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Microsoft Releases iOS Office App; We Yawn Repeatedly

By William Peacock, Esq. on June 17, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Congratulations, less-than 18.2 percent of America! You now have access to mobile Microsoft Office, assuming you also want to pay a $100 per year subscription cost!

Yep. And that's further proof that Microsoft is losing its way.

First, the company steadfastly squandered its position in the mobile phone market, allowing Apple and Android to achieve a de facto duopoly. (Yes, Windows Mobile pre-dated the two mobile OSes. People actually used it too.). Then, when their mobile OS market share plummeted from 47 percent to three-guys-in-Redmond, they refused to release Microsoft Office for other systems.

Earlier this year, there were rumors of a reversal-of-course and 2014 ETA for Microsoft Office for iPad, iPhones, and even Android. And then, without warning, they released an iPhone-only app that almost no one can actually use.

That’s the ticket. Release a product, with no pre-release hype, to the smallest possible share of the market while a plethora of mobile office suite alternatives dominate the market and continue to improve.

We’d love to write a comprehensive review of Office for iPhone, but alas, we’re part of the 81.8 percent of smartphone users who don’t use iPhones. And we’re definitely not planning on buying a $100 per year subscription to Office 365.

If you are interested, and meet the prerequisites, Gizmodo did a great walkthrough of the new app. The short version is this: Excel actually works, Word is painful for most tasks except quick edits, and as for Powerpoint, you can probably fix a typo and maybe reorder the slides.

The app does look pretty, though!

Look, you’re not going to write a 100 page SCOTUS amicus brief on an iPhone. Quick edits are great, and are probably sufficient for most people. The thing is, when a company waits years to release an app, and is the market leader for desktop office suites, we expect a lot more.

Right now, you could draft such a brief on an iPad or Android tablet, so long as you had quick thumbs or an external keyboard. Mobile office apps have come a long way. A half-baked phone-only app that requires a massive annual subscription is only going to attract true Microsoft fanboys, which hilariously enough, probably wouldn’t be using an iPhone anyway. They are the six people who own Windows Phone 8 devices.

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