Microsoft Office on iPad: Too little too late?

“Well, it’s happening: Microsoft is bringing elements of its Office suite, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, to iPad in a bid to win over the ever expanding tablet user base, which has largely been neglected by Redmond,” Max Slater-Robins writes for TechRadar. “Whether Office on iPad is a success or not remains to be seen, but will rely heavily on the way Microsoft chooses to implement the app(s). We can’t know the implementation that Microsoft will choose to use for Office on iPad, but we know the options. One option is to use Office 365, Microsoft’s subscription service for Office. Microsoft’s Surface devices require Office 365 to run the Office suite hinting at the path Microsoft may choose to take for Office on iPad. For £79.99 (US$99.99, AU$119) a year, or £7.99 (US$9.99, AU$12) a month, Microsoft 365 gives you OneDrive (née SkyDrive) storage, international Skype minutes, all of the Office suite and syncing between devices.”

“It would stand to reason that the iPad version would require this to work, but is it necessarily the best way for Microsoft to go about it?” Slater-Robins writes. “The answer to that question is likely no… A far better alternative would be the more Apple-esque route of charging a small fee per app (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and offering an in-app purchase of Office 365 if the customer wishes to sync documents seamlessly across devices.”

“Whatever Microsoft chooses to announce at its event later this month will be compared directly to Apple’s iWork suite by both technology critics and the general public, a fact Microsoft should be wary of,” Slater-Robins writes. “[Apple’s] apps are free, meaning that anyone can download and compare them to Microsoft’s offerings and users could well decide that Microsoft has delivered too little too late.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

• iPad and iPhone are already firmly ensconced into the Fortune 500 and SMB without Microsoft’s bloated morass of insecure spaghetti-code. The world is rapidly learning that it can live without Office and, by failing to pollute iOS devices with their crapware, Microsoft is spreading the news better than anyone.MacDailyNews, January 30, 2013

• The more people who learn the fact that they do not need Office and the quicker they learn it, the better. For all we care (being 100% Microsoft free for as long as we can remember) wait until you’re dead, Microsoft. The world would be a better place without you and your ilk.MacDailyNews, March 1, 2013

• The longer Microsoft dithers, the more people wake up to the fact that Office is not necessary. iPad is taking the enterprise by storm. No Microsoft Office needed. Take your time, dummies.MacDailyNews, April 10, 2013

• Microsoft had a chance to preserve one of their cash cows by making Office for iOS and Android. That window of opportunity is closing, if it hasn’t already. The world has or soon will realize that, no, actually you do not need Microsoft Office to word process or create spreadsheets and presentations. The failure to create Office for iOS and Android in a misguided push to sell tablets and phones running Microsoft OSes will be looked at as one of, if not the, biggest mistake Microsoft made during their ill-fated attempt to recover after being repeatedly, unmercifully steamrolled by Apple’s Steve Jobs with the iPhone, iPad, iCloud, App Store and the rest of the formidable iOS ecosystem.MacDailyNews, July 12, 2013

Related articles:
iPad generation shuns Microsoft Office; one of Microsoft’s biggest squandered opportunities – March 14, 2014
Apple makes the world’s most advanced operating system freeware – October 23, 2013
Apple’s new free OS X for Mac hurts Microsoft and the Windows PC industry in myriad ways – October 22, 2013
Apple exploits Microsoft’s confused hesitation on Office for iPad – October 22, 2013
Apple’s OS X Mavericks available today free from the Mac App Store – October 22, 2013
Apple releases next-gen 64-bit iWork and iLife apps for OS X and iOS; free with new Macs and iOS devices – October 22, 2013


    1. While I agree, I sure do wish that Apple would let a bluetooth mouse work on iWork on iPad. I can bluetooth type just fine, but to make a correction, I have to poke the screen and hope my finger gets to the right place.

      If I am using a keyboard, why would I want to poke the screen, knock it over, change my location in the document while picking it up, etc.

      Please Tim, an apple bluetooth mouse and I am yours.


    1. And maybe that huge iPad could have a magnetic keyboard that would click on to it and perhaps even a kickstand to hold it up like a laptop computer and then maybe have Windows 8 run natively and also make the back of it Zune brown. That would surely be a hit with enterprise, right? It would sell as much as a Windows tablet.

      I thought Steve Ballmer would have used the initials: sb

      1. iWork is more than adequate for my needs. The beauty of it is, it can read and write MS Office files if I really need to do that. And let’s not forget, Keynote makes PowerPoint look like total crap. Most of us just want to write a letter or do a simple spreadsheet.

        Surely, Microsoft will probably make some inroads with enterprise users. But they were the ones ones who were supposed to buy Microsoft tablets in order to run Office. Since most enterprise users who use a tablet are using iPads, Microsoft will only be selling software and be the proud owners of yet another hardware flop. There no longer exists one single incentive to go with a Windows Touch tablet.

    1. I’d use a stand alone Excel on my iPad IF it fully supported macros/VB.
      Word? Not really.
      PowerPoint? No way. Keynote is way better.
      365? Only if it is <$25 a year.

  1. Two years too late and they want you to pay $99 and up ???

    NO CHANCE… Smells like Bomber left a secret, huge stinking pile on the corporate doorstep as he was getting booted….

  2. Earlier, I would’ve paid a lot for MS Office on iOS. However, now it’s not just an issue of being too late. The assumption missing from the article is that it would be a good version of Office, at least something that is 100% compatible and offers 100% MS Office functionality, all while packaged up in a UI that’s well designed for iOS.

    The problem is that I’ve already adopted Office compatible apps and have found for heavy duty Office work, that’s not going to be done on a phone or tablet anyway, which is why I have a MacBook Air.

    Microsoft definitely blew it by being late to the came, but I won’t be surprised if the full story ends up being “too little, too late”. I’d bet on it if I could find any takers.

    1. I wonder if MS won’t cause harm to the office brand by releasing yet another incomplete version of office. As it is I get word docs that won’t open on some of my computers. Compare this with free iWorks that is the same on all computers ( including web version ).

  3. I just cannot imagine translating the gigantically complex Office menu to any kind of touch device.

    I have Pages and Numbers on my iPad, and to be honest, I do all the real work on my Mac Mini. I look at it on my iPad away from the office, and will do minor things on the iPad, but……seriously….no

  4. You know what would be great? Getting rid of the ugly iOS 7 which takes away productivity even more than the ugly MS Office Ribbon.

    Cook is definitely Ballmer redux in terms of tastelessness. Ive is just another failed bald headed Ballmer with no taste. Apple couldn’t be in worse hands.

  5. We don’t need it. If they release Office for iPad, it will likely be tied to Office 365, and we will have to give out a lot of personal information just to use it… and I’m sure there will be a lot of limitations. iWork, and Quick Office work great for me. As an Apple consultant, I support a lot of iPad and Mac users. None of them have ever wanted Office on the iPad. They have all found plenty of other alternatives that work very well. It’s time for the world to wake up and realize that we don’t need Office anymore. This has probably been true for a long time.

    1. That’s true, in terms of need. Some enterprises implemented the whole Microsoft ‘solution’ without an honest initial needs assessment, their IT salivating over the payoff in terms of long-term job security and corporate clout. Twenty years later this mindset persists. The culture of work has changed since last century but hidebound corporations are not readily diverted from their ill-chosen path.

      1. You made me look up “hidebound”: unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention.

        You found that word hiding in a closet, didn’t you?

      2. These IT guys need to crawl out of Bill Gate’s ass and realize that there are far better choices. I will say that Windows server is a very solid platform, and so is Exchange. Despite that, deploying Windows server, and Exchange is a huge investment when there are far less expensive alternatives like Kerio Connect which will run on Windows Server, OS X Server, and Linux for a fraction of the cost of Exchange. You’re right that this is all about long term job security. They are compelled to continue deploying large scale, and difficult to manage server/network environments so that the companies that employ them will keep them around. I’m an I.T. consultant, so I’m often coming in to clean up after bad I.T. guys. Unfortunately there are a lot of bad I.T. guys out there. I would rather focus on creating great solutions for my customers than have to fix problems created by no talent Microsoft drones.

  6. When the iPad first came out, Office may have been a good idea – that is, if MS actually did the legwork to make it fit a touch interface. At this point, the very thought of office on an iPad is a non sequitur. It will be interesting to see if there is any market for this. I suspect the market for this will be very limited.

  7. As has been the case over the lame duck decade of Ballmer, Microsoft is late to the game. I personally have not used Office in 12 years working as a college professor. If they charge for their bloatware, it will be FUD. IWork is fine and I have used it without issue on campuses for years. I wouldn’t use Office for iPad if MS paid me.

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