Microsoft Office makes the leap to iPhone

A surprise popped up in the iTunes Store on Friday: an iPhone version of Microsoft Office.

The app has its limitations. It’s free to download but only works for those who subscribe to Microsoft’s Office 365 service, which costs $10 per month or $100 per year. It isn’t meant for the iPad, whose larger screen would make it easier to work with documents. And it only works with the three core programs of Office: Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

But it is Office. And it’s on the iPhone. That counts for a lot.

Users can edit existing documents started on other screens from Word, Excel and PowerPoint using the app, making it easier to incorporate last-minute changes and suggestions into shared meeting materials that everyone on a team can see. Users can also make new Word and Excel files from their phones, which is particularly convenient for those times when you want to get a thought or figure down, but don’t have a laptop handy.

Because the app works with Office 365’s cloud capabilities, the changes you make on your phone will show up across all your devices. So the next time you pick up the document on your laptop or desktop, it should reflect all the tweaks you made on the go.

The app comes after long speculation over whether Microsoft would come up with a way to run its essential software suite on smartphones from competitors. Office is one of Microsoft’s most important and iconic products and has been a major selling point for Microsoft’s Windows Phones and tablets running Windows RT and Windows 8.

But adding iOS support gives Microsoft the opportunity to reach a much wider audience in the smartphone market and sell more of the subscriptions it’s pushing for the wider Office suite.

For consumers, it’s certainly a plus. To this point, most of the Office alternatives that have popped up to fill a demand for productivity software on the iPhone are, by and large, not as stable, feature-rich or easy to share with others as Microsoft’s files.

That’s not to say that there isn’t some competition. Google, which has challenged Office with its flexible and portable Google Docs suite, has a Drive app for the phone that also lets users make new word-processing documents or spreadsheets from the iPhone. Users can also upload photos or videos using the app, and edit a wider range of Drive documents.

And Apple announced earlier this week that it’s adapting its iWork suite for iCloud, providing a more competitive product to take on Office 365. The additions mean that Apple’s productivity software will give users a way to work with Pages, Numbers and Keynote files on the Web. Those files will also be Office-compatible, the company said.

More in Herald Business Journal

Peoples, HomeStreet banks bump lowest salaries after tax cut

The banks with Snohomish County branches will raise minimum salaries for employees to $15 an hour.

In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, a clerk reaches to a shelf to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Amazon’s potential HQ2 sites leaves many cities disappointed

And yet, some municipal leaders are looking at the bright side of being rejected.

Exotic animals find compassionate care in Bothell (video)

At the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine, vets treat snakes, hedgehogs and even kangaroos.

Don’t take economic forecasts to the bank — or the casino

Air travel delays could spur a rebirth of passenger rail service.

Amanda Strong (left) tries on an Angel of the Winds Arena hat as she and Courtney Brown hand out gift bags after the renaming ceremony Dec. 13 in Everett. The new name replaces the Xfinity name. (Andy Bronson / Her file)
Angel of the Winds to break ground on $60M casino expansion

“We think we’re on the cusp of becoming a major resort.”

Emirates orders 20 more Airbus A380 jumbos, saving program

The Dubai carrier also has options to buy 16 more. The program seems safe until 2029.

U.S. government proposes new rules for hog slaughter

The plan lets plant workers be in charge of removing unfit hogs, instead of government inspectors.

How do you retrieve an errant Boeing 737 from a muddy slope?

Turkish authorities used cranes to lift a plane that skidded off a runway.

House passes bill aimed at lowering gender wage gap

The bill would hinder employers from retaliating against female workers who ask about others’ pay.

Most Read