Microsoft Office on your iPad, courtesy of the cloud
iOS App of the Week There have been a lot of rumours recently about Microsoft launching a version of Office for the iPad. I doubt it - it would amount to a pre-admission of the failure of Windows 8 on tablets.
It’s not really essential either, as there are a number of good Office-compatible applications and suites that are already available for iOS. But if you feel more comfortable with the real thing then it might be worth looking at CloudOn, which was originally launched for the iPad back in January and has recently been updated to a more rounded version 2.0.
Excel on your iPad, anyone?
As the name suggests, CloudOn is a cloud-based service that allows you to run licensed copies of Excel, Word and PowerPoint on its servers. All your documents are stored online too, using either a Dropbox or Box.com account, or simply by emailing the document to its intended recipient.
Of course, Word and Co. were never designed for use on touchscreen devices, and there are occasions then selecting menu items or commands with your finger can seem a bit fiddly. However, the graphical ‘ribbon’ interface used by the various Office apps these days actually turns out to be reasonably touch-friendly.
Or how about PowerPoint?
CloudOn also performs some minor tweaks of its own, such as the ability to tap-and-hold on the screen in order to simulate a right-click and activate various context-sensitive commands.
I have to admit that there’s something strangely comforting about seeing that familiar interface on the screen of the iPad. It helps you to feel that you can just dive straight in and start working with the apps that you’re already so familiar with.
Access your files from the cloud
The one big disadvantage is that CloudOn requires an internet connection at all times. You can’t simply download a set of documents from your Dropbox account and then go offline while you carry on working. That’s not a problem if you’re tapping out some notes in a Starbucks with free Wi-Fi, but it’ll be a deal-breaker for anyone that wants to do some work on a plane.
And, of course, there’s the matter of pricing. CloudOn is free at the moment, but the developers do have to license the Office software from Microsoft so at some point they’ll need to start charging. There’s talk of a ‘freemium’ pricing model being introduced in the future, but no specific details are available as yet.
Typing is easy enough, but tapping the tiny button bar icons can be fiddly
For now, though, CloudOn is still free so there’s no harm in downloading it and seeing how it feels to have genuine copies of Word and Excel running on your iPad. ®
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Re: Pre-admission of failure? No, marketing.
Better that customers have *your* free version than the competitors' - remove drift to Google Docs or similar, not to mention service the huge Office client sites where iPads are used in conjunction with SharePoint and other server licenses.
Pre-admission of failure? No, marketing.
Microsoft think that having a free-version of Office on Windows RT (ARM version) will be a killer app as far as selling that version of Win8 is concerned. Whether they are right or wrong about that it is not difficult to see that porting it to the big tablet rival would not be the smartest move they could make.
Re: weird logic
Yeah, selling office licenses to another x hundred million customers would be a right failure. Where do the reg get these hopeless journalists from?
And this service may be free, but I cannot see how the license model would work so I would expect it to last about 10 minutes.
"Office for the iPad ... would amount to a pre-admission of the failure of Windows 8 on tablets."
And iTunes on PCs is an admission of its failure on Macs, ... oh wait...
Re: @hitmouse: I take your point and I have to admit...........
It's happened so many times before such as with Oracle pouring money into OpenOffice for which it didn't get a cent, but at least it hit Microsoft and perhaps reduced likelihood of adopting SQL Server.
I've also spoken to technical reps in countries where software pirating is rife - they explain that their job is to make sure it's their company's software that is used and not another's, because as soon as the country tightens up its regulations, then people will pay to upgrade what they already have.
Exactly where a company gets its revenue is not important, as long as they're getting some and their competitors aren't.