After years of waiting, Microsoft has taken the plunge and opened up Office to the iOS platform. There’s only one catch for now – it’s only available for Office 365 subscribers. This is an online service that lets users access Office applications via the web.
This move could be the start of a new partnership between the two rivals. Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, was chosen by Apple at the WWDC to power Siri search results. Whether we will see any more fruits of the this partnership remains to be seen.
Currently, this move is only designed to encourage more users to try the Office 365 service. The cheapest package costs from a little over £10 a month and Apple will get a cut of any sales made on its platform.
Both companies have a lot to gain, especially since iOS is one of the most popular mobile platforms and could help boost the app’s sales significantly.
Bear in mind, though, that isn’t like the Microsoft Office users might be familiar with. The app’s features have been pared down to make use of the iPhone’s relatively small screen.
Only Word and Excel documents can be created with the app. Microsoft insists that any document opened in the new app will retain all the features of the original, including animations and charts.
Saving is done through the cloud and you can retrieve documents when devices are synched. Any changes made through the app are shown when you retrieve your documents.
The new Office app is designed to work seamlessly with e-mail. Any attachments will be able to be opened on your iPhone and edited immediately. Documents can be accessed without an internet connection since they are cached locally.
The app is currently free for Office 365 subscribers in the US – who can use it on up to 5 iPhones. Microsoft will be expanding the service worldwide in the coming weeks and months.