Microsoft releases hobbled Office for iPad; requires $100/year subscription to create/edit documents

“Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday unveiled Office for iPad, a highly anticipated and long overdue version of its bread-and-butter productivity software for Apple’s popular tablet,” Nancy Blair reports for USA Today.

“The app will be live for free in Apple’s App Store today. You’ll be able to read and present your content that way, but for creating and editing content, you will need an Office 365 subscription,” Blair reports. “Office software lets you create and edit documents, calculate spreadsheets and design presentations and graphics through its Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs. Microsoft moved to a subscription model for Office last year with Office 365 Home Premium, which runs $9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year.”

Read more in the full article here.

“The interface is reminiscent of other versions of Office, with the Ribbon formatting bar up top, but Microsoft says it’s been rethought to be touch-friendly,” Harry McCracken reports for TIME. “And as with other versions of Office, everything is saved by default to OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive), Microsoft’s online storage service.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Way too little. Way too late.

Smart users will continue to use Apple’s iWork which is free, not hobbled in order to force unending subscription fees, and works seamlessly across iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Web browsers.

Related articles:
Microsoft CEO Nadella to use his first press conference to talk a lot about Apple – March 27, 2014
Microsoft Office for iPad: 5 big questions – March 26, 2014
Microsoft CEO Nadella expected to finally admit holding Office for iPad hostage a failed strategy – March 26, 2014
Microsoft Office on iPad: Too little too late? – March 23, 2014
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. If got Office for Mac for $10 through my work benefits. Put it on my retina MacBook Pro a few months ago. Haven’t used it yet. (Of course we use Excel and Access for our massive data at work. But for iPad?)

  2. I’m not too sure if there might be a slight disconnect between Microsoft’s world and the consumer world. Why would a consumer, after purchasing their software and always owning it, to now “renting” their software? With Google Docs free and iWork’s free, it will be interesting to see how many iPad users buy into this new business model which has a strong odor of failure written all over it. Good luck Microsoft.

  3. I bought iWork for iOS a couple of years ago, as well as GarageBand, iirc, it cost me about £25, seemed like good value then, and I’m still using them every day for my publishing work flow. Don’t have to pay Apple bugger all to carry on using them year after year.

    And when my trusty iPad 1 gets replaced. . .why, I get the latest version of all those apps for free. Yep, free, zilch, nada, dim byd, £0.00, $0.00, €0.00.

    And if M$oft think they’re gonna chisel me out of 100 bucks a year, they can just dream on. Ain’t gonna happen!

    1. Agree with you on Numbers. Very difficult to input ranges and formulas into. So frustrating to use in fact that I quit using Numbers on my iPad.

      However, there is no way that I am paying Microsoft $100 a year for the privilege to use Office.

      Instead I use iWork and LibreOffice on my Macs.

      LibreOffice has the advantages of Merge, and remembering Window Size and Position. Resetting the Pages App window size and position is a pain.

      As an aside:

      I wish Apple would allow Mac users to specify if an App should open in Full Window or Full Screen besides the normal window setting.

      (Put a couple check boxes in Get Info or Options (Secondary click on App icon in Dock).

      This is the number one complaint I hear from former Windows users. (How can I make my App always open Maximized?)

      I have been hearing requests about this since 2007.

      Since most new Mac users are former Windows users it seem smart to me to add this option to keep these new Macs users thrilled with their purchase.

      1. I guess it really is a matter of taste. When I use Windows apps I usually shrink the windows so I can see more than one. If I ask a question from a a Windows person the first thing they do is expand the app back to full screen. Different strokes …

        1. I agree with you, a matter of taste. I am hoping that Apple will choose to accommodate both users.

          Since Apple has a huge number of Windows users to win over, this setting could strengthen Macs appeal to Windows users.

          I’m not requesting Apple change how their Application Windowing works. I am requesting Apple offer these settings: in either Get Info or Dock Options (Secondary click on App icon in Dock):

          _ Open Full Window (Maximized in Windows terms)

          _ Open Full Screen

          If neither option is checked then open in normal window mode.

        1. You got that right.

          Breaking news for Pro-Apple trolls: Excel still EXCELS.

          I have been using both since their debuts and it is simply reality. Deal with it and stop whining about Apple superiority.

          Certainly NOT with everything. Why Apple does not blow away MS Office, Adobe, etc. is as elusive as Washington elect balancing a budget … (Pol bait on a little mousetrap, sorry) 😉

  4. Well, for $9 a month you get a 365 subscription that allows you to install Office on 5 devices. 5 PCs, and/or Macs, and 5 mobile devices.

    This will be an easier product for many small businesses to swallow. Previously 5 copies of office for 5 Macs would have been anywhere from $750 to $1000.

    Instead of the arcane license number, you use an email address as your sign on for Office 365 which permits the use of the Microsoft products on the device you just signed on to. Easy to sign a user up, and remove them when you’re done.

    Automatic updates, no exorbitant charges.

    I’d very much like to see people moving to Apple’s iWork suit as well and at least acknowledging that there are some fine open source suits out there, but a large number of people are just entrenched in Office with thousands upon thousands of documents that competitive products can barely read, let alone format properly.

    During the talk and the demo, people were tweeting how Office for iPad would destroy Microsoft. I don’t see it that way. It will pave the way for the company to finally transition to a modern services company (ala Google) rather than a big Balmersaurus wandering around with no direction.

    They seemed to want to provide comprehensive services all around, taking the place of your IT department in many ways. Authentication, Applications, Storage, and so on.

    Clearly no one “needs” Microsoft anymore, but working with them is still a reality and they appear to not only want to make that easier, but appealing as well.

    1. “This will be an easier product for many small businesses to swallow. Previously 5 copies of office for 5 Macs would have been anywhere from $750 to $1000.”
      Only if you’re foolish enough to pay list price. There are discounts available (some as much as 90% or more) almost every day. I’ve seen the full MS Office suite available for as little as $10 for a single user version. Thus, if you shop around, you can outfit five Macs for as little as $50.00. Just FYI: the best price I found just now with a *very* quick search (about 20 seconds) is $114.00 at retail or $570 for those five seats. I’m sure if I dug more deeply and looked at OEM/wholesale versions I’d find much better pricing.

      “Automatic updates, no exorbitant charges.”
      Everyone I know who does use MS Office gets updates for free (within a major version rev, of course). If you’re still using MS Office 2004 or 2001 or earlier, you’re not concerned about updates anyway. And, with Microsoft only updating (major versions) of MS Office for Mac every three to four years you’re still paying $300 to $400 for the latest version with their subscription model. How is this any savings?

      Plus, some of the major software testing sites have found out something interesting about the Office 365 subscription model: Stop paying the subscription fee and stop being able to get full editing rights to your own documents even if you try to edit them with the full standalone version (MS Office 2011 for Mac or MS Office 2013 for Windows). Effectively, Microsoft now has your documents hostage.

      Sign up for Office 365 (or any software subscription) and you’ve bought into a protection racket. Protecting the cash flow of Microsoft, that is.

      “They seemed to want to provide comprehensive services all around, taking the place of your IT department in many ways. Authentication, Applications, Storage, and so on.”
      And what about all those myriad businesses that have technical information that comes under the ITAR? There are A LOT more of those businesses than you think. What’s the risk of that data getting hacked on Microsoft’s One Drive? Who is legally responsible for the improper export of the information once the One Drive is hacked?

    2. Yes indeed. MS office is the IT holy grail. Office 365 is a a SASS whether you like it or not.

      Personally I will never get into the rental of s/w nor do I care one whit about compatibility with word or exel etc etc.

      In the odd event of needing to look at a MS office doc on my iPhone or iPad there are loads of free to bugger-all apps that can do that.

      Who the hell is going to piss about with a spreadsheet on a mobile device anyway.

      IT will love it but everyone else couldn’t give a shit.

      1. You obviously don’t work with even the most basic of documents or spreadsheets for a living.

        For almost anyone in an office seeing, it is kind of important to be able to read, share and edit things between coworkers as well as outside companies.

  5. MS’s Nadella strategy is aimed at F500 IT depts, but that is not where the volume of users are located.

    MS needs a crash development or acquisition or expansion of a hardware operation to let them become vertically oriented.

  6. The ability to read Office docs for free will increase sales of iPads to business. It removes a doofus IT stumbling block. However, don’t expect enterprises to pay for licenses for these users since iWork will do just fine.

    1. Don’t understand the need for any MS Office on iPad; Goodreader and Dropbox (and I’m sure other apps) open .docx just fine. Open-in to Pages to edit. Almost no one at my university uses any MS Word formatting, style, or automation anyway.

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