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Apple offers Office 365 as option with new iPad Pro

Windows users, Apple really, really wants to see its 9.7-inch iPad Pro in your hands


You can order a side dish of Office 365 with your iPad Pro.


Buyers of Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad Pro can opt to add a subscription to Microsoft's Office 365 suite.

Unveiled Monday at Apple's iPhone event, the new tablet is essentially a smaller version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro introduced last October, minus a few features. One option buyers will see, though, during the ordering process is the ability to purchase a subscription to Office 365. You can add any one of three versions of the Microsoft suite: the Personal edition for $70 per year, the Home edition for $100 per year or the University edition for $80 for four years.

All three editions include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, OneNote, Outlook and Publisher. The Personal edition is geared for a single user, the Home edition allows up to five users and the University edition is licensed for up to two users.

Why sell the product of a competitor when Apple has its own iWork productivity suite? Apple is touting its new iPad Pro as a Windows PC replacement, hoping to entice more buyers as iPad sales continue to decline. Offering Office 365 is one way to convince Windows and Office users to try the tablet and get swept up into the Apple ecosystem.

"We've sold over 200 million iPads with a 9.7-inch display," Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said at Monday's event. "There's a second group of people we'd love to reach with this new iPad Pro. Windows Users."

The new iPad Pro is not alone with its offer to include Office 365. The iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 4 and the iPad Mini 2 also offer Office 365 subscriptions, though only for the Personal and Home editions. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro includes the option to purchase any of the three editions of Office 365.

Microsoft already offers iPhone and iPad users individual free versions of its Office products, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Then why sell a subscription to these programs with an iPad? Well, a subscription to Office 365 lets you run the software on PCs and Macs as well as on smartphones and tablets. So both Apple and Microsoft could benefit from iPad buyers who add in the full Office 365 suite.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.