back to article FINALLY Microsoft releases Office for iPad – but wait there's a CATCH

Microsoft has, after years of speculation, released some of its Office applications for Apple iPad owners – but you'll need an Office 365 subscription to use them in anything other than a lobotomized form. Nadella Nadella holds his first press conference since taking former CEO Steve Ballmer's crown The Apple App Store now …

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Anonymous Coward

how about updating

the microsoft office apps for symbian I've got on my nokia smartphone?

Were the last couple years a dream?

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Re: how about updating

Didn't you get the memo? The last update to Symbian was called Lumia and comes with the updated Office... ;-)

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beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Microsoft are pouring money into sinkholes like Surface and the acquisition of Nokia, so they can be like Apple in the respect that they control the software and the hardware then at the same time they are now looking at cross platform solutions in mobile, because quite frankly the horse has bolted, competed in the grand national and been shot.... They just seem to lack a clear strategy of what they see themselves as and are trying to dip their toes in every water even in this offering, which has the Office in the cloud lock in for editing documents...

They need to pick a vision and stick to it. Personally I think they are in for a hiding trying to make their own hardware offerings. The amount of money that they have rinsed on brainless ideas is astonishing I don't know how the shareholders put up with it... If this takes off on iPad then that cannibalises their other offerings like ARM Surface devices. It's like Microsoft are competing internally instead of working together to offer a realistic alternative to Google and Apple..

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Re: beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

I think you may have misunderstood their intentions. If they can sell 365 @ £75/ per annum on an ipad device and then get the next purchase of a fondle slab to be a ms one, on the basis that it will be more integrated to the 365 system that they are already paying for, instead of a new ipad. Then this would be a short term and long term win for them. as opposed to them just ignoring a whole market segment that does not run the ms os.

This is a strategy they should have taken years ago. imagine the amount of exchange servers and ms office licences they could have sold if it ran on Linux..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Seems a pretty clear strategy to me - Move to a single kernel OS on everything and put Office and Windows on everything. Seems to be working - revenue is climbing and Microsoft's share price is the highest it's been in about 14 years!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

"imagine the amount of exchange servers and ms office licences they could have sold if it ran on Linux.."

Seeing as those are both by miles the market leaders in their fields, the answer would undoubtedly be very few extra ones on Linux...And why would you want to - all those extra Linux security patches to integration test - not fun.

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Re: beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

"Seeing as those are both by miles the market leaders in their fields, the answer would undoubtedly be very few extra ones on Linux...And why would you want to - all those extra Linux security patches to integration test - not fun."

Sounds like an excuse looking for an issue. Cross platform support is part of what has made many open source projects so popular, Apache, OO, mySQL, to name but a few.

If a person gets windows so they can run MS office they may feel strong armed into the deal. If they get windows because they already use ms office and like the professionalism of it against the backdrop of the other programs available the OS they are currently using then it is a bigger win for MS in the hearts and minds of their users.

Don't get me wrong here I am using linux mint and would not install windows unless absolutely necessary. It's just I think this strategy is sound.

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Re: beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

and what was that famous line from Bill Gates? Let me remind you, it went something like this: "Does anyone remember Windows?". That was stated in a meeting where they were discussing all the great things Microsoft would do with the Java platform. Bill didn't like that one bit because he saw Java as a threat to their cash cow, Windows and everything they have on Windows.

Also remember that Bill Gates is involved in educating this new CEO on how to run Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

@BeerTokens Re: beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

"... and then get the next purchase of a fondle slab to be a ms one, on the basis that it will be more integrated to the 365 system that they are already paying for, instead of a new iPad."

But is that actually at all likely? I'd imagine most people buy tablets in general mainly for reasons beyond work - certainly not 'mainly' for the core tasks (I use it to review images I've shot, but not edit them except in emergencies), although the peripheral stuff like email etc might be a substantial part of the justification; certainly the lack of MS Office to date hasn't slowed ipad sales. But the sheer variety of stuff in the Apple or Google stores is surely the major driver for ios/Android, and on that score MS can't even begin to compete.

In your scenario, they're going to be swapping a device that does well enough for work stuff to make it easily worthwhile, but which also excels when you want to kill some time on a long journey, and instead buy one which may be great for serious work, but whose ecosystem falls way short on choice for entertainment, content consumption and that huge plethora of app store stuff that is covered by 'occasionally useful'.

If your company offers to provide Surface, it may well prove attractive to many people. But those are likely to be additional tablet sales, rather than replacements for ipads/Androids. And since tablets are still too fiddly and cramped for most prolonged work, they're likely to retain a laptop as well for the foreseeable future, making the tablet more of a gap filler than primary tool.

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Re: beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

>>"Sounds like an excuse looking for an issue. Cross platform support is part of what has made many open source projects so popular, Apache, OO, mySQL, to name but a few."

I think cross-platform support is a selling point for end-user software. Photoshop, Office, et al. But for server-side products, are there really that many people running MySQL or Apache on Windows? I know that you _can_, but has it actually been a factor in their popularity? All the installs I've seen in the wild are running on GNU/Linux. I'm open to being corrected.

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Re: @BeerTokens beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

>>"But is that actually at all likely? I'd imagine most people buy tablets in general mainly for reasons beyond work - certainly not 'mainly' for the core tasks"

I think it is likely, and becomes more so. The iPad took off through non-work use cases and that's where it achieved market dominance. Certainly you could use it for limited work scenarios, but it was the couch surfers and coffee-shop browsers who drove the sales. However, we're now seeing tablets start to become effective for work. You're seeing more work related software on the iPad (hmmm, what would be a good example - oh yes, MS Office) and I have a Surface 2 and it's a surprisingly effective tool for work within a wide range of scenarios. I mean it runs Office, has a full-featured web-browser and connects to pretty much any printer, monitor, external hard-drive, keyboard, mouse, whatever that most people will run into. And it has all the enterprise integration you'd normally want such as centralized management, real user accounts, etc. It's an enterprise tablet. A lot of the time I'll just take that rather than my laptop. I've even programmed on it given that I can remote desktop to a more powerful machine and it has an adequate keyboard on the thing.

There's no reason Apple cannot do similar. Actually, with MS Office on there, I think (and hope) they will. It takes time for a market to shift, but a tablet as a portable and dockable work machine is possible now and it's only going to get slicker and more powerful with time.

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LDS
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Re: beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Sorry, but strong integration between Exchange and Windows Active Directory is what make Exchange appealing - and viceversa makes Windows appealing. Exchange relies on a lot of Windows services that don't exist in Linux, or would require tons of additional software from 3rd parties.

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Boffin

Re: beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Seeing as those are both by miles the market leaders in their fields, the answer would undoubtedly be very few extra ones on Linux...And why would you want to - all those extra Linux security patches to integration test - not fun.

Ah, the MS shills are fast to react. As ACs yet again.

I'll give you a point: Exchange doesn't make much sense in Linux as it depends on Active Directory, MS's take on LDAPv3 and Kerberos5. But there are quite a bit of systems that can do what Exchange/Outlook does and they only require an LDAP server. And they're pretty secure as it is. On security patches, no platform is free from that. Especially Windows.

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Typical Microsoft

Microsoft constantly gets obsessed with ideas that the consumer doesn't want, and then can't work out what went wrong - take Windows 8 as exhibit A. In this case, this app will be a marketing dud because of Microsoft's obsession with software as a service. In fact, I'll hazard a guess that it will be almost entirely used by people who already have an Office 365 subscription, and will do very little to encourage people to buy one, whilst irritating and alienating those people who would just like to buy the app.

Well, once more Microsoft's permanently extended middle digit towards its customers will be completely reciprocated.

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Pint

Re: Typical Microsoft

"Microsoft's permanently extended middle digit"

Applause! Well played sir :-)

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Re: Typical Microsoft

While I do agree with your assessment of Microsoft's approach to their customer base, you're dead wrong about this driving new customers to Office 365. If your outfit does any BYOD at all then surely "how can I edit excel/power point from my iPad" must be toward the top of your most frequently asked questions list. A single night's hotel bill for any of your traveling workforce is likely to be near or above the $70 that an annual subscription costs, so I wouldn't expect to see that as an issue. Consumers will probably be a harder sell for sure, but I'm shocked it took MS so long to try something like this.

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JDX
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Re: Typical Microsoft

SaaS isn't a MS obsession. It's a general IT obsession MS are jumping on to

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WTF?

Re: Typical Microsoft

And it all comes down to controlling the user/device as evidenced by the rest of the announcement (Azure Active Directory Premium, Intune, &c.). I'd like to a cost/user comparison between this for providing Office versus Remote Desktop Session Host (classic terminal server) versus VDI. There should be DLP criteria differences in that comparison. Hmmm.... Hey Trevor!!!

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Re: Typical Microsoft (but which one?)

The most serious and real problem here is that the Microsoft ecosystem is betwixt and between enterprise/corporation/office and consumer/gaming/leisure. That's why their products waffle back and forth. First you have Vista which tarts up XP, then you have Windows 7, which makes Vista palatable (and Windows 7 probably should have been a free Vista Service Pack 3, except that Microsoft would then have to forego billions in revenue. Next, we have the leisure-time Metro of Windows 8, followed by (OOPS!) we-gotta-win-back-those-office-folks Windows 8.1. There's no real consistency, because Microsoft lacks that vision thing and a coherent software architecture. Now you add the mad scramble of everyone (Microsoft, Amazon, Google) to offer web services across all manner of devices, and you have a multiplicity of hardware/software that flies in the face of the strategy Microsoft held onto for too long, namely Wintel system. Now Microsoft has to adapt to the rapidly changing interconnected world without sacrificing their Office cash cow. How to turn the Queen Mary, or the Microsoft borg, is the challenge here.

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Coat

Re: Typical Microsoft

I misread that as Microsoft Inhume. Too much Pratchett again...

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LDS
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Re: Typical Microsoft (but which one?)

Office 365 is not a "web service". It's just subscription based instead of lifetime license based software. You got full native applications running locally on your device. It's not like Google Apps.

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JDX
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Re: Typical Microsoft (but which one?)

Good point LDS (although you do get the online stuff as well, which IS like G-Apps).

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The consumption myth

Subscriptions and such not withstanding, maybe this will finally put to bed the myth that tablets are only good for content consumption and useless for creation.

...and before you start griping about the on-screen keyboard, go look at all the real keyboards available for an iPad on Amazon.

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Re: The consumption myth

In a word, ofcoursefuckingnot.

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Joke

Re: The consumption myth

Next you'll tell me that someone's come up with the idea of packaging the tablet and keyboard together, in a hinged arrangement, so that the keyboard acts as a base to support the display at a convenient viewing angle…

Now, where did that patent application form go...

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Re: The consumption myth

You joke, you joke: http://www.pcr-online.biz/news/read/apple-patents-surface-style-tablet-and-keyboard-cover/033652

Or: http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/05/rim-applies-for-patent-on-tablet-with-concealable-keyboard/

Or: http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/07/google-patents-hinged-folding-sliding-flipping-tablet-concept-with-a-software-keyboard/

I think I've seen every one of those mechanisms on old game and watch toys from the 80s or earlier.

Real life, stranger than fiction, still proving true.

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Re: The consumption myth

Or just go and buy the proper tool for the job......

Methinks that could be a Windows laptop with Offfice installed. No subscription and guess what, it will just work!

I never fail to be amazed or have a laugh when I see people wrestling with an iPad (or, to be fair, any other tablet, but mostly iPads), trying to type an do things that would be a zillion times easier on a laptop. It may look cool but produtivity and ergonomics are rubbish

Plonkers

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LDS
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Re: The consumption myth

You're right. My Surface 2 Pro is not just a consumption device like an iPad. Its keyboard and digitizer make it very productive. Now with Office and a keyboard even iPad user can do something useful, finally...

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Re: The consumption myth

The keyboard isn't the issue -- everyone knows external keyboards are available, though they are cramped and don't solve everything (touch is still less efficient than a mouse). And of course a tiny screen size is still not great.

The real issue is the limited multitasking and very limited inter-app sharing. Why they haven't provided a solution for these is beyond me; I suspect they're just focusing more on consumption.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The consumption myth

I'll stick to my used Lenovo ThinkPad T410 with Windows 7, 8GB of RAM, 60GB SSD and a 1TB HDD in the optical bay all for under £250.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The consumption myth

"I'll stick to my used Lenovo ThinkPad T410..."

Well done. Your medal is the post. Inverted snobbery is still just snobbery.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The consumption myth

And I always laugh at those utter plonkers trying to make their windows laptops work, wrestling with a heavy device that's too large for where they're working...and when they final get it going the battery runs out.

Then I see folks with an iPad doing what they need simply and easily for hours on end...and when they need a keyboard and full app functionality, a Macbook Air, still working 10-12 hours later, fast, and especially light and easy to carry. Windows ? Meh.

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Re: The consumption myth

Try comparing like for like. The difference is that you can buy cheap Windows laptops, you can't buy cheap Macs. That doesn't mean you should compare a cheap Windows laptop to an expensive Mac, it means you compare a cost-equivalent model. There are plenty of high-end Windows laptops that have great weight, battery weight, resolution, power. Including touch-screen ones.

As to iPad and switching to a MacBook Air when you need a keyboard and full app functionality, I have a Surface RT. It can have a light, good keyboard and it runs MS Office 2013. You don't get much more "full app functionality" than that. Don't be such a fanperson.

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5 people editing one document simultaneously

Can someone please present a credible reason for having five people working on the same document at once?

A dictionary perhaps?

Last time I checked the training for creating 'large documents' in Word they were described as anything with more than 10 pages. I have seen people create hundreds of pages in a word document, but I wouldn't bet on reliable formatting, precise layout and a guarantee of no corruption.

But may be I'm behind the times with that?

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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

It's actually extremely useful on corporate google docs, I don't know about Office.

You can configure "viewers" and "editors" so only approved people can change it.

Each user sees where the other users cursor/selected cell, so you don't really get conflicts.

There is only one version of the document in existence, so it doesn't accidentally get wiped out when Bob from accounts finally completes his section and puts it on the share.

You can chat to the other people viewing the doc, and they can see your cursor/position to see what you are talking about.

You can (just about) use it as a poor man's Trello.

However, the most commonly used example in our org is:

"Hi everyone. Can you fill in your row in this spreadsheet with your home working details over the xmas/easter/etc period please"

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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

I can. Group work at school. Gets right away from Billy has the document in his account & he's away to today so we can playz gamez.

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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

We use co-authoring all the time. I'm a SharePoint developer for a large company and as part of our work we have to produce documentation for the solutions we develop. We have an authoring team who take care of most of this, but I am constantly popping into a document to update or add information and to be able to see who is editing what within the document, rather than waiting for a notification to tell me I can finally get into the document (if ever if that user decides to leave the document open during lunch). I use this feature on a weekly basis. The fact Microsoft have shown off this feature on the iPad shows their angle of attack. At last, it'll make all those iPads that our skint schools have been buying, productive.

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Re:a credible reason for having five people working on the same document

Composing vision statements - those usually require the literary skills of the entire board. Note - the answer would have been different if the question had been about 'credible documents'.

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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

Currently, the document is emailed amongst the group and then there is a merge headache at the end of the day.

With Google Docs the problem was, as I see it, your bit of the document moved up and down as someone else deleted and inserted lines above your insertion point.

The other problem with these word-processors, is (other) people spend most of their time fiddling with the font and line spacing for page layout, which is wasted when someone corrects their spelling or grammar.

Most corporate templates, I have seen/used, are more of a problem than a solution, based on thinking that the word-processor is a dumb typewriter.

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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

@Tom 38 - thats what hapens in my group. Also it stops you finding a doc is locked because somone has it open in a different timezone, thus causing you to wait for 12hrs to get control again.

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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

I can readily see that happening. Working with documents in some repository is commonplace. Having your docs in the cloud has problems however. My problem is that when I am in Uganda, Indonesia, South Africa or even Australia, I must have access to the full editing suite off-line. Never mind the annual subscription, connectivity problems and roaming charges would be my main concern. Even if the hotel or institute I visit does have good WIFI, I have had issues with connecting to data on servers here in Europe, and the moment you step out of the hotel or institute (e.g. working during a train journey) your only option is by mobile internet. That bill is going to hurt. In a plane even mobile internet is an issue.

This is not a Microsoft issue alone. I have tried one or two LaTeX editing suites for Android, and the ones I tested required access to internet to give full functionality. This is far from ideal.

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LDS
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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

It looks you never worked on complex documents, nor really learnt how to use Word. You may have people working on different chapters, other reviewing what has been written, while templates and styles ensure everybody use the same formatting and layout.

Sure, if you use Word - or any other word processor - as it was an on-screen typewriter you will have troubles.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

I'm a SharePoint developer for a large company

You sicken me

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JDX
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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

I don't know about simultaneously as in all 5 typing at the exact same time, but 5 people potentially working on the same document day-in-day-out isn't uncommon. One project I work on has a 500-page operator manual which has to be updated as features are added/removed - with about 10 developers multi-edit is useful.

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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

I can see this working on large spreadsheets where people don't get close to each other, but never documents, where just pressing Enter moves down everyone else. Seems like it would be smarter to just separate the document into smaller parts.

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JDX
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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

If you set up your document in sections this is minimised. No idea who that specific case IS handled though, it doesn't sound like there is a perfect solution.

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Devil

FIFY

Corrections in bold.

"When it comes to Office 365, the vision if fairly straightforward," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at a press conference in San Francisco today. "It is to make sure that the one billion Office users keep paying us money every month in order to maintain access to their proprietary-format files rather than just paying a one-time fixed cost and being allowed to keep using the software for as long as they have a suitable computer. Today's announcement marks one more step in that direction."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FIFY

Of course.

In the US, "professors" (i.e. lecturers, mostly) produce their own textbooks which are sold to the students at high prices and then go out of date quickly so that second hand ones can't be recycled. If the format can't be quickly obsoleted, do it to the content.

Unfortunately this rent-seeking model is being forced onto the rest of the world through organisations like the WTO.

It's basically a return to feudalism; you spend so many days per week working for the corporations so that you have some way of earning enough to live on during the rest of the week.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FIFY

Office fully supports ODF formats too...In fact that's the very first thing it asks you after you install it!

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Facepalm

Re: FIFY

>>"Office fully supports ODF formats too...In fact that's the very first thing it asks you after you install it!"

I see at the time I read this, your simply factual statement has already received eight downvotes. I expect it will be more shortly. Don't like reality? Vote it down!

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