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What Microsoft has done in the last eight months under new CEO Satya Nadella has been stunning when you consider it in the context of the company’s entwined strands of Windows-and-Office DNA.
When he took on the CEO’s job earlier this year, Nadella promised to bring Office to all devices — even those audacious enough to run on iOS or Android rather than Windows. To say that [company]Apple[/company] and Android devices were viewed as the enemy by the previous administration would be a supreme understatement. In March, [company]Microsoft[/company] debuted Office for iPad.
This week Microsoft delivered further on that promise, enabling iOS and Android users to create, view or edit documents in Word, Excel or Powerpoint for free. The apps also work with Dropbox storage as well as Microsoft’s own OneDrive.
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 6, 2014
That is directly contrary to the worldview of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who was famous for saying Windows is “the air we breathe.” Not only that, under Nadella Windows Azure morphed into Microsoft Azure.
In effect, Microsoft is decoupling Windows and Office, the twin towers that drove its software success.
Not only is Microsoft putting its cash cow applications (or at least stripped down versions of them) on non-Windows devices, it apparently will launch the tablet version of Office on Android before the touch-first version of Office for Windows. And with that, another Ballmer mantra, “First and best on Windows,” would bite the dust.
To get a taste of the debate as to whether Microsoft’s OS and applications are on the way out or about to see a resurgence, check out the comments on this story.