Microsoft Office for iPad leaves me impressed and somewhat confused

by Volker Weber

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Very impressive presentation by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and General Manager Julia White. And quite an image overhaul from the Ballmer days. Here are my take-aways:

  1. Microsoft is dead serious to bring Office to all devices and platforms. This includes Windows and Mac, iPhones and iPads, and Android. Office Mobile is now free for iPhone and Android Phones and comes preinstalled on Windows Phone. "All" does not appear to include BlackBerry.
  2. Office for iPad is very impressive. It's a free download, but without Office 365 subscription, it can only be used to read or present. OneNote also got an update today to bring it up to the same design. Again, very nice addition.
  3. I will reserve judgement until next week's Build conference, but Office for Windows currently looks like a dead duck on touch devices. I just hope for Microsoft, that they have Metro apps up their sleeves to be introduced next week.
  4. I have an enterprise angle on everything I see. So Active Directory on Azure was more important to me than Office on iPad.
  5. And on the same agenda, I am still a bit confused on how Microsoft is improving Intune to support their announcement of an Enterprise Mobility Suite.
There are plenty of alternatives to Office on iPad, including the iWork suite provided for free by Apple. Mac users should be fine with the way that iWorks documents float back and forth between Macs and iPads. For casual office works once in a while, not a lot of private users would be willing to pay for Office 365.

In the enterprise however, using iWork is a PITA. You have document conversions, which never really work. Having native Office apps on iPad hopefully takes a lot of those headaches away. But Office 365 cannot possibly be the only way to license these apps. Many enterprises use different licensing schemes today.

What I cannot get over is the striking difference between the iPad apps and what Microsoft has done for Surface so far. Worlds apart.

Comments

"Free download" link links to your site ;)

Ingo Seifert, 2014-03-28 00:33

Fixed, danke.

Volker Weber, 2014-03-28 00:35

No editing without an Office 365 subscription makes me stay with iWorks for private use. It is just too expensive as I do not need this on several devices when I still have Office 2007 for Windows.

BTW: The download link still links to vowe.net :)

Bernd Schuster, 2014-03-28 07:39

First things first: the link works (for me).

Second: it is great to finally have an app that is able to at least show even more complex ppt correctly. At work, we still have Office 2007 with lots of integrated tools - a full switch to Office 365 will probably only happen much later. But hey, I can now review ppt files sent to me and give feedback while on the phone. (A simple comment function even in the free version would of course rock...) Thanks, MS.

Jonas

Jonas Rathert, 2014-03-28 08:05

Iwork suite for ipad is not free, is it?

Thomas Merchel, 2014-03-28 08:29

It's free with every new iPad. And very affordable for old ones.

Volker Weber, 2014-03-28 08:33

Too bad you can only rent via Office 365, when you can buy it I might think about it. Still having a plain old Office Pro license here.

What do you mean with "What I cannot get over is the striking difference between the iPad apps and what Microsoft has done for Surface so far. Worlds apart."? What's better the better version, iOS or RT?

Joachim Bode, 2014-03-28 12:17

iOS is far better. On RT it runs on the desktop with tiny controls.

Volker Weber, 2014-03-28 12:19

Office apps for iPad do not play with every child... It's a pity, that they do not even allow to "open in" documents in other apps. Only mailing a document as attachment and saving to SkyDrive is not what I would expect from a business app.

Peter Meuser, 2014-03-29 17:46

Oh sorry, I forget, that you can also use a URL to a SharePoint-Website... but that has to be directly reachable in some kind (same WiFi network, SP accessible from the Internet or VPN to the enterprise). Is that a realistic approach for every corporate environment?

Peter Meuser, 2014-03-29 18:09

It's like the family where the nieces and nephews always get the shiny presents but the own children not.

Thomas Jungbluth, 2014-03-30 19:17

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vowe.net is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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