Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has maintained an Outperform rating along with a price target of $590 by Cowen and Company following the big news Thursday of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) releasing an Office suite for the iPad tablet. Analyst Timothy Arcuri notes that iWork from Apple has been getting popular, and the launch of Office from Microsoft is a positive move from the point of view of hardware demand, “but the impact is likely muted.”

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Substantial number of trial expected from Apple iPad users

The analyst expects “a substantial number of user experience “trial” for Office download” across the iPad user base of 200 million unit. The entire tablet market is expected to undergo a significant change following the launch of a bigger iPhone in the third quarter, and a larger tablet, probably in the fourth quarter. The devices will have all the functionality of a notebook including Office.

Overall, the analyst believes that Office for iPad will be a “mild positive for units,” and the new products will bring more real “excitement” for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Yesterday, at the conference, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) executives showed a new “touch-first” version of Office created for iPad. The app is freely downloadable, but a subscription is required for users to create or edit documents. In must be noted that executives demoed none of the software on Windows machines.

Positive change from Microsoft

Microsoft Office for iPad has been made available to iPad users from Thursday. The latest move is a positive deviation from Microsoft’s previous Windows focused policies. Previously, it has been noticed that the software giant was reluctant to move away from its signature PC operating system.

In the latest move from Microsoft, strategy is more important than technology. Office for iPad marks the growing efforts by the software company to transform into a leading services company across multiple platforms. The strategy is certainly at the expense of Windows and its own Surface tablet, but it’s worth it.

Analysts believe that by not having an Office version for iPad, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has lost billions of dollars in revenue. If 10% of the iPad user base subscribes to Office, it will add $1.1 billion to $1.5 billion in revenues for Microsoft, said Bernstein Research analyst Mark Moerdler in a note earlier this month.