Pent up demand? Curiosity? Something new to download? It makes no difference to Microsoft and Apple why it happened but Microsoft announced today that 12 million copies of its Office for iPad had been downloaded in the first week of availability. The numbers include downloads of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote. There’s no word yet on how many of those downloads translated into new Office 365 subscriptions. In order to use the new Apps for more than viewing documents an Office 365 subscription is required. The retail price is $99 per year or $9.99 per month, although there are cheaper options to be found.
12 million sounds like a big number, and it is. But for some context it is important to note that there is no single download that brings each of those Apps to your iPad. So customers downloading both Word and Excel, for example, will be counted as two downloads.
Given the vast number of Microsoft Office users out there, early large numbers of downloads are no real surprise. The real measurements will come once we see how many new Office 365 subscriptions have been sold since the release of the new Apps on March 27. Assuming that data is made available.
Keep in mind that Apple’s App Store policies mean that Apple receives 30% of any sale. Microsoft’s “freemium” offering for these new Apps mean that some users will opt to purchase an Office 365 subscription through an in-App purchase. And given that Microsoft has been reporting good sales volume for Office 365 (3.5 million Home Premium users as of January, 2104) prior to this new App release, certainly quite a few of those who downloaded the new free Apps already had an Office 365 account ready to go.