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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Probably too little too late. To make office very popular they need to drop the price is extremely low. If they do that it cuts into their margins. They have no business model for making office free. As it stands, hundreds of millions of users have figured out how to live without office on their tablets. Why would they go back?

  5. I waited for Office but now I’m more than happy with Pages and Keynote on my iPad. They both meet my needs and the price was right – free with the purchase of an Air.

    The only thing that would swing me back to Office would be a small install size and a good price. Unfortunately Microsoft has a poor record on both.

  6. I prefer Google Docs and Google Drive to Apple and Microsoft’s office and file sharing products. The web based interface of Google Drive is exactly what I need.

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