There was some Big news for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) investors this week. Particularly, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) finally brought its Office productivity suite to iPad and the Apple rumor mill has some more details on the iPhone 6.
Apple's stock outperformed the market during the week with a 0.75% gain versus the S&P 500's 0.5% decline. The outperformance helped Apple finish 1.5 percentage points ahead of the S&P 500 in March.
Office for iPad
In the first major strategic move under recently appointed CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft finally launched Office for iPad. For Microsoft, this is a sign the company is likely taking on a multiplatform strategy, aiming to bring its software and applications to every platform.
Since the iPad was originally launched in 2010, Microsoft has hoarded the world's most popular productivity suite from Apple's iOS in hopes that it would give the company a competitive advantage. The move wasn't effective. Not only has iOS grown by leaps and bounds with Apple's iPad remaining the world's most popular tablet, but PC sale sales are declining as the overall important tablet market soars -- and Microsoft's Surface tablet has failed to gain traction.
A fast-changing competitive environment has brought on other key drivers that likely played a role in convincing Microsoft to finally launch Office for iPad. For instance, as tablets improve and end-users spend increasingly more time on them, they are becoming better devices for productivity. Also, an onslaught of free competitive productivity software from Google, Apple, and others tablets have created a new threat to Microsoft's Office.
While the Office apps can be downloaded from the iPad app store and activated without cost for users that already have an Office 365 subscription, users without a 365 subscription can pay from within the app. These in-app subscriptions won't receive any special treatment from Apple; Microsoft will still have to pay a 30% cut to Apple for every purchase made within the app.
The latest iPhone 6 details
Apple may launch the new iPhone 6 "as early as September," according to Japanese business newspaper Nikkei (via MacRumors). The iPhone will come in two display sizes, Nikkei asserts: 4.7 and 5.5 inches. Manufacturers are already making some parts for the new iPhone lineup, according to Nikkei.
A report from The Korea Herald earlier this year predicted that the iPhone 6 will have bezel-free edges that enable an edge-to-edge display.
The investor takeaway
As far as the iPhone 6 rumors go, it's at least reaffirming to hear that production for Apple's most important product line may be under way.
Microsoft's decision to bring Office to iOS is excellent news for Apple shareholders. Not only does the move strengthen Apple's ecosystem of products (especially the iPad), but it signals that Microsoft and Apple may be working together more frequently in the future. As the world's most powerful software giant, Microsoft is an excellent player to have on your team.
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