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24 Jul
2013

Microsoft’s surprise launch of Office Mobile for the iPhone shows that the software giant continues to favor Windows’ future over Office’s fortune, analysts said today.

And they just don’t get that strategy.

“It’s puzzling, [Office] on iPhone but not on iPad,” said Frank Gillett of Forrester Research, referring to the Friday launch of Office Mobile for iOS.

Office for iPhone

Bearing the rather clunky name of “Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers”, the app does require a subscription to Microsoft’s cloud service, but the fundamentals are present: you can use it to access, view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on an iPad or iPhone — although the app is optimized for the iPhone 5, so don’t expect a tablet-friendly experience.

According to the product blurb:

“Documents look like the originals, thanks to support for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. When you make quick edits or add comments to a document, the formatting and content remain intact.”

The app can be used on Office documents received as email attachments, or those stored on SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro or SharePoint. If your desktop Office 2013 is connected to Microsoft’s cloud, you can also pull up documents that were recently viewed there, from your mobile device.

It is possible to edit documents while offline. The app is compatible with iPhone 4 and up, and with the 3rd generation iPad and up (and yes, with the iPad mini too). Devices have to run iOS 6.1 or later.

NOTE: This article originally bore the headline “Microsoft quietly pushes out Office for iPhone and iPad”. A few minutes after posting the “… and iPad” was excised because, while the app will work on iPads, it’s not optimized for them.

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