Microsoft Office Fails on IPad/IPhone

Microsoft Office courtesy Wikimedia
Microsoft Office courtesy Wikimedia

Microsoft has released it’s version of Office for the IPad/IPhone. A quick evaluation shows that Microsoft has made major mistakes with the design.

Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft PowerPoint

Why has Microsoft failed?

Because Microsoft Office for the IPad/IPhone is unattractive to anyone who isn’t already heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. And if you are using an IPad or an IPhone, you aren’t going to be heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.

What Microsoft needed to deliver was a set of programs so damned good, that it would attract people no matter what ecosystem they were using, whether Apple, Google, etc. Microsoft doesn’t ever appear to have tried.

The major issue is that Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are Free. Seriously. But they don’t work. At least not unless you have an Office 365 account. And that costs.

Office 365 Home Premium
Office 365 Home Premium

Above is the pricing for Personal Use. Someone like myself, who writes professionally would need to buy the Office 365 Small Business Premium package.

Office 365 Small Business Premium
Office 365 Small Business Premium

The problem for Microsoft is that there are a wide variety of competing products on the market. Apple’s Pages, Keynote, and Numbers cost $10.00 each, which is a one time charge. You can buy all three, use Apple’s own basic Cloud service, for the cost of three months on Office 365.

Then there’s competitive programs. HopTo is free, Textilus is $5.99, Easy Writer is free. There’s a wide range of other options, for a variety of prices, all of which are cheaper than Office 365.

Unless you already have an Office 365 account, there appears to be no advantage to the Microsoft solution. In fact there appears to be a huge disadvantage – the Subscription Software concept. Andrew Grygus wrote about Microsoft’s attempt to move to the Subscription model eleven years ago. Microsoft is still struggling to do this. Most customers see no need to make yearly payments. Instead they’d far rather pay slightly more at the time of purchase, and not have to worry about the future.

Because of the dislike of the Subscription model, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for the IPad and IPhone are dead on arrival for the Consumer market, and probably the Business market too.

Office 365 hasn’t done well in the Business market, and this isn’t going to help it. When it is a one time $30.00 payment for Apple’s software, but $159.00 per year for Microsoft’s, most firms will choose the one time payment, and a considerable cost savings.

Why Microsoft doesn’t understand this, well, no one outside the company knows the answer. Yes, there are firms that use Office 365, but not very many of them, and the few that do get enormous discounts. That’s fine for anyone with muscle to get one of those massive discounts.

But Microsoft appears to think that Consumers are brain dead, and unable to work out year software costs. Seriously.

I have an IPad, and I paid $10.00 for Pages. I don’t need Numbers or Keynote on my IPad. I do have them on my MacBook, but that’s because they came in the iWork 2009 package. Oh, and I use the free version of Google Drive, my storage requirements aren’t big. Last but not least, with Pages I don’t have to worry about choosing Home Premium or Office Premium.

So why would I pay $99.99 per year for Office 365?


Wayne Borean

Sunday March 30, 2014


2 thoughts on “Microsoft Office Fails on IPad/IPhone

  1. Wayne

    I see very little advantage for a subscription model for most applications that people use. I temper this if the cost is about $10 – $20 per YEAR then I might consider it. As you noted on many platforms there are alternatives that are cheaper and work very well for most. Also, you noted someone who uses an iPad (or Android) is not a loyal MS customer and are comfortable to use non-MS applications, even if out of necessity.

    Some enterprise grade commercial software will support a subscription model for the availability of support.

    1. There are huge advantages to the subscription model – for the seller. The customers, like you and me, hate it.

      The Corporate World might go for subscription. I knew one manager who was an absolute believer in support. When I tried to point out to him that he’d wasted $3,000.00 per year on something he never used, well, he just didn’t get it. Of course he was also terrified of computers!

      Trying to push for the subscription model is going to hurt Microsoft. At least that’s my opinion.


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