tech thoughts

Bring on Office for iOS

In his article for Macworld, john Moltz talks about Office on iPad.

I’m not claiming that office applications are going to die out—that would be a stupid argument to make. But I do find them to be an anachronism. Mobile platforms and the Web have taught us the flip side of that old saw: If you hate something, let it go. If it doesn’t come back, good riddance.

John’s moved on. While many small offices and single person shops can easily move to alternative document and spreadsheet creation applications, large businesses still run on Microsoft Office. Windows and Office. That’s what I see all day. Believe me, Office for iOS will be a massive addition to the platform.

While iPad has sold millions and has been integrated into many enterprise environments, many of these users wish they had Office on their iPad. I’m one of those. I bring my iPad to meetings, take notes in Evernote and track my todos in Ita. But when I get a Word document, Excel spreadsheet or Powerpoint presentation sent to me, I dread what will happen when I open it. Sometimes, it’s fine. But not usually. Complex spreadsheets (and some not so complex ones) are especially bad.

I hear it from many others as well. From my father who wants to read an attachment. From my boss who wants to work on a spreadsheet. From the sales manager with a Powerpoint deck to show. They love everything else about their iPad so they make due with Pages, Numbers and Keynote. These work great for creation (I’ll bet they will be far more pleasant to use then Office will be), but are not perfect solutions. They don’t “just work” when you are trying to share to and from an Office using coworker.

In fact, users are so hungry for a solution that they are spending $19.99 on one of the top grossing apps, Quick Office Pro HD (it’s at number 12 today). Every one of these users will buy Office as will many others.

It will also remove one of the key reasons many people still hold against iPad. Remember back when Mac Office couldn’t open Windows Office files properly? That is still an argument many in enterprise use today against iPad.

For some, the iWork apps are great. But a real version of Microsoft Office will provide a better solution for many, assuming it’s any good.

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