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Microsoft (Finally) Releases Office for iPad: Pros and Cons

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

It's here! It's finally here, and you'll no longer have to switch between Apple's iWork Suite on your iPad and Microsoft Office on your desktop!

The rumors hit yesterday afternoon, and this morning, at a press event in San Francisco, Microsoft announced a brand new variant of its Office suite for the iPad, something many have been begging for for years.

Now that it has been officially announced, you're probably wondering: what's the catch?

Why You'll Love It

It's Microsoft Office. We all use it on our main computers, then, when on the go, we try to use third-party programs that are semi-compatible with Office's file formats. No more file compatibility issues, no more weird interfaces, nada.

Besides, do we really need to sell you on Microsoft Office? Unless you're one of those WordPerfect holdouts, this is your daily driver, now on your tablet.

The screenshots released this morning, available at The Verge's website, show an office suite with the same "Ribbon" interface the desktop uses, though slightly cleaner and more mobile-friendly. There's a full-featured version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and you can sync your files with your desktop through Microsoft's OneDrive, the cloud storage service formerly known as SkyDrive. There's no word yet on support for third-party cloud storage services, such as Box or DropBox, but we'd be shocked if Microsoft omitted such a feature.

Why You'll Hate It

We yawned at Microsoft's Office for iPhone and Android, not only because editing documents on a phone's tiny screen and keyboard is ridiculous, but mainly because the apps require a Microsoft Office 365 subscription. And monthly subscriptions make our souls and wallets hurt. How much pain will your firm be in?

For businesses, the cheapest plan that includes desktop and mobile versions of Office is $12.50 per month per user, up to 25 users, billed annually ($150 total per person). Beyond that, you're looking at an Enterprise plan, which is $20 per user per month ($240 per year), with an annual commitment required.

There's also a recently-announced personal variant, which is $6.99-per-month (or a discounted $69.99 a year), which is what most solo attorneys would probably go for, if they are willing to pay a monthly toll.

Maybe we're old fashioned, but we're used to paying one time for Office, not every month. Then again, if the iOS version is as useful as it looks, this might change our minds.

How about you? Would you pay a monthly toll to access Office on the go? Tell us your thoughts on Facebook.

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