Microsoft Word app for iPad flops with users, with 500 one-star reviews

“Microsoft’s Word app for the iPad has proved something of a flop with users in the first month since it was made available, with an average user rating of just two and a half stars from more than 1,000 reviews,” Dan Worth reports for V3.

“Of 1,028 ratings for the Word app on iTunes, 500 users have rated it at just one star,” Worth reports. “This is contrasted with 303 five-star reviews, while the rest of the votes are split evenly between four stars (77), three stars (72) and two stars (76).”

“The bulk of the negative reviews cite the fact that using the Word app to any useful degree requires a full Office 365 subscription,” Worth reports. “The lack of printer support from within the app was another cause of irritation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Life is better without Microsoft Office.

Related articles:
Business owners beware: What CIOs need to know about Office 365 and Office for iPad – April 2, 2014
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. Transcript of earnings call this week:

    Steven Milunovich – UBS Securities: “Tim, I understand that the iPad is not as weak as it appears on a sell-through basis, but still it’s relatively flat over the last year in terms of sell-through. What are your thoughts in terms of why that is and can that accelerate with Office on the iPad going forward?”

    Tim Cook: “…Office; I believe does help. It’s very unclear to say how much. I believe if it would have been done earlier, it would have been even better for Microsoft frankly, there is a lots of alternatives out there from a productivity point of view, some of which we brought to the market, some of which many, many innovative companies have brought. But I do see that Office is still a very key franchise in the enterprise, in particular. I think having it on iPad is good, and I wholeheartedly welcome Microsoft to the App Store to sell Office. Our customers are clearly responding in a good way that it’s available. So, I do think it helps us particularly in the enterprise area.”

        1. Stop being such a slavish devotee (it’s not a religion, after all) and accept that Cook could always do better. Good supporters offer praise and constructive criticism both. I would not waste my time on a site that only contained sycophantic comments by unblinking myrmidons of Apple.

          1. Signs of someone not bright enough to have real conversations:
            * They think they can reliably generalize the character of the human being they are replying to with only a single comment for evidence.
            * They can’t think clearly enough to simply respond to what the person said.

    1. I don’t think it’s too expensive, but the tethered-to-billing model is difficult to manage for some people. Most people still want to buy-once and use forever, otherwise it does feel expensive and risky to use. Stop paying and do you lose your documents? Scary feeling.

  2. Too little, too late. I suspect that a port of Open Office would not fare so well either. iWork is more than adequate for most users as the need for Office is extremely limited.

    Users can already view and print Office docs, and that’s more than enough for most users. This is great news for the people who do need the creation aspects of MS Office, but that is likely to be a very small percentage. Mr. Cook was very diplomatic, but if you read between the lines, his opinion matches my opening statement – too little, too late.


    1. A port of Open Office, Libre Office or similar apps, would clearly do better. No major on-going costs. Undoubtedly, printing would be available. Other benefits. True that many have already chosen apps that work well for them, but its many current users would be happy to see it. They just don’t have the low or unpaid manpower to do everything. I have not even checked availability.

        1. Open Office is not my preference for an open source suite. I took that as simply the example, above, of a MS alternative. I do have both Libre Office because of some of its conversion capabilities, and also Neo Office. There is no subscription cost and I know, if ported, that they would print. I do not think there would be the same 500 one star reviews for a port of a free suite that there are for MS Office. If you prefer MS, then I suppose it works for you. There are many options out there. My point is that I feel one of the open source options would fare much better than EyeSchool suggests.

          1. I don’t miss not having any Microsoft apps, Pages and other apps are just fine for me. i don’t do subscriptions, so these companies better consider that particular audience who feels likewise.

  3. Funny, I just read another article that said it was a raving success on the iPad. Maybe until people finally got a look at it or realized the extra monthly expense. I think people in general are tired of that monthly nut (how many can anyone afford?) which is great for companies with a guaranteed stream of money flowing in but not exactly always a great value for consumers.

    1. Designers are stuck doing it, no choice really Adobe and it’s Creative Suite—or Creative Cloud as the rental version is called, is the only real professional game in town for designers and they’ve gone to the monthly hostage plan. Sad but true.

      1. You clearly haven’t shopped around. Pixelmator is a very high-calibre alternative to Photoshop and comes at a significantly lower price. And there’s several other options. People are just afraid of having to change what they know.

        1. Another example… I have a client that refuses to move away from Windows and Microsoft and Google products. She is a sucker for the “big name” game, thinking that small players just don’t match, but it’s quite often the opposite. The small players quite often offer a better product and user experience. That’s a reality, but convincing these old-timers that the world has changed is an impossible task.

        2. True, Pixelmator is adequate for retouching photos and doing some effects. But MacRaven is talking about actual designers.

          As far as I know Pixelmator can’t handle CMYK files. Designers also need a page layout app. Adobe and InDesign have all but totally exterminated the only realistic competitor: Quark Xpress. And there’s virtually nothing to compare to Illustrator for vector art since Adobe bought out FreeHand and strangled it to death.

          It’s not about being afraid to change. It’s about not being able to do your job. It’s about the fear of sending some wonky file to the printer, having it print wrong, and eating $40k worth of printed material.

          I can guarantee you most designers would be glad to try anything other than having Adobe rape them every month.

        3. Exactly. As a professional who uses Pixelmator it always makes me laugh to see adobe shills post that Pixelmator is only good for retouching photos. I’ve create web comics, games and websites without the cost and bloat of PhotoShop.

        4. Trouble is, when you’re using InDesing and Illustrator and Photoshop and Acrobat for your workflow, the key word is FLOW and the other plus is seamless integration. Tried bits and pieces of other software in years past like Quark. Just a pain. Adobe has us by the short hairs and they know it. For the non-graphics pro, or just someone altering photos, I’m sure Pixelmator would work fine.

  4. I downloaded it, because I wanted to see what it was all about, trying to keep an open mind. If it actually seemed better than iWork at working with some documents, I would consider keeping it.

    I opened the app, but before I could do anything else (like create a new document), Office insisted that I give them my email address to register with Microsoft. It gave no explanation why it would need my email address just to do word processing or spreadsheets. It gave no assurance that it would not sell my email address to spammers. It would not accept a fake email address without verification. The app refused to do anything remotely useful unless I give it an email address.

    I did think about creating yet another throw away email address. But it’s a hassle, one very rudely imposed on me, for no given reason, from a new app that has yet to prove itself useful to me in any way.

    So, I deleted the app and gave it 1 star review.

  5. I don’t know how great an iPad is for this use anyway. It may not be a problem with Office, it may be the wrong tool for the job. I’m not particularly thrilled using Pages and Numbers on the iPad, and I would rate both of them only 1 or 2 stars. For any real spreadsheet or writing work, I am 10x more productive on my Powerbook.

    1. Powerbook. Well, productivity on a Powerbook would indeed be better than a MS app on more current equipment.

      The thing that allows me to be productive on my iPad is my bluetooth keyboard. Without it, I would do less. Apple still does not allow us to configure the on-screen keyboard in other configurations but it supports external alternatives.

      1. Dittos on the Bluetooth keyboard for productivity. I don’t do any serious writing on the iPad without it. A little editing when I am out and have the time, but writing more than a couple of sentences, no.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPad, but seriously? Write 2, 10, 20, 100 pages? No

    2. I disagree. A tablet is conceptually a great medium for spreadsheets, even compared a laptop like a vintage Powerbook.

      Navigating a spreadsheet by touching the cells directly is far more intuitive than a mouse or arrow keys. Using a virtual keyboard, that can automatically change depending on if you’re working with words, numbers, currency, or math formulas is far more intuitive than using a standard keyboard. Being able to hand the tablet with spreadsheet to someone and say “hey, check out these figures”, or simply lay it flat on a table for everyone to see, is far easier than trying to crowd multiple people around one laptop.

            1. I tried WWF once. I was beaten by a girl. Still better than losing to a guy over a Chessboard or Scrabble board, where they do a little dance of glee, so unseemly for hard bitten warriors. Promise me you won’t gloat.

            2. I am immune to the wiles of women and their “ways.” Your self-esteem is generated by you, not others. The gauntlet remains thrown, an opportunity to re-assert your self-esteem and leave an old, doddering artist on the brink of despair.

            3. Miss Jane, I use a cane to type. I watch “Matlock” reruns all day and eat ramen noodles. Derek Jeter is younger than my oldest child. I can barely see to walk to the mailbox for my latest AARP offer. Please be kind to me.

            4. hey, I saw your ex the other day, cops had him pulled over. Cop asked him “weren’t you married to Jane?” So, he says, “yeah, man.” Cop says, “Okay, you’ve suffered enough, go on home.”

  6. Incredibly negative reviews. Very high proportion of one-star, with an average of 2.5 stars.

    Hmmm. In other words, about the same as Pages 5, which has a very high proportion of one-star for all versions, including most recent — and, after six months of updates, is still only at an overall average of 2.5.

    However, unlike Word, where it says a lot of complaints are just about the subscription, the complaints about Pages cover a wide range of specific, concrete points about missing functionality. (And no, it’s not functionality that only advanced users need.)

  7. Word for iPad is an App that’s not going to change any time soon.
    MS want another ‘cash cow’ to take over from the PC version as home users switch to tablets.
    I’m not into subscriptions be it – music/TV/Film etc. but would happily pay a one-off $20. M$ heading for irrelevance

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.