Microsoft launches Office Mobile, brings subscription Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to iPhone

Microsoft launches Office 365 for iPhone, subscription Word, PowerPoint, and Excel

Microsoft has brought Office 365 -- excuse me, Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers -- to the iPhone, allowing anyone up-to-date with their fees to view and lightly edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint docs on the go. Support is offered for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics, and shapes, and Microsoft claims that you don't lose any formatting when you edit on your iPhone. (You read that right, there's no iPad version, at least not yet.)

Here are the bullet points:

Access documents from virtually anywhere:

  • Cloud – With your phone, you can access Office documents that are stored on SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro, or SharePoint.**
  • Recent Documents – Office Mobile is cloud-connected. The documents you’ve recently viewed on your computer are readily available on your phone in the recent documents panel.
  • Email Attachments – You can view and edit Office documents attached to email messages.

Office documents look stunning:

  • Great-Looking Documents - Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents look great on your phone, thanks to support for charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics, and shapes.
  • Optimized for phone - Word, Excel and PowerPoint have been optimized for the small screen of your phone.
  • Resume Reading - When opening a Word document from SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro on your phone, it automatically resumes at the place where you left off reading, even if you last viewed the document on your PC or tablet.
  • Presentation Views - The Slide Navigator view in PowerPoint lets you browse slides faster, while speaker notes help you practice your presentation.

Make quick edits and share:

  • Edit - You can make quick edits to Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.
  • Documents Remain Intact - Formatting and content remain intact when you edit Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents on your phone.
  • Edit While Offline - Your device doesn’t have to be continuously connected to the network to work on an Office document that is stored online. You can view and edit recently used documents even while you’re offline. Your changes will be saved online when your device reconnects to the network or to Wi-Fi.
  • Create – You can create new Word and Excel documents on your phone.
  • Comments - You can review comments that have been made in Word and Excel documents on your phone and add your own comments.
  • Share - When you’re done with your edits or comments, simply send the document in email or save it to SkyDrive or SharePoint.

Microsoft Office for iPhone -- sorry, Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers -- is free but does require a subscription to Office 365 as the name implies. I've let mine lapse but if any of you still have one, and take the new iPhone app for a spin, let me know -- how does it work for you?

Note: Only seems to be appearing in the US App Store right now, could be propagating still, or could be exclusive. Hopefully we'll find out soon.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Microsoft launches Office Mobile, brings subscription Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to iPhone


It seems like it'll be better for making edits than creating documents from scratch. I've only used it for a couple of minutes.

Who would buy a phone for just one app? Plus it's a subscription version on iPhone which would be a costly move for anyone on a Windows Phone.

Interesting question. Especially with iOS 7 months away. Windows Phone is pretty sweet. In fact I chose iPhone mainly because of the App Store. Got to like it after. Except for that might have gone Windows. To bad they came so late to the game. You may have a point.

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Office on WP has the (theoretical) advantage of being able to run macros. I have no idea if it actually *does*, but Apple will never allow a script interpreter on iOS, so, assuming MS can get one working on their mobile platform, that would be a distinct advantage, at least for the hard-core Excel hounds.

No. The only people who would ever buy a phone for Office are almost certainly going to be looking for SharePoint integration too. This doesn't have it.

WP is a lot more than Office. That said, WP gets Office for free while iOS users have to have a subscription to Office 365 (which most probably never will).

I'm surprised that it isn't being mentioned more that the reason you have to already have a subscription is because Apple wouldn't lower their percent collected for each app sale. I would be willing to bet that Microsoft would have made it a stand alone app if they wouldn't have had to give Apple 30%.

Your wild, unsupported assumption is almost certainly false. Microsoft is moving everyone to the cloud and to subscription services and has been for a while.

Their entire model is shifting to having a "free" client on all platforms that accesses the paid subscription service that Office is becoming. Even Office for OS X and Windows is mostly sold in bulk licences and subscription licences today. Their agents are actively trying to get all customers onto subscription licences even if they don't use Office 360 per se.

As with everything Microsoft does, this makes a great deal of sense for their main clients (the corporation), and yet is the exact *opposite* of what most individual consumers want.

Office is on the verge of disappearing into the corporation, never to return. The average person will just use a small standalone word processor, or spreadsheet program like Pages, Numbers, etc. or even smaller, even more individual single purpose apps. This is a huge and obvious trend that isn't likely to change anytime soon.

Office isn't going anywhere. The fact is, nothing is completely compatible with Office. I have had troubles with simple resumes when using other word processors after initial creation with Word (and the other way around). When you talk about more complicated things like business spreadsheets, it becomes significantly worse. If LibreOffice, iWorks, Google's Suite, etc. ever had true compatibility, I would have jumped ship.

I agree though that they are also trying to push Office 365 and a all cloud setup, but to say it isn't partly (in this particular case) to avoid sending large sums of customer's cash Apple's way is crazy.

No. This is a strategy to push people to a subscription model for Office so MS can get recurring revenue. Of course they don't want to lose the 30% to Apple. Or to Google or Amazon or Blackberry for their stores that work the same way. Actually, they don't want to lose retail margins to anyone including Frys, Best Buy or Staples. They want to go direct.

However, based on your post about "paying" Apple 30%, I'm guessing you think Apple is the only one trying to make money. Unfairly at that. Right?

Apple has probably sold tens of millions of the iWork apps in the App Store. Most folks have realized by now that they don't need Office.

Actually the reverse is true. There is a very good reason even most Mac users wind up putting MS Office Mac on their Macs - iWork (just like LibreOffice and OpenOffice) is crap.

For Apple, getting the iPhone Office Mobile is good news for them to make any real inroads in the enterprise as most enterprises already are on Office 365, so they get it for free. And the iPad version will follow soon.

I beg to differ. Word is absolute garbage. If you try to anything other than simple text formatting, it's an exercise in frustration. Sure, you can create styles, but Word will mangle the results, anyway. For whatever reason, the graphic styles are completely different in Word than they are in PowerPoint and Excel. I created a 100 page training manual in Word because it's all I had. I could've done it in half the time in Pages.

Just today I was creating custom table styles in Excel. There is an option to set the border color, but no matter what you select, the results will be black.

Not true. Word is the standard by which other word processors are judged whether you like it or not. And iWork is crap - most Mac users don't even like it. There are good reasons why more Mac users use Office for Mac than iWork and it isn't even close.

Oh, and I have made custom table styles in Excel before with no issues. Maybe it's you and not the tool?

@Galley.........could not agree with you more. Word blows big time. Powerpoint? A piece of crap. I can create a better, more sophisticated presentation ( with a variety of animations ) in less than half the time on an iPad. And, use my iPhone as my remote as I am navigating through Keynote. And don't get me started on Excel.

Give it a couple of weeks. The rollout was US first then other countries. I like the idea that if you have Office 365 it is free. Plus the iPad version will be coming too - last I heard it was in testing.

Well that sucks. I have office pro latest edition, and you have to have office 365. I gave my PC to a family member when I bought the MacBook.With my live account, I can use all of office in the cloud, but my account shows no products, even tho I bought office pro. I sure will not buy 365 to make this app work. What is with the subscription? It is only a $99.00 program,(365) you bought it after ten months. Free trial? They want a credit card number. Too much hassle.

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Sorry, wanted to say $99.00 a year or $9.99 a month gets too expensive. MS is pushing you in this direction. One license per PC, and that's it. 365 five PC's, or Mac's, but $99.00 a year.

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I tried to sign on with my enterprise account, and it didn't work. Strange. I can get into 365 through Safari, but not through the app. I wonder if the issue is that my 365 is only for Outlook, Lync and SharePoint, but not for the Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Any advice? Thanks.

Hopefully Microsoft is smart enough to hold out until the last tear drop before they launch Office for ipad. I honestly believe that once they do they might see a dip in sales of their Surface tablets. Im not to familiar with their tablet, but the one thing i do know is that i have never see one out in the wild. And if they were to release Office for Ipad and supported file sharing through Air Drop i can only dream of the losses on their part.

I have to agree, the iPad will get a boost in the enterprise and I can't help think that this will put massive pressure for the iPad to be selected. I know there are other apps enterprises use that only work on PC but there are many managers and execs who use PC and iPad together and they only use the PC because of office. An iPad version is a major differentiator and is a very bad idea as it also affects their core customer base and demand for the OS.

Microsoft subscription? I don't think so. One time cost? Sure. A paid iPad version makes sense, but it would pretty much guaranty the death of the MS Surface RT Tablet and weaken any adoption prospects for the Surface Pro. Many of us already have iPads of various models and would love a version of Office for the iPad. Is Microsoft willing to make that iPad/Office money versus killing any hope of adoption for the Windows 8 Tablets? I think not. The only way I think Microsoft will do it is the same as what they've done for the iPhone, tie an iPad version into Office 365 and limit some of the functionality of Office. Question is, how many iPhone and iPad users are willing to pay a Microsoft subscription for Office 365 in order to get a version of Office on the iPhone.