In a surprise move, the U.S. online Apple Store now presents Microsoft Office 365 as a recommended iPad accessory when you buy the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It’s unclear when this started happening, as The Verge notes that it also appears when purchasing the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, or iPad mini 4, but some readers report having seen it for a couple of weeks or more.

The move is surprising for two reasons …


First, that Apple is recommending competitor productivity software over its own iWork suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote – all provided free. Second, that Apple is offering an Office subscription to iPad buyers when the apps are already available free of charge for viewing and basic editing – though 12.9-inch owners miss out.

After years of promoting iWork apps as a serious alternative to Microsoft Office, Apple now appears to be tacitly suggesting that if you want to really do productive work, you need the real thing.

The recommendation is not currently showing up on the UK site.

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