Microsoft Office for iPad Fail


[Update March 28, 2014.  There’a a fail here — but it’s mine.  Subscribing to Office 365 unlocks the full-featured versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.  My mea culpa is here.  Please ignore what follows.  And my apologies to Microsoft.]

Today I saw the announcement I’ve been waiting for: Microsoft finally released Office for iPad, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  (OneNote has been available for a while now.)  I headed to the App store and started hunting.  Thus began my journey through the Microsoft Office for iPad fail.

Amazingly, when you search for “Microsoft” you get tons of results from companies that are not Microsoft.  Office itself seems fairly invisible.

Word for iPad App Store Screen

Word for iPad App Store Screen

Once you find the Microsoft products, you discover they’re not offered as a suite download.  Each of the three apps has to be downloaded separately.  And — puzzling — they are FREE.  Suspicious?  You bet.  Read on.

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Word for iPad description

Word for iPad description

That’s right — these are the lightweight file viewers that have been available forever at Microsoft.com.  To actually do any work, you’ll need to subscribe to Office 365.  Now this is actually not a bad deal. For $100 a year you can use all of Office on up to five computers and five tablets.  But, frankly, I’ve been using Documents to Go for years now and really like it. This app is from DataViz and is priced at about $20 for the version that lets you edit files.

Documents To Go

Documents To Go

Granted, the editing capabilities are limited, but I’m old enough to remember that “cloud” access is never guaranteed.  If I have the app and data on my local machine, I’m much happier.  And, as an added bonus. Documents to Go handles pdf files.


About Tony Lima

Tony Lima has been working with technology, economic modeling, forecasting, and market research for 40 years. His background makes him uniquely qualified to navigate this varied landscape. Begin with his education: B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T. , M.B.A. from Harvard, Ph.D. in economics from Stanford. His day job was professor of economics at California State University, East Bay. He retired in 2016 to devote his time to consulting and writing. But he has found time to: write (eight books and over 100 articles ranging from wine economics to detailed analyses of meta-language code generators) consult with companies ranging from Microsoft to CEDEX keep his expertise up-to-date, constantly reading and sorting through the avalanche of information available daily maintain three blogs: Wine Research, Wine Economics, and Economic Policy Local policy analysis: Los Altos Politico.com

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  1. Pingback: I Was Wrong About Microsoft Office for iPad - Tony Lima Associates

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