Microsoft Office, the 90 pound gorilla of software applications, has finally landed on iOS, the fierce rival to its own Windows Phone platform. That’s right: Microsoft Office on iOS. What’s next – Android? The news, which almost seems a little too good to be true, were confirmed by a quiet app store launch. No fanfare, no PR announcement. A blink and you could have well missed it.
So what’s the catch? Unfortunately, there is no iPad version available just yet, so don’t ditch your laptop or PC. This decision seems quite bizarre given how the device is much better suited to using a spreadsheet or word processor than a smartphone. Presumably, the software giant would prefer users to use one of their own tablets or web apps instead.
You also need a subscription to use the app. Bummer. But still, being able to look at Powerpoint documents, create new spreadsheets and type reports on the go is still useful. You can save through the cloud and easily edit e-mail attachments. An Office 365 subscription includes free Skype calls, increased SkyDrive storage and other benefits.
Aside from an Office 365 subscription, what else do you need? Your iOS device needs to be upgraded to version 6.1 or higher. You can also install it on your iPod Touch should you so wish. The Office app can be installed on up to five devices, not including your own.
Office on iOS could have been better if it wasn’t for the subscription requirement. The lack of iPad support makes the deal even worse since it excludes a significant number of users. Many organisations have invested in the iPad for their company and this locks out a major market.
Perhaps the app will get better as time goes on, but, for now, it’s just not worth it.