SAN FRANCISCO -- In his first press conference since becoming Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella announced that the company's popular Windows Office software is now available on Apple's iPad, a move many analysts said should have been done years ago.

Nadella, who was named to replace chief executive Steve Ballmer on Feb. 4, said the decision to allow Windows on a competitor's device is part of his strategy to increase Microsoft's appeal on a variety of mobile devices.

"It's a beautiful set of applications," he said of Office on the iPad.

Many industry experts believe that to gain traction in mobile devices and keep its sales growing, Microsoft needs to put greater emphasis on so-called cloud, or Internet-based, services for businesses and other enterprises, and to embrace alternatives to Windows.

They see Nadella as well suited to steer the software giant in a new direction.

"We see early encouraging signs," said analysts with UBS Investment Research, in a note to their clients this week. "After visiting Microsoft and speaking with insiders as well as outside close observers, we are confident Nadella is the right person to lead Microsoft.''

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