella quipped at the briefing. "Perhaps the most striking thing for me is that despite having spent most of my adult life at Microsoft, you see things from a very fresh set of eyes."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014