In major strategy shift, Microsoft Office enables free editing on iPads and iPhones

“In a significant change for its flagship software applications, and a potentially risky move for its business, Microsoft will let users create and edit documents without a paid subscription in its Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps on iPhone, iPad and [eventually] Android phones and tablets,” Todd Bishop reports for GeekWire.

“The change, announced this morning, makes Microsoft more competitive by eliminating one of the biggest criticisms of the Office apps for iPad — the requirement to pay for an annual Office 365 subscription of $69.99/year or $99.99/year for editing functionality,” Bishop reports. “In addition, the company updated its Office apps for iPhone to adopt the user interface that was first rolled out for iPad.”

“Microsoft will still require an Office 365 subscription for advanced mobile editing such as fine-tuned customization of fonts charts, tables, and pictures in the Office apps, as well as business collaboration features. Office 365 subscriptions also come with large amounts of OneDrive storage,” Bishop reports. “But the change puts a major chunk of Microsoft’s revenue at risk, by delivering free functionality that will be good enough for many users.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Panic has set in at Redmond. Obviously, they’ve seen the numbers and the numbers drove them to this. But, Microsoft just might be too late. Due to their deer-in-the-headlights “management” inaction, they’ve already taught huge numbers of former customers that Office is simply not necessary and, in fact, inferior to Apple’s integrated-across-platforms Pages, Numbers, and Keynote applications for iOS and OS X.

As we’ve been explaining for some time now:

• 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

26 Comments

    1. The Windows OS is alive and, though not well, still the mainstay of corporate computing. That will not change until Apple gets serious about supporting enterprise users.

      Also, Apple needs to stop playing around with ugly flat hard-to-use GUIs and get to work on the fundamental functions of the Mac OS. ZFS should have been implemented 3 versions ago. Instead we got helvetica nueue on a lifeless blurred backdrop. yippee.

      1. Windows is not leaving the corporate world for at least 10 years. It’s completely entrenched, and medium to large corporations often have tons of money and resources invested in specific hardware, custom software, and support staffs. Apple knows this and is happy to let those demanding customers have their Windows.

        Apple knows the future of computing is mobile, which is why even before the iPhone Apple had shifted to a mostly laptop-oriented lineup, including the MacBook Air. Apple doesn’t really care about an enterprise push for computers, because it can still sell iMacs to businesses which then install Windows either natively or via Parallels, etc.

        This is why Apple is partnering with IBM for mobile computing. Both companies understand that Apple is far superior to Android, and that the potential for owning the corporate market similarly (though probably not as thoroughly) as Windows owns corporate desktops is available right now.

        1. You may be right, but I doubt that anytime in my lifetime that hardcore computing is going to be done on mobile devices. Humans need big screens and when one really needs to get something done, you do not want to use equipment that was compromised to provide more battery life. Roadways will always have trucks on them.

          Also, it would be wise to distinguish between Android itself and mobile devices’ implementation of Android + Google Apps. If you’re making your own apps for internal company use, Android is no worse than anything else, and it’s totally free, and you can implement it on custom hardware. It’s only when you tack on the Google Apps that costs accrue and your data is routed to the twits in Mountain View. With Apple, you’re stuck with whatever hardware Apple makes, and it DOES NOT work for every company. iCloud and total lack of file management is a non-starter in many businesses. So don’t assume that iOS is going to take over anything in the long run. The Mac could, if only Cook & Co bothered to undertake the effort.

          1. The iPad can bring computers to jobs that have not been able to use them. Most people do a lot of work that requires walking or driving. There are a lot of good ideas for tablet use, however there is a lot of risk with trying something new. IBM understands business better than Apple. This could be the start of the next expansion of computers. Corporations have had no problem with just blackberry phones so far. Having consistency and hardware is an advantage.

      2. Couldn’t agree more. Office will be part of enterprise for some time to come. Don’t forget Outlook too, I don’t see Apple Mail anywhere near enterprise ready. Mail is for individual users, with no real integration features required in a business environment. Apple doesn’t make enterprise ready software.

        Their market is individuals, family’s, and SMB’s. If you ever worked in corporate, you know what I mean. Mail, Contacts, and Calendar are not enterprise level apps. Though I think iWork has the potential to be.

  1. This is the only step Microsoft could take in oder to gain relevance on the iOS platform. Having clients who are bound to Microsoft Office by years and years of document creation and industry standards, I was steering most to Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. Numbers is beautiful, but difficult for serious Excel hacks to shift to.

    Office comes out with this nutty no editing policy and it effectively made the software worthless. Great for viewing but nothing else.

    They needed to do this.

    1. T I M, I agree.
      and in difference to Mike above, Microsoft did not think that:
      the internet would takeoff,
      that Quicktime video would take off,
      that small music players would take off,
      that mobile would take off,

      They are so far behind that Windows 8 died within 8 months of launch.
      And Mike is just stuck on how great windows is. For most of the world, iWork is fine AND will do Word etc. Microsoft does not have to die to become irreverent.

      Just saying.

      1. When did i ever say that i find Windows “great”? I abhor Win8 with a passion. However, the reality is that MS supports what enterprises need to get their work done. Apple does not. That is the difference, and it’s entirely on Apple to improve their game. Instead Apple has abandoned the enterprise desktop & laptop market and is prioritizing consumer-level stuff and rental computing via iCloud. Big mistake to put all one’s faith in iOS. Apple needs to have the Mac be a more substantial part of the business because in the long run the fickle consumer market often changes. Corporate buyers ensure long-term cash flow. Which is why MS remains a force in computing despite its repeated consumer market failures.

        When did Quicktime take off? Apple’s poor support for that platform is downright embarrassing. Apple also killed iMovie and iDVD despite millions of users wishing for Apple to keep those apps up to date. Now we see crappy support for Aperture and iPhoto, without a clue as to what Apple will do in the future. If you ran a business and needed assurance that the tools you use would be supported, why would you trust Apple? Planned obsolescence with random support policies is not acceptable.

        1. And one of my favorites they dropped, iWeb. iWeb could have competed with Adobe Dreamweaver, but of course, for some unknown reason, Apple dropped support and development of it. Why? It was a great way for a novice to easily create a nice functional web site.

          And it figures, a couple of months after I bought Aperture, Apple drops it. I’ve moved on to Adobe Lightroom. Not by choice, but because, I had to. WTF, is Apple messing with us or something.

          I try to support Apple, and they keep on reshuffling their software offerings. I know Apple isn’t a software company, but if they’re going to market some software, they should at least try to be loyal to it.

  2. Now that there’s a way to try Office on iPad, I can find out if it’s worth using over Pages, Docs and other similar apps.
    Way to finally reach the starting line, Microsoft!

  3. Microsoft is a software company. Apple is a hardware & services company for which software, though simple beautiful and elegant, plays a mere conduit to lure to the principal objective: computers. That’s why Apple gives OS X, iWork, iLife and iOS for free.

  4. From a very quick look, the free version of Word is still missing key features. The biggest one I’ve found so far is the ability to use custom styles without upgrading to Office 365. That removes the freebie from contention for most serious uses.

    Not surprisingly, it uses OneCloud for storage rather than iCloud, but Word on the Mac has access to that through the File/Share menu.

    All in all, people who have to have full Office compatibility at work will find this better than nothing—maybe even better than Pages—but still not sufficient without a 360 subscription.

  5. I figured “what the hey” let’s just download Word to have a look. to have the privilege of editing I need to log into my Microsoft account, something I haven’t done in quite a while. Then I also realized that when I do get my free editing I can only save to my Dropbox account, another service I’ve stopped using out of security concerns. No, I think I’ll stick with Pages and know that I’m not about to be either hacked or start getting mysterious emails related to content I’ve created and stored online.

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