We suppose it was inevitable, but it still felt weird when we wrote that headline. Microsoft today announced and subsequently released its main trio of Office software — Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — for its tablet arch-nemesis, Apple’s iPad.
So what’s the deal? Why has Microsoft chosen to release these Office apps for a competing platform? That question was never addressed directly, but from our perspective it’s crystal clear why: Office is still the gold standard of productivity apps and the iPad is a gigantic, untapped market. This is reflected in their strategy with these iPad apps as well. Even though Word, Excel and PowerPoint are all free download from the App Store, there’s a minor catch: you need an Office 365 subscription to actually edit your documents, workbooks and slideshows. If you’re unconvinced by Microsoft’s subscription service however, the apps will still let you use them for reading and presenting documents — enough for most casual users who just want the formatting to be readable (often a major problem with third-party document viewers).
When you think about it though, these tablet apps may be the final piece of the puzzle to turn Office 365 into a convincing purchase for most people. For the $9.99 per month asking price, Microsoft gives you the ability to run Office on 5 computers (PC and OSX) plus 5 tablets (Windows and iPad) as well as an unlimited number of Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone smartphones. They also throw in 20 GB of additional OneDrive storage for each user (up to five), access to Office Online, and even 60 minutes of free Skype calling every month.
We’re struggling to even say this, but these Office apps for the iPad are also gorgeous. Microsoft says they created all of these apps specifically for the iPad from the ground up, and all three are a clear improvement over the iPhone counterparts. Speaking of Apple’s smartphone, Microsoft also announced that the Office Mobile for iPhone and Android have been updated
to give users the ability to read and present documents for free (previously you couldn’t use the apps at all unless you had an Office 365 subscription). [Correction: Office for iPhone and Android are now completely free with full editing capabilities.]
If you’re interested in trying Office 365, you can start a 1-month trial by signing up here. You can download all of the newly-released Office for iPad apps at these following links (requires iOS 7.0 and up):
- Download Microsoft Word for iPad here.
- Download Microsoft Excel for iPad here.
- Download Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad here.
Tags: Office, Office 365, Rivals