Apple's Cook touts Microsoft Office for iPad, says it could have come sooner

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Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday said that Microsoft's Office for iPad is a "key franchise" in enterprise, an area where Apple is pushing for tablet dominance, but admitted the software could have come a bit sooner.

While Cook offered a good deal of praise for Office, saying Microsoft's productivity suite is a good fit for iPad, the Apple chief tempered his enthusiasm by pointing out how long the Redmond, Wash.-based company took to bring the software over

"Office is still a very key franchise in the enterprise, in particular, and I think having it on the iPad is good," Cook said. "If it had been done earlier, it would have been better for Microsoft frankly."

The long-awaited productivity suite was an instant hit, topping the iOS App Store charts within hours of release and raking in more than 12 million downloads after one week of availability.

Microsoft launched Office for iPad a little over one week ago as a standalone extension of its Office 365 program. Users can download the apps — Word, Excel and PowerPoint — and view documents for free, but editing and saving requires a supported Office 365 subscription.