After years of will they/won't they, Microsoft has finally released an Office app for the iPhone (usable, but not optimized for the iPad), finally bringing its platform agnostic play to Apple devices.
Microsoft Not Paying to Play With Apple
The long delay in getting Microsoft's Office suite onto Apple's iOS has long been put down to the Seattle company's refusal to give a cut of its profits to the Cupertino crew. To get around this, for the mean time, if you get the free-to-download iOS app (available for U.S. users today, other territories in 29 languages coming next week), then you will need to sign in with a new or existing Office 365 account ($99 per year).
That saves Microsoft having to go through Apple's payment systems and iOS users can finally get a handle on their Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents and so on. The app is for the iPhone and while it runs on iPad isn't optimized for all that screen space, but a dedicated version might not be too far behind. However, with Microsoft still taking shots at iPad in its adverts, there's time yet for it to promote Office on Windows 8 tablets.
The app, officially called Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers, is compatible with iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, iPod Touch 5th generation and iPad 3 or higher, and requires iOS 6.1 or later installed.
Microsoft Office on an iPhone, finally
In the Office, Almost Any Time
When they've signed in, users can access, read and edit their documents that are stored on SkyDrive or in SharePoint on the go, in all their glory with support for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. Documents can be edited and saved back to the cloud and the original formatting and content remain intact.
The severe lateness to the iOS party is unlikely to have caused much damage to Microsoft as its massive enterprise hegemony continues unabated. However, while the app is okay for light editing and tweaks there are several features missing that users might feel aggrieved over.
These include: no font changing options, an inability to align text, a lack of bulleted lists. perhaps these will come in future versions, or the more spacious iPad edition, but they are out there in rival products and users now used to a fuller-editing suite of features in other apps are likely to be disinclined to return to the Microsoft fold.
While more heavyweight users will continue to use their Windows 7 (or possibly Windows 8) apps, Apple-centric iOS users will be pleased with the improvements made in iWork that were shown recently at WWDC. Perhaps we'll see more enterprise-level features made during SharePoint Conference 2014 which was announced earlier. Microsoft will also have to drop its recent advert that said you can edit on Windows tablets, but not on an iPad, although its latest dig at Apple will probably do them just fine for now.