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Late to the Party

March 28, 2014 - Dave Hecei
ipad 365 Microsoft has a new CEO and now they have a new version of Office. During an event on Thursday March 27, Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, unveiled the much-rumored Office for iPad Apps. This includes the three main Office apps – Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

While this announcement was not much of a surprise to the tech press, they have been reporting on this for a while now. The only problem is that the iPad is on its 5th generation and they only now make Office available. It just might be a bit late to the game for Microsoft.

Each of the three Office apps is available now on the Apple App Store for free. Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are truly written for iOS with the usual Windows look but with an iOS touch interface. They did get this part right by not just making the Windows or Mac OS version fit iOS.

Did you blink there? Yes, Office for iOS is free. Well, it sort of is free. The new iOS version of Office is now another piece in their cloud/subscription based Office 365. This is good and bad, but from what I’ve seen so far it’s mostly good. If you already have Office 365 they you can just add your info to the iOS apps and viola, you have Office on the iPad at no additional cost.

The bad part is if you don’t already have Office 365. The best deal I’ve seen for Office 365 is for about $68 for 1 year. Doing the maths, that works out to be just under $6/month. If you plan on using Office only on the iPad then that’s a little steep and I’d pretty much suggest looking at Apple’s iWorks or other solutions. With the 1 year subscription you are allowed to install Office 365 on up to five devices. These can be a Windows 7 or 8 PC (XP and Vista are out), Windows 8 tablet, Mac running OS X 10.6 or better, and compatible mobile devices (now including iOS 7 devices).

This works out to be a decent deal for a family or if you have a home office with a smart phone, tablet, and one or more computers. For my setup I would have four devices. A PC tower, Windows 8 tablet, MacBook, and Mac mini. Unfortunately, I own a first-gen iPad, which can only run up to iOS 5. This one won’t be running Office anytime soon, if at all. These four devices can each run the latest version of Office for a low monthly rate. For me, it seems worth it.

Office is not something you have to have. If you need Office you will know it since it fills a very specific need. Apple’s own iWork Apps do very nicely for most Mac/iOS users. Though it is nice to see that Microsoft finally made it to the iOS party, just very late indeed.


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