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MS Office for iPad Limited, Phone Versions Free, Snooping Stopped

By William Peacock, Esq. on March 31, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Since last week's announcement of Microsoft Office for iPad, more details have leaked on the company's newest addition to the family, including a couple significant limitations that were discovered by third-party reviewers.

Meanwhile, the Office for iPhone and Android, apps that we barely noticed? They're still largely insignificant, due to extremely limited feature sets, but there's a new silver lining: they're free! Every other alternative app is superior, but yeah, free!

And as a third quick update for your Monday morning perusal, Microsoft actually listened to criticism! Since the company revealed that it tapped into a blogger's Hotmail account to plug an internal leak, it has faced constant and nearly universal criticism, even after it set up a semi-protected kangaroo court to manage such situations. They have a new new remedy this week, one that is sure to satisfy nearly all privacy advocates.

Office for iPad: Two More Limitations

Let's start with a reminder of the biggest limitation of Microsoft Office for iPad: you need to pay a monthly subscription through Office 365 in order to use it. We have more details on the subscription prices in last week's coverage of the announcement.

But that's not the only limitation that may turn off users. Since the program has hit the Internet, third-party reviewers have discovered two other issues: you can't print directly from the apps (yet) and cloud storage is limited to Microsoft's own OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive).

The company told Engadget that support for printing was coming soon, but for now, you'll have to save your documents to your OneDrive, then print them at the nearest computer. It's not a big deal if your iPad is only for mobile edits, but if you have a need to print directly from the tablet, the limitation is worth noting.

Speaking of OneDrive, my apologies on last week's prediction of support for third-party cloud storage, such as DropBox or Box. Considering every other office suite has support for those services, it seemed natural that Microsoft would as well. Apparently not, at least for now. But, if you're already using one of the latest versions of Office on your desktop, OneDrive should be the most seamless provider out there anyway, as it's pretty much the same thing as its competitors: a big syncing folder on the Internet, and it's set up by default in the latest iterations of Office and Windows.

Privacy Fixed

Alright, so Microsoft tapped in to a user's Hotmail without permission or a court order. It explained that the terms of service allow such conduct, which was even more worrisome. It then announced an internal mock court process with a retired federal judge reviewing internal requests to tap users' accounts. Really?

On Friday, the company announced on its blog that it would no longer tap in to users' accounts, and would instead refer cases of suspected stolen intellectual property to law enforcement (as we suggested). Kudos to the company for not sticking to faulty guns and for listening to the community. The company's terms of service will be modified to reflect the policy change as well.

Which of these updates are you most excited about (if any)? Tweet us your thoughts @FindLawLP.

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