Microsoft to webcast event where Office for iPad may be announced

Starts at 1 p.m. ET from site just blocks away from Macworld/iWorld conference

Microsoft on Thursday will publicly webcast a press event from San Francisco during which many expect CEO Satya Nadella to not only make his first appearance but also announce an upcoming Office for Apple's iPad.

The event, slated to begin at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) and run approximately an hour, will be "focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing," according to invitations that went out last week to reporters and industry analysts.

Microsoft confirmed today that the event will be viewable on the Web by the general public from the company's news home page.

Nadella, who took over the reins at Microsoft seven weeks ago, will provide opening remarks, last week's invitation stated. Although Nadella did an in-house interview on the day he was named CEO, that was hosted by another Microsoft employee and he did not take questions from the audience.

Nadella has not spoken in public since his appointment.

Some analysts' attention will be focused on Nadella, who is also expected to take the stage next week at Microsoft's Build developers conference, which runs April 2-4, also in San Francisco, to hear what he says about the firm's direction. Others will be more interested in the possible announcement of Office on the iPad.

During his first day on the job, Nadella described Microsoft's strategy as "mobile-first, cloud-first."

If Microsoft does introduce Office on the iPad, it will put an end to years of speculation about whether, and if so when, the company dumps its policy of linking the suite with Windows in an effort to bolster the latter's chances on tablets.

The location and timing of Microsoft's event Thursday hint at an Office for iPad announcement: At the same hour and in the same city, Macworld/iWorld -- the March 27-29 Apple-focused conference and trade show -- will kick off at the Moscone Center. Neither Microsoft nor Apple is scheduled to be an exhibitor at the show, which is hosted by IDG World Expo, an arm of IDG, the parent company of both Computerworld and Macworld.

Microsoft will hold its press event just a few blocks from the Moscone Center.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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This story, "Microsoft to webcast event where Office for iPad may be announced" was originally published by Computerworld .

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