Ihnatko: Office for iPad a boon for compatibility with business, but costs $100 a year forever

“iWork for iOS is free. The Office apps that Microsoft released for iOS on Thursday are free, technically, but they’re ‘free’ in a way that’s worse than ‘paid,'” Andy Ihnatko writes for The Chicago Sun-Times. “Because if you want to do something as radical as create and edit documents, as opposed to simply opening and reading them, you can’t just fork over a one-time fee and be done with it. You’ll need a monthly subscription to Office 365.”

“But that’s $99.99 a year, or 10 bucks a month, forever,” Ihnatko writes. “So given the presence of powerful, Apple-engineered free alternatives, what’s the point of these apps at all? …Using iWork in Office environment always involves steps, and crossed fingers, and much more effort than would be required if you just stayed inside the Office tent to begin with. I only just got hold of the new Office apps but my first impressions are highly positive.”

“If your interactions with the Microsoft Office world are limited to just an occasional file import and export, iWork wins this debate on price alone,” Ihnatko writes. “But if your business uses Office, it’s an obvious win for Office. It’s a no-brainer upgrade. I can open a Word document on my cloud storage, I can save a Word document on my cloud storage, I can open it again from a Mac or PC attached to that same storage. No need to share links, make conversions, or worry that the editor to whom I hand off this book chapter can’t see my changes.”

Read more in the full review here.

Related articles:
Microsoft’s Nadella to Apple’s Cook on Office revenue sharing: Drop dead – March 28, 2014
Apple takes their usual 30% cut of Microsoft’s Office for iPad subscriptions – March 27, 2014
Microsoft releases hobbled Office for iPad; requires $100/year subscription to create/edit documents – March 27, 2014
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. The thing is productivity is a mature area. I know plenty of people and businesses very happy using Office 2003. That works out to about $13 a year and getting cheaper all the time.

  2. The only people excited about Office on iPad are those who already have an Office 365 subscription. The rest of us don’t care and aren’t going to get a subscription because there are plenty of Office alternatives for iPad, including iWork.

  3. why the fcuk can’t microsoft sell the office app as a one of fee instead of going the fremium model? Apple gives its word processing pages and numbers free

  4. I like seeing office on the iPad, but I think people are stupid buying into this crap that Adobe and Microsoft are doing. This subscription stuff is for the birds! I’d rather pay per version like its always been instead of a subscription!

    1. F*** Inatko is right. He publicly dumps iOS last year for Android, and now he reaches for the same audience he blew off then. Better to read used toilet paper than his reviews. notLOL

    2. Plus it’s a bit odd he uses his iPad but awhile back but told us he suddenly changed to a Droid for his phone. Wonder how that syncing is working for him.

  5. Everybody is falling all over themselves sucking up to the MSslut, gloating over being able to sync from PC to cloud to tablet. Well, Apple did that with iCloud, iWork sync already. Except the slut wants to collect your mo-nay for the privilege. No thanks Microslut, now or never. Burn in Hell.

  6. Sometimes I wish folks in this forum would get over the MS evil vs Apple thing and were a bit more objective

    Office on the iPad is a good thing. It is more choice for us. Office and iWork aren’t competitors and serve different segments of the market just like say Pixelmator and Photoshop. I tried them both and also OpenOffice.

    Who is a target for iWork
    – individuals and small businesses
    – users that need to create simple, great looking documents and prefer a desktop publishing like interface
    – Users that don’t need to collaborate with 3rd parties much
    – PDF sharing is all they need to send to friends, customers, colleagues

    Who is a target for Office
    – Professional writers that do very large and complex documents.
    – Professionals that do highly complex number crunching (science, financial services)
    – People who work in very large companies with significant investment in MS platform and devices
    – People that need to collaborate with a large number of Windows users
    – Users that have used Office all their lives and don’t care to learn a new office suite.
    – If you have to import or export data frequently to applications in Windows centric industries like accounting, manufacturing, banking, real state, and etc then MS office may be a better fit for you

    1. Amen!!!

      Good luck with rational arguments here but you are 100% correct.

      MS Office is and has always been the deadlock for the adoption of any alternative platform in the office (be it any Nix brand on the desktop or iOS / Android on tablets).

      With a 100% guaranteed out of the box compatibility with every Office document, tablets could make a big breakthrough for mobile workers who don’t heavily rely on keyboard/mouse use.

      It is, indeed, a very good thing, for every tablet maker that will support this version of Office.

    2. “Who is a target for Office – Professional writers that do very large and complex documents.”

      Obviously you have never created very large and complex documents using Microsoft Word. Adobe FrameMaker is much better for large documents because of its strong stylesheet functionality. Word is the ignorant technical writer’s choice.

      1. Please read my comment well before you post ignorant comments. Yes there are other writing tools for screen plays, for technical documentation, and other types of writing. The point was to contrast iWork and MS Office. I did not suggest anywhere that MS Office is the only choice for all types of writing and situations.

        And in case your were wondering I’ve written many sales proposals and software documentation pieces with hundreds of pages and I did it all in MS Office and OpenOffice. If you use FrameMaker and it works for you then keep using it using it.

        1. But it was you who listed appropriate Office customers as “Professional writers that do very large and complex documents”, wasn’t it?

          Which is unlikely to be done by anyone using Office for iOS, but that’s beside the point.

          For now we probably ought to ignore the fact that something like LibreOffice/OpenOffice is probably as good or better a solution for most businesses/individuals than MS Office. Being free is only one advantage. Not being available for iOS pretty much removes it from this thread.

        2. (My previous comment was responding to Jwsc01, to disambiguate.)

          On the CLF:

          You did specifically note “Professional writers that do very large and complex documents” as being best served by MS Office. They are not, necessarily.

          Sure, you could “write software documentation pieces with hundreds of pages in MS Office”, but you could have done it with a quill pen and ink on parchment. Or use ed run through a macro package in a command-line environment.

          The point here being that there are any number of tools far better for writing large, complex documents and collections of documents than Word. Office memos, party invitations and business letters, sure.

          1. Pleeeeease….my comment was specifically about how MS Office compares to iWork (and nothing else)…and I stand by what I said in terms of what I referred to…basically I was just suggesting that these types of people are more likely to use Office than iWork and I know plenty who do…I was not trying to compare MS Office to other writing tools. The fact is that when it comes to very large documents with more complex formatting you are more likely to find them in Word than in iWork. Yes there may be better tools out there than both of these but that is a conversation for a different thread.

        1. Yes QX and InDesign are great powerful tools but those products target market is creative professionals with a design background not really business people and consumers (that usially work at a place where they use Office) which is the target market for Office.

      2. I have been looking for a classic example illustrating the value of MDN comment scores. This is it. Five votes averaging four stars for somebody who is apparently unaware that Adobe discontinued Mac FrameMaker in 2004, which means it won’t run on any recent Macintosh except under Windows. Clearly, somebody running an old program on an old computer is not in the market for any program that is not free.

        This rather reminds me of the people who told me that Microsoft Word and Excel would never amount to anything–not because they were originally Mac programs but because “Real professionals use WordPerfect and 1-2-3.”

        Many of the comments on this site boil down to “I don’t use Feature X so nobody else needs it.” If I can use Numbers to balance my checkbook, Citibank doesn’t need Excel. If
        I don’t need to exchange highly formatted files back and forth with people who use Word, nobody else does, either. If I don’t use the page-layout functions in Pages, it is wonderful for everyone when they delete them. Anyone who doesn’t share exactly my priorities must be a troll or a paid shill.

        Office for iPad is just a tool, clearly intended mostly for people who have or are considering Office365 anyway. It does not denigrate Apple or iWork to say that it is nice to have that option, even if I personally don’t need it.

    1. Yes and no…

      Shown like this it is indeed expensive but you must also take in account the price of the hardware.

      Most “mobile workers” who would switch to the tablet/Office 365 model are those who don’t write a lot (No need for a physical keyboard) on their actual laptop and often ask for extremely small and light systems (which are very expensive).

      Salesmen are the perfect example.

      For them a tablet with Office 365, which is the fraction of the price of a thin laptop, is an interesting alternative

        1. It certainly is.

          But as you mentionned it in a thread about Office for iPad that is sold at the same price I didn’t understood it as being just irony.

          My bad in this case.

  7. Help me out–am I the only person who finds compatability issues with various versions of MS Word? I often run into the provlem of sending a MS Word document which can’t be read by someone with an older version, or where the formatting is not the same in an older version.

    My point is that if MS has issues with various versions of its software on PC desktops, then how will it manage issues across platforms and devices as well? If someone sends me a Word document, I can read it on my iPad without Word, and that is all that I need–heavy edits or changes are for laptops or desktops.

    1. Have you people ever heard of PDF Workflow? If you create a PDF from whatever version of Word you’re using, the formatting is locked. Of course this is for consumption of documents only, like most stuff created.

      I use PDF Reader for iPad. I can simply go on my Mac and email myself with PDF files I created attached, or I can use Adobe’s Free Cloud service. Doing my part to use less and less paper.

      Trying to be green by getting as much stuff on my iPad as possible.

  8. SharePoint was the lynchpin for getting everyone to update all of their other MS Office products.

    Also something that I have never understood; all the MS people were saying you can’t do REAL WORK on a tablet. Evidently with Office, now you can?

    1. Everyone gets to change their disingenuous minds, as Apple did about smaller iPad’s. In context, and with experience and improvements, comes change of hearts. Desperation has been known to initiate change minds too.

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