Why Apple is happy to promote Office for iPad - it's getting a cut

Apple began promoting Microsoft's release of Office for iPad to the iTunes App Store on Thursday with a headlining image touting the apps' launch. It may seem a bit odd for Apple to do this, given its own iWork suite is made available, but when money comes into play it all makes sense.

Microsoft will abide by the same rules other developers on the iTunes App Store have to when it comes to revenue cuts. While the Office for iPad app is free, it requires an Office 365 subscription to edit documents. An Apple spokesperson confirmed to Recode that Apple will be receiving a 30 per cent cut if an Office 365 subscription is purchased within the Microsoft app. 

Obviously, Apple won't get a cut of Office 365 subscriptions sold elsewhere - only if they're sold through the Office app. And this is probably why Apple is playing "Mr. Nice Guy" with the Office for iPad launch.

“Welcome to the iPad and AppStore,” Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said in a message to his 430,000 Twitter followers.

“Thanks @tim_cook, excited to bring the magic of @Office to iPad customers,” Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, replied in a tweet. 

The release of Office for iPad has been long awaited by iPad users, with requests dating back to as early as the iPad's initial launch in April 2010. 

Nadella explained why the release took so long in an interview session with reporters at Microsoft's San Francisco event on Thursday: “We’ve been obviously working on this for a while. The thing we wanted to get most right was the combination of what I would call the combination of the app, the enterprise architecture, the developer APIs, and then marry it with the device and what you expect from the device. It’s not just a trivial thing, let’s port Word for Windows to a particular device.”

The Office for iPad app contains separate iPad apps for Word, PowerPoint and Excel and each links with a OneDrive or SharePoint account to save documents to the cloud, but you can also store files on an iPad itself. The overall design throughout is typical Microsoft, with a ribbon across the top, which gives it a very PC feel. However, it is very much not a ported experience and the company is keen to stress that this is an all-new experience.

An Office 365 subscription is priced at $99.99/£79.99 a year, giving you not only iPad access, but unrestricted use of the Windows and Mac versions of the software too.

“We’re excited that Office is coming to iPad — now part of the more than 500,000 apps designed specifically for iPad. iPad has defined a new category of mobile computing and productivity and transformed the way the world works,” Apple said in a statement. “Office for iPad joins an incredible lineup of productivity apps like iWork, Evernote and Paper by FiftyThree, that users can choose from to inspire them to do more with this powerful device.”



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