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Microsoft launches long-awaited Office for iPad [u]

updated 01:34 pm EDT, Thu March 27, 2014

Carries over editing, ribbon interface, other features

(Updated with app download links, dropping of subscription requirement for Office Mobile for iPhone)) Microsoft is today officially releasing Office for iPad, a long-rumored port of its Windows and Mac work suite. The trio of apps let people do full editing of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, while preserving the same formatting seen on the desktop. Each app uses a custom touch-tailored interface, for instance offering a special numerical/symbolic keyboard for Excel. The apps do however make use of the same "ribbon" interface scheme.

The apps save files to OneDrive by default, and can be viewed and worked on from any other version of Office. Along those lines Microsoft has also implemented collaboration features, allowing multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously, with views of change notes and who's currently active.

Microsoft is using a "freemium" model for pricing. Basic functions will be free, but full functionality (including editing) will require an Office 365 subscription. The Office apps will reach the App Store at about 11AM Pacific time, or 2PM Eastern.

Update: The iPad versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are now available. Less noticed by also of significance, as it launched Office for iPad, Microsoft dropped the previous Office 365 subscription requirement for its previous Office viewer app, Office Mobile. The older and iPhone-only app can only open and display Microsoft Office documents, but has dropped its subscription requirement in light of the new release.






By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Mr. Strat

    Junior Member

    Joined: 01-23-02

    I prefer to pay for my software only once

    Pass...

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-01-09

    Great, the company which just had a cross-platform bug has released a vector for it on the iPad, just what we were all waiting for!

  1. Fonejacker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-11-10

    I don't think it was awaited. As there are alternatives that are free, better, or simply do the job, and not a truck of a program that MS Office is, no matter what platform/desktop, or mobile. They have left everything too late. MP3 players, smartphones, tablets. They have never been an innovative company. Held back the IT industry, but now are no longer relevant to most companies that use computers. Thank God for Ballmer.

  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 02-27-09

    The article is incorrect. You cannot do "basic functions" for free. You can't do anything for free other than view the documents.

  1. daqman

    Junior Member

    Joined: 09-15-00

    "full functionality (including editing) will require an Office 365 subscription."

    It's just about useless to me then because I'm not taking out an Office 365 subscription just to use this and I can't edit with the "free" version. Oh well, should have guessed.

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    I used to think subscriptions were a rip-off but over the years, it's cheaper or equal to the normal paid upgrade cycle. This assumes you keep your software up-to-date.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    Have to agree with msuper69 here -- other than those that allow themselves to get too far outside the upgrade cycle, subscription-based software is negligibly different in price in the long-run. The subscription model negatively impacts two major types of people, generally:

    1) Those who allow themselves to become too far removed from the software's upgrade cycle -- likely bobolicious (good thing iMovie 1 on a PowerPC wasn't subscription based, otherwise he'd be out $100,000 probably) and, more seriously, agencies and design houses who hold off on the latest and greatest in favor of stability and workflow continuity.

    2) Those that are averse to the new subscription-based software model, likely due to unfamiliarity or stubbornness.

    Of course, the pay-once-for-software model also had its population that it alienated as well -- typically, those who would like to use the software (home users wanting casual use out of Photoshop, Office, etc.) but couldn't justify plunking down that large of a sum, sometimes approaching the thousands of dollars in one, lump payment. For those, the subscription model might work better because it spreads the cost out over time and doesn't hit them in the pocketbook all at once.

    Of course, at some point on a timeline, you can point to various times in the future and say, "Look, see? I told you, it's [more/less] expensive to stick to the [subscription/pay-once] model." It just depends on where on the line you point. You can make either look better than the other simply by altering where on the timeline you're pointing.

    Each has its benefits, each has its drawbacks. With that being said, though, you'll decidedly find me in camp #2 above. It's just too new at the moment, and I have to get over the "Gosh darnit, I hate this new freemium software model because it seems unethical and scammish." My hope is that the publishers of the software continue to offer both models side-by-side for a time to ease stubborn guys like me into the new model with minimal pain and disruption.

  1. jglynn

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-27-14

    It is a good thing Microsoft doesn't deal with children–they would probably offer them an empty ice cream cone and then tell them they will have to pay for the ice cream.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Junior Member

    Joined: 01-23-02

    So $10 each for Pages, Keynote, and Numbers is cheaper than paying $10/month for each app?

    What alien world did you come from?

    jglynn got it right

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    In the case where the monthly subscription price is identical to the one-time-purchase price, yes. You're right.

    I don't know of any subscription-based software that costs the same per month as it did as a one-time-purchase... otherwise, Microsoft would be charging $300 a month for the Office suite.

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: 07-16-04

    Pig must be flying because I'm here arguing that Microsoft has a decent deal here for anyone that actually "needs" office. If you don't "need" office then don't download it but 99 bucks for up to 5 copies of office in your house on mac or PC and access to the iPad version and One drive storage and Skype minutes seems like a deal to me assuming you actually "need" office.

    How much would even two copies of Office for mac or PC set you back? A lot.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    Like I said, the one-time-purchase proponents can point to a place on a timeline and say, "See? My way is a better value," while the subscription-model proponents can point to a different place on the timeline and say, "No, see? My way is a better value."

    Subscription models have a lower cost barrier to entry, while one-time-purchase models have a larger value in the long run if you are willing to venture outside the comfort of the upgrade curve.

    It all depends on what kind of user you are. We seem to have both here in the comment section.

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 01-03-08

    I'm not against a subscription offering, like Microsoft has here. My critique is on how Microsoft hopes to compete on iPad when people can purchase cheaper or more likely free options to Office. How much more development does a word processor or presentation app need on any device these days? Getting Pages, Google Docs, Writer, etc and you're pretty much using the same technology to create a document that's been around for 10 years.

    Let's be honest, the true gem that no one can touch (and Microsoft knows it) is Excel. It has no equal even this many years later. So it bundles it in the Office 365 subscription to beef up the appearance. Otherwise, I'd only get Excel out of any of these Microsoft apps (including OneDrive) and use free, better featured alternatives for the rest.

  1. nouser

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-29-12

    Last time I looked, the iWorks apps were FREE at the Apple AppStore. This includes a spreadsheet, word processor and presentation package that are MS compatible. I routinely open MS Office files in iWorks, make edits and save them back in MS format without issue. So asking me to fork over $99 every year for something I have for free already is not realistic.

  1. boleric

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-02-07

    @nouser The only thing I don't like about free is that if no one is making money on a project it eventually gets abandoned or just sucks. I am worried that if Apple makes no money on iworks that if eventually gets ignored. Apple seems to be hit and miss with their software packages and it makes me nervous. One thing I can count on with Microsoft is that they will always support Office. Oh and they will charge me an arm and a leg for it :)

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