NY Times’ Pogue: Microsoft’s Office Mobile for iPhone is very little, very late

“Office for iPhone is big news, but not because the software is earthshaking,” David Pogue writes for The New York Times. “No, it’s a big deal primarily because of the politics of the situation — the optics, as public relations people say. Here is Microsoft — the once-mighty software global overlord, years into its repeated failures to produce a successful smartphone — creating an app that lets you edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on the gadget that defeated it, the iPhone. It’s as if somewhere along the line, Microsoft executives started wearing ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em’ T-shirts.”

Pogue writes, “You can’t buy the Office Mobile app outright. It’s free with your paid subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 plan, which costs $100 a year. It’s a service that lets you download Word, Excel and PowerPoint to up to five Mac or Windows computers… That’s why its impressively clunky full name is Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers… Office Mobile is a nice perk for Office 365 subscribers. It’s simply and fluidly designed. And it’s a cinch to learn. You’d never guess that it’s the distant relative of a software suite that’s about as svelte and lovely as Jabba the Hutt. But as an iPhone version of Microsoft Office, it’s almost ridiculously limited.”

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“Surprisingly enough, the Internet is teeming with Office apps for the iPhone — made by non-Microsoft companies. Better ones, more complete ones, no-subscription-required ones. For example, Apple’s own Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps ($10 each) can edit Office documents,” Pogue writes. “And you don’t need any extra software to open and read, but not edit, Office documents. The iPhone can do that all by its little self. In the end, then, Office Mobile for iPhone is very little, very late. Its non-Microsoft competitors are already far more useful.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The longer Microsoft’s management fails to grasp reality, the steeper their oh-so-deserved decline.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Rainy Day” for the heads up.]


  1. Ten years ago we said “In a world without walls of fences, who needs Windows or Gates?”

    Well now you see that without walls, fences, windows or gates, you can’t make a very good office.

    If anyone else can make that idea sound cooler, please do.

    1. @Tflint: I had mixed feelings about the Adobe rental model too, but admittedly didn’t think it thru to why I felt so. I left it at if it made CS obtainable to those that can drop $1,000s all at once maybe it’s a good thing. And didn’t think about it further since my company gave me CS6 Web necessary to do my job. Not to ask you to do my thinking for me, I just didn’t see or get that renting was a bad thing or sign, why did you walk from Adobe & MS for renting? What does it signify to you? Interested.

      1. companies that are “renting” their products are the ones who’s current business model is destine to fail. At least they’ll be unable to maintain the status quo without some new cash cow. Pretty board stroke of the ol’ brush here, but…..If software makers are unable to create compelling reasons to “upgrade”, ie purchase again, their software, they are toast. And more useless features/bloatware does not equal compelling, But, if you can “trick” enough people into believing this subscription thing is the ticket, they’ve created a constant flow of money. How much, of course, remains to be seen. When this too pisses backwards on them all, watch the world class back pedaling.

        1. Agree about the cash flow, don’t know enough about whether renting is indicative of meltdown. But as a long time CS user, I was concerned about the cost. It’s the most expensive, by far, software I own. So.. to me, as I said, it “seemed” that perhaps Adobe realized how many folks were prohibited from getting their CS software, how much was also being pirated as a result, and came up with the rental idea/defense. It seemed kind of logical in a way. I know a few people doing it that could never have come close to buying CS. But if there’s more under the hood as you suggest, we’ll see. I thought Steve’s condemnation of Flash and bold move to prevent Apple devices from viewing Flash animation would be of more concern to Adobe. Apple is not big enough that Flash users need to take this into consideration and either convert existing Flash and then there is no benefit to using Flash moving forward IMHO. But perhaps with Apple’s Flash boycott and the rental thing meaning a problem, you’re on to something and Adobe has problems. For you web developers reading this, if any of you ever used GoLive before Dreamweaver, you know GL was far superior (I was on the beta team) and we were all shocked not just that Adobe killed GL, but more that they didn’t take some of the amazing features and port them over to DW, and didn’t. But we could completely hi-jack this thread and get into a roaring Adobe bashing session I’m sure, which was not my intent and not proper. Apologies for taking it this far. After all this thread is supposed to be about MS rentals. But if there’s anything to be learned from Adobe renting as regards MS renting, then it’s pertinent hopefully. I’ve done just fine without Office on my iPad and iPhones using Apple’s software and also DocsToGo and I know there are others too. As someone said here, a little too little, too late re: Office. Unlike Adobe which is cost prohibitive, Office is not. So I don’t get why you can’t just buy Office for your mobile device, or if they insist rent it without being part of a package. No THAT is dumb 😀

  2. Actually MDN, Microsoft is in support of trying other solutions and not relying on one platform because doing so could cut you off from future innovations.

      1. Obscure; pretty much how some Windows dialogue boxes are worded. Most are just stilted but some seem almost malicious.

        More than once a Vista alert stopped me cold, and drove me to a console to research it. What a waste of time!

      2. It is what Robyn Hines, senior director of state government affairs for Microsoft, said (more or less) when trying to convince L.A. Unified to not just purchase iPads buy their tablets as well.

    1. No they aren’t. They believe in only offering things on their own platform (I don’t blame them) and then if enough people scream they *might* deliver a second rate solution that delivers just enough functionality that it works but leaves you feeling like the Windows version is better.

      They have always done this.

  3. “For example, Apple’s own Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps ($10 each) can edit Office documents …”

    Great apps.

    That said, Apple should spend some of that idle cash to blow Microsoft and Adobe software out of the water.

  4. Dinosaurs at the end of their era are always myopic, watching their own footprints as they guard their personal space.

    No danger Ballmer will read this and tilt his head up.

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