Office Web Apps – pretty darn good on an iPad
Last week Microsoft quietly released it Office 365 iPhone app in the wild.
The app lets users edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from Apple phones. It has limited functionality and users need a full Office 365 subscription – that’s NZ$165.
In effect this means users need to run Office on a PC as well as on their phone to get any value from the iPhone app.
Microsoft’s app is strictly iPhone only. You can’t run it on an iPad - (update: apparently you can run it on an iPad 3 or later, either at iPhone size or scaled up) . Microsoft says this is because the software company’s free web versions of Office apps is the way to go.
Some commentators dismiss this idea. Matt Burns at TechCrunch goes further. He says: If Office hits the iPad, even fewer people would buy a Surface.
Burns has a point about a full-fledged iPad Office app hurting Surface sales.
Microsoft’s nice, but expensive, tablet hasn’t been a widespread hit but it is popular with people who want or need desktop-class Office on a tablet.
I’ve been using Microsoft’s Word and Excel Web Apps on my iPad for the last nine months along with SkyDrive. Word Web App is not my first choice of iPad word processor – I prefer the $1.99 iA Writer – but it has everything I need.
Likewise I use the Excel Web App on my iPad. It’s perfect for my needs.
Admittedly my Office software requirements are minimal – I mainly use the tools to write news stories when I’m away from home. But I’d say Microsoft’s statement about the iPhone Office app is correct: if you want Office on an iPad the web apps are the way to go. And they have another advantage over a iTunes-store Office app, they are free.
Microsoft’s Office 365 app for the iPhone announcement is unusual on a number of counts:
One: the news was surprisingly low-key considering getting Office 365 on an iOS device is strategic to the company. Apple’s iPhone may be outsold by Android, but it’s an important market for Microsoft. There was no flashy press function, Microsoft slipped the news out quietly through it’s Office 365 blog.
Two: Officially the software is known as Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers. Microsoft has a track record of giving products terrible names, but this sets a whole new level of awfulness, particularly with the word Office appearing twice.
Three: Going by the promotional material, the app is substantially different to the Office app included with Windows Phone 8. The app is basic, it wouldn’t be enough on its own. To make use of it you also need Office 365 on a PC or Mac and to save documents to a Skydrive account.
Four: You need to have an Office 365 subscription, that’s NZ$165. If you already have Office 365 you can sign-in with your existing account, if you don’t you can buy one through the iTunes store. That’s means Apple earns 30 percent of the deal, which makes for an interesting relationship between the two companies.
Five: Microsoft’s app is for the iPhone only, not the iPad. This is curious because Microsoft needs to get fondleslab users hooked on Office before they find alternative tools.
Microsoft rightly says iPad uses will find the free web-delivered Office apps more useful. But it underestimates the marketing importance of distributing an app via the iTunes app store. And while it might sound trivial, some Office users would feel more comfortable with an Office icon on their iPad’s home screen.
John Kirk makes interesting points in Apple In Perspective at Tech.pinions when he says investors and those who watch the stock market put too much emphasis on quarterly reporting.
His point is if you look at Apple’s numbers for the recently announced quarter, you might think you’re looking at a company in decline. But year-on-year numbers show anything but a decline.
Sales of iPhones and iPads continue to grow at a healthy clip. And profits of US$9.5 billion on revenue of US$43.6 billion is an outstanding result by the standards of any other company in the world.
Smartphone battle isn’t Android versus iOS, but Samsung versus Apple.
Tomorrow Apple’s iPhone faces the most serious challenge yet to its smartphone dominance when Samsung takes the wraps off the Galaxy S4. Few specifics are known about the new phone at this stage – although there are plenty of speculative stories online if you want to know what people think the new phone’s specification will be.
Apple’s most recent smartphone, the iPhone 5 remains the recognised market leader. The iPhone brand is better known than any of its rivals. In many markets the iPhone is the top-selling model – although analysts say Samsung outsold Apple globally last year.
Which is why the Galaxy S4 is so important.
Apple pioneered touch screen phones when it launched the first iPhone in 2007. After playing catch-up Samsung proved last year it can innovate as well as Apple. Now it has an opportunity to out-innovate and comprehensively out-sell Apple. That will mark the company’s ascendancy.
The next iPhone isn’t due until around mid-year, which gives Samsung a three-month head start on its rival and increases the pressure on Apple.
Samsung doesn’t have things all its own way. The high end of the smartphone game is close to market saturation. Overall smartphone sales are still growing at around 10% year-on-year but that’s a long way from the 27% growth seen in 2012.
Martyrdom and Funeral of St. Ursula Vittore Carpaccio
After writing Does Microsoft still matter? it occurred to me that I write a lot of posts about a company that is possibly out of the running when it comes to leading the technology industry.
At the time of writing there are 92 stories tagged “Microsoft” on this site. That’s more than the number of tags for Apple, Google and Samsung combined.
One possible reason is my tagging isn’t that good. The word “Apple” turns up in 114 posts, while “Microsoft” is in 140. That’s partly because Microsoft has ambiguous brand names. I have to spell out that Word or Windows means the Microsoft product while iPad, Mac, iPhone and iPod are all unambiguous.
A second reason is that this site is now seven years old. Microsoft loomed larger in the early days. If you look at posts only from the last two years, Apple is well in front of Microsoft.
And let’s not forget my focus is more on business than on consumer technology – that tends to slew more in Microsoft’s direction.
Still, for a company that may “no longer matter”, Microsoft gets a fair share of coverage.
You can buy a 16GB iPhone 5 from Apple and other outlets for $1049. That’s a lot of money up-front for many people, so many New Zealanders choose to get smartphones on a carrier plan. Here I’ve compared all the options from Telecom and Vodafone in one easy to read table.
The contract plan table is an embedded Excel spreadsheet, so you should be able to sort and filter the data to get the information you need.
Changed Telecom no contract details 10/11/2012
Please note, Telecom has a fair use policy for the places on the chart where I’ve written “unmetered”. In effect this means Telecom reserves its rights if you abuse the unlimited amounts. For more details see: http://www.telecom.co.nz/mobile/mobile/iphone/iphone5/