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Office 365 App Now Available for iOS

Microsoft today released a version of its Office suite for the iPhone, the first time the company offered the combination of Word, Excel and PowerPoint on an iOS device. However, the app is only currently available for Office 365 subscribers.

While Microsoft has offered OneNote and Lync clients for iOS, customers have long pushed Microsoft to offer the full Office bundle for the iPhone and iPad. The new Office Mobile for Office 365 is intended for the iPhone, though Microsoft said it's possible to download the new app on the iPad as well. However Microsoft is advising those with iPads to use Office Web Apps with the tablet.

"Like all iPhone apps, Office Mobile can work on iPad, either small or "2X" scaled up, but you'll have a more satisfying experience using Office Web Apps," the company said in a blog post.

I downloaded the new Office bundle on to m y iPad to see if it was suitable. While I only spent a few minutes using Word, it works (but is not ideal). The resolution is mediocre and it offers only a limited view because the on-screen keyboard takes up half the display. Though I didn't test it with an external keyboard, I'd think that scenario might offer more on-screen viewing space.

Nevertheless Office Mobile for Office 365 should be a welcome addition to iPhone users – many of whom are Windows IT pros. According to the Redmond magazine 2013 Readership Survey published last week, 33 percent of 1,163 respondents say they own an iPhone. More importantly, 69 percent say they support iPhones for use by employees within their organizations.

Microsoft no doubt is hoping this will accelerate the momentum of Office 365. According to the Redmond magazine survey, 12 percent of 1,022 respondents said their organizations will deploy Office 365 within the next 12 months, while 49 percent will upgrade to Office 2013. Depending on the license, many of those organizations using Office 2013 will have Office 365 subscriptions as well.

Of course, the big question now is will (or when will) Microsoft develop a version of Office specifically designed for the iPad? Will the company add support for Office 365 features, such as SharePoint Online? Our research shows that out of 1,159 respondents, 51 percent personally own an iPad and 61 percent say their organizations support iPads. Still, those who don't use or plan to sign on to the subscription-based service will be disappointed Microsoft didn't release a standalone app.

What's your take on this move? If you test the app on either your iPhone or iPad, please give us your thoughts below or drop me a line at jschwartz@1105media.com.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/14/2013 at 1:15 PM


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