Business owners beware: What CIOs need to know about Office 365 and Office for iPad

“The new Office for iPad apps earned their place on [Apple’s App Store’s] Top Grossing charts thanks to in-app purchases by customers who downloaded the new apps and unlocked the full editing capabilities using the in-app purchase mechanism in the app,” Ed Bott writes for ZDNet. “Each such purchase costs $99.99, with Apple getting 30 percent of the proceeds and Microsoft getting the remainder.”

“But if you or your employees paid that hundred bucks with the expectation of unlocking the app’s capabilities for business use, you’re treading on thin ice. The only subscription currently available for purchase through the app is for Office 365 Home Premium, which specifically prohibits commercial use,” Bott writes. “(Business subscriptions for Office 365 are set up through an organizational portal. There’s no practical way to sell those subscriptions via in-app purchase).”

“The addition of Office for the iPad makes it even more likely that Office 365 consumer editions are going to show up in your business on consumer devices: Your employees are likely to be using it on their own laptops and tablets, and they’ll probably be connecting to your company network from their home PCs and from iPads they purchased with personal funds,” Bott writes. “The trouble is, the license for Office 365 consumer subscriptions specifically exclude those uses.”

Read more in the full article here.

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

Related articles:
We can live without Office for iPad – March 31, 2014
Ihnatko: Office for iPad a boon for compatibility with business, but costs $100 a year forever – March 28, 2014
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. Does Microsoft have any history of going after people who use the Home or Student Editions of Office on their personal laptops in connection with their employers’ business? If not, I can’t imagine this would be different.

      1. No, they also go after businesses that don’t have all their licenses in order. So you get audited, and “oh, that’s a personal device using the business Office365 login? that’s a license violation. how many of those do your employee’s have?”.

  2. I have seen several (Mac) job openings in our area that require Office 360 support as a requirement.
    I figured it was something shitty if Microsoft created it and was selling it.

  3. I’m a manager in a rather large company and am billed $10 per employee in my group for MS Office license (actually I believe the MS cost is $7 and $3 uplift by our IT to support). So the real concern is if some foolish employee purchases a license that far far far exceeds the cost we pay for him to have a license already. The home license saids “not for commercial use” because then it would eligible for commercial customer discounts. That is what MS is trying to prevent, rather than using your excel for a project where you earn money as result.

  4. That free, OTHER international standard document format:


    The Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF), also known as OpenDocument, is an XML-based file format for spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents. It was developed with the aim of providing an open, XML-based file format specification for office applications.

    The standard was developed by a technical committee in the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) consortium. It was based on the Sun Microsystems specification for XML, the default format for, which had been specifically intended “to provide an open standard for office documents.”

    In addition to being an OASIS standard, version 1.1 is published as an ISO/IEC international standard, ISO/IEC 26300:2006/Amd 1:2012 — Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.1.

    And yes, it’s FREE.

    Prominent office suites supporting OpenDocument fully or partially include:

    Adobe Buzzword
    Apache OpenOffice
    Atlantis Word Processor
    Calligra Suite
    Corel WordPerfect Office X6
    IBM Lotus Symphony
    Inkscape exports .odg
    Microsoft Office 2003 and Office XP (with the Open Source OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-in for Office)
    Microsoft Office 2007 (from service pack 2 release)
    Microsoft Office 2010
    Microsoft Office 2013
    Microsoft OneDrive / Office Web Apps
    Scribus imports .odt and .odg
    SoftMaker Office
    Sun Microsystems StarOffice
    WordPad 6.1 (Windows 7) partial support.
    Zoho Office Suite

    My free preference: LibreOffice

    1. A more detailed list of software supporting ODF (OpenDocument Format), including Mac software and iOS:

      A partial list of ODF supporting applications and apps available to Apple Mac and iOS users:

      • Nisus Writer Pro 1.2+ (OS X)
      • TextEdit (OS X 10.5+)
      • QuickLook (OS X)
      • FileApp (iOS)
      • Google Docs (online)
      • Open Word Processor (iOS)
      • phpMyAdmin
      • Scribus (OS X)
      • LibreOffice (OS X)
      • OpenOffice (OS X. rollApp’s iOS and online versions are in beta)
      • NeoOffice (OS X)
      • AbiWord (OS X)
      • Zoho Office Suite (online)
      • Oxygen XML Editor (Java)
      • DocuWiki (online)
      • ex Publish (online)
      • EditGrid (online)
      • Oxygen XML Editor (Java)
      • Knomos (online)
      • EndNote (OS X)
      • Inkscape 0.44+ (X11 on OS X)
      • [Bean also support ODF, but is no longer developed]

      Conspicuously missing from this list:
      Apple’s iWork.
      AHEM Apple!

    2. Sorry, Derek. The compatibility is not 100% with MS Office. But, you get what you pay for. If you are not in the business world, then a free product might make sense, despite the lack of compatibility with MS Office.

      It amazes me that anyone on a Mac forum would bitch about price tags. WTF is $100 a year when we all paid $2 grand or so for our Macs?

      1. There are a lot of applications without 100% compatibility. That’s certainly the case with Apple’s TextEdit and QuickLook.

        Regarding ‘free’. The fundamental OpenOffice/LibreOffice/NeoOffice suites are free. Whether a business wants to use them is up to the business. But they are substantially capable applications suites and you don’t have to pay Microsoft a single penny.

        Then add in that these suites are all compatible with Microsoft’s OpenOffice XML, or whatever they’re calling it this week. AND Microsoft provides a translation application for their .DOCX format for full compatibility with anything else you have.

        The obvious point I’ve made is: No one requires Microsoft. Any business can live Microsoft-Free if they choose to via OpenDocument Format and compatibility with .DOCX when required. That’s the fact.

        BTW: Since when is every Mac $2 grand or so? I think you need to do some research on Mac pricing before foisting assumptions.

      2. The point of the original article is that the $100 bucks doesn’t allow use of Office for commercial purpose, so no Business use. It’s not the $100, its that the $100 leave the App hobbled for most users that were willing to pay.

      3. There’s nothing wrong with paying $2 grand for something if you can afford it and you’re getting value for money.

        I imagine that most folk here can afford $100 a year, but no one can wants to p*** $100 a year up the wall for something that’s not worth it.

        1. With a user base of over 1 billion people, MS Office is well established. Having 100% compatibility with over 1 billion people is well worth $100 a year to me. If they withdrew MSO from the desktop, having Pages, Numbers, Open Office and NeoOffice would not be nearly enough to overcome the loss for a great number of Mac users including me.

  5. What I haven’t seen anyone discuss, is that if you already own an Office 365 subscription, can you simply use that to unlock the new iPad Office apps or do you have to purchase another Office 365 subscription? Being Microsoft, it wouldn’t surprise me if you had to purchase another subscription.

  6. @Bizlaw – I was able to use an existing Office 365 subscription provided free-of-charge through my university with the Office for iPad apps. The only issue I saw was that I was unable to access existing documents in Dropbox on my iPad which was quite a bummer since that is the only real reason I wanted to use it. You are apparently only allowed to use some type of cloud storage.

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