Office mobile on iPhone – well most of it…

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 by Simon Morton

The Office for Apple debate has been like a frustrating box of chocolates – filled with the promise of wondrous enjoyment but delivering only coffee creams at every bite. The whole thing has been so disappointing that we are currently being enticed by the prospect of paying for the pleasure of nibbling at a caramel barrel.

Chocolate aside (not for long I promise) I am, of course, referring to the launch of the Microsoft Office mobile app for iPhone. Which on the face of it sounds like a step in the right direction and indeed it is – if you consider continental drift to be travelling.

There are two key issues before we even look at functionality. Firstly the app can only be used with an Office 365 subscription. Secondly the app can only be used on iPhones and the iPad mini.

Office for iPad is a dream for many business users and not only have we been denied it again but there is a real, *sticks tongue out, turns up nose with thumb and wiggles fingers while singing  na,na,na,na,na* feel to the whole thing being denied to us again. So near and yet so far…

But even for those of you sitting smugly with iPhones and 365 subscriptions in hand, the dream remains diluted. The new app will allow the non myopic among you to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. But you can only create Word and Excel documents. PowerPoint creation is not allowed. You now have access to the fruit creams (orange and strawberry) and the Turkish delight but that’s your lot.

From the Microsoft perspective they’ve thrown in some excellent functionality.  All edits applied through the app will be there when you access the docs from your desktop. The Slide Navigator lets you page through PowerPoint presentations quickly. The ‘Speaker Notes’ feature helps you practice presentations on the move. And the Resume Reading feature takes you the precise point in a document where you last left from. It’s almost like they’re saying ‘see who’s trying here; see who cares’….

Microsoft office has over 1 billion users, over 300 million iPads have been sold and I don’t need a venn diagram to illustrate the size of the overlap. Every bone in my body wants to lock Apple and Microsoft in a room together and not let them out until they’ve decided to be sensible about the whole thing, but sadly, that’s never going to happen.

So here we are, iPad users of the world, almost able to taste the merest hint of smooth chocolate but with all the luscious caramel stuck to our chins, and no-one likes to be sticky….


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One Response to “Office mobile on iPhone – well most of it…”

  1. Simon Morton says:

    Interesting follow up article in the NY Times which shares much the same apathy and frustration:

    There is one point raised by the journo that is questionable – the other iPad apps mentioned (Documents to Go etc) are all pretty lousy and support few of PowerPoint’s real functionality. Don’t waste your money – this is the only contender at the moment:

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