Microsoft Office for iPhone

Tony Bradley, writing for Macworld:

It’s here. Finally. Microsoft is now offering Office Mobile for iPhone. This is huge news for Microsoft Office, huge news for the iPhone, and a game changer for productivity on the go.

Why? What exactly makes this such huge news? The iPhone has already managed to garner massive success without ever having Microsoft Office. I'm not downplaying the fact that this is great news for iPhone users, who now, similarly to the end result of the Googe vs Apple Maps situation, have access to the best productivity apps of both tech giants. Of course it's great to have a different option from Apple's Pages, but is it "a game changer for productivity on the go"? Hell no. Has anyone, ever, decided not to purchase an iPhone because it didn't have Microsoft Office apps? No way. If the argument was about iPads, then I could certainly see the merit behind asserting that a new Microsoft Office app could be a game changer. I don't particularly agree, I think that the glory days of Office are over, and for the most part the world has moved on from holding Office as an absolute necessity for any computing device, but there are probably still many people who would disagree, and who hold out from buying iPads because they don't have Office. iPhones, however, have in no way been affected by the lack of Office. People don't purchase mobile phones, of any sort, solely for their word processing capabilities. Now that Office is on the iPhone, some people will certainly see it as a plus, but it's not a game changer, by any means.

Starting today, Office Mobile for iPhone is available in the Apple App Store, and it’s free for Office 365 subscribers.

Now this move really disproves Bradley's assertions from the sentence directly before this one in his article. Office for iPhone is not even available to anyone unless they already subscribe to Office 365. So the app is listed as free in the App Store, but you cannot actually use it until you prove that you are paying $10/month for the desktop version of Office. I think that this, along with the fact that there are no plans to have an iPad version and that the announcement was quietly made on a Friday morning (an odd time to announce an app you expect to change everything), all go to show that Microsoft is really not even intending Office to be a game changer in mobile productivity. Rather, I think all that Office for iPhone is intended to do is give an extra perk to users who already subscribe to Office 365, and maybe push some potential subscribers over the line and get them to pull the trigger. I don't think Microsoft is expecting Office to fly to the tip of the top charts on the App Store, but maybe it can draw in more subscribers to their Office 365 suite.

Apple's Pages, Numbers and Keynote all run at a one time payment of $9.99. This is the price you must pay to use Office for iPhone for one month. No one is going to do that unless they also really need Office 365 on their desktop computers, and most people who use Office on their desktop computers are still running an older version, which they paid for once and now own forever, and many of these people likely feel no need to upgrade to a newer version which they then have to pay for on a monthly basis forever. I'm sure that as time progresses, more and more people will move to the subscription based Office 365, and these people will be happy to gain access to Office on their iPhones when they do. However, until Microsoft either prices Office for iPhone like other normal iPhone productivity apps, or builds a native version of Office for iPad which is also included in your Office 365 subscription, I highly doubt this will be much news in the world of average iPhone users, and there's no way it will create any huge changes to the field of iPhone productivity apps.