Towards the end of last week Microsoft brought a version of Office to iOS for the first time – while leaving out an iPad version. Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers (catchy name!) is an iPhone only app for now, and is ‘the official Office companion optimized for your iPhone’.
Here’s a little more of the App Store description for this new Office Mobile app for iPhone:
You can access, view and edit your Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint documents from virtually anywhere. Documents look like the originals, thanks to support for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. When you make quick edits or add comments to a document, the formatting and content remain intact.
The one big catch on this app is that it requires an Office 365 subscription to use it. For home users those start at $100 per year. Compared to the $20- 30 range for a number of Office compatible suites on iOS (like QuickOffice, Documents to Go and Apple’s IWork suite) that’s a very steep cost. If you really *need* official Office compatibility and rely on Office docs heavily in your job, I imagine it’s not an issue – but I wonder how that’s going to go down with more ‘casual’ Office users.
Microsoft is also coming into this market on iOS very late. And they’re still offering no iPad version – which ties in nicely with their TV ads mocking the fact that an iPad can’t run a Powerpoint app. I still think Apple has the last laugh here – as I don’t see a lot of prospective new tablet buyers finding Powerpoint a killer feature and Microsoft are leaving potentially billions of dollars on the table by not selling Office on iPad and iOS.