Microsoft Office for iPad is reportedly on the way, but does it even matter now? [Poll]


Microsoft Office for iPad is still on the way, and could be launched before the Microsoft even releases a Windows 8 version of the productivity suite, according to a report from ZDNet. The app (or suite of apps) is said to require a paid Office365 subscription and will sync with Microsoft’s services.

But with the iWork now shipping for free on all new Macs and iOS devices—requiring only a free iCloud account to sync and accompanied by an open public beta of a cross-platform web version—is Microsoft preparing to offer too little too late?

Poll images via The Daily/The Inquirer

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  1. Marc Abrams (@marca56) - 9 years ago

    Who cares anymore? Pages, Numbers and especially Keynote are more than suitable for use on an iPad or iPhone. Moreover, they are free with a new device. Couple that with now nearly flawless import and export of Word, Excel and Powerpoint files, Office on IOS is far less compelling than it once might have been. This is an opportunity squandered for sure.

    • thejuanald - 9 years ago

      Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are awful. They are weak substitutes. As an engineer, Numbers is a flat out joke for any sort of data entry

      • Rafal Bujakowski - 9 years ago

        The reason I dumped MS Office is because it’s buggy, does’t produce documents as nice as iWork does, plus MS Office is overcomplicated and awkward to use. If it’s a paid app on iOS I won’t even care.

      • thejuanald - 9 years ago

        iWork makes documents that are jokes, and look like toys. Very unprofessional. Writing my graduate thesis would have been a nightmare on Pages, and Numbers would not have been able to handle my data.

  2. macmaniman - 9 years ago

    Of course it matters, for the average joe and every collage student sure, but for the whole enterprise market? It’s gonna boost sales of iPads and office!

    And probably have some impact on the surface!

    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

      Yeah, except iWork has already replaced Office in that regard.

      • silas681 - 9 years ago

        Try writing a PhD thesis with 300 pages, 150 figures, 30 tables using cross referencing and between figure text and paragraph links in frikin Pages! It can’t even load the Word file! Muppet!

      • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

        Try not posting total lies before expecting anyone to take you seriously.

      • WaveMedia (@WaveMedia) - 9 years ago

        I wouldn’t want to do that in Word either. I’d rather use something like InDesign for such a long form, media rich document.

      • “Muppet”…that’s funny right d’ere…

      • silas681 - 9 years ago

        In design for a PhD thesis? Have you ever heard of citation tools? jeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssssus

      • thejuanald - 9 years ago

        Silas, these people have no clue what they are talking about. My thesis would have been impossible to do on Pages. And seriously, InDesign? That’s a joke right? Holy hell, these people are trolls.

      • dpkonofa (@dpkonofa) - 9 years ago

        I love how Silas and thejuanld already know that the iPad versions of Office are completely full-featured version of the desktop apps magically running on an iPad. There’s a reason that iWork apps on iPad are not suitable for writing a thesis. Office for iPad will also be unsuitable for writing a thesis on an iPad. Get your heads out of your asses, people…

    • @Tallest

      If you think iWork has come remotely close to replacing Office for the enterprise or even college students, then you need to take your head outta your a**s or you’ll suffocate. Office isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

      • Mike Beasley - 9 years ago

        I got thorugh college just fine without ever using Microsoft Office. Some of my professors required it, but I just used iWork and they were none the wiser. It’s definitely possible.

      • You’re right, it is not impossible, but it isn’t ideal either. When document compatibility, sharing, collaboration is necessary, be it with other students or co-workers, you can’t beat Office / Sharepoint. iWork is not enterprise-ready. At least not yet.

      • therapcat - 9 years ago

        I agree with you. Iwork is no where near the level of even the web versions of Office365. Can’t even load most excel docs in iWork without it striping all the formulas. That’s because I work needs to convert the entire file to Be compatible and then re-converted into Excel. Office 365 can at least work with the file in its native format the entire time and only upload the changes.

      • thejuanald - 9 years ago

        Mike, what was your degree in? Nothing related to a STEM field, right? Try using Numbers as an Excel replacement in a Chemical Engineering program and you’ll be laughed out of the program.

  3. Salvador Sanchez - 9 years ago

    On my Mac I decided to remove MS-Word from my dock keeping Pages, Numbers and Excel because I think Pages is almost as good as Word in most cases and in some cases even better. I still use Excel far more often than Numbers because Numbers has a very simple interface but it’s very complicated to find out how to do the things I usually do with Excel in a second. Today I needed a simple list with checklist boxes and there was no simple way to do it in Pages. What do I want to say? Apple is getting very close to win devote users for their iWork Suite, but it’s not there YET. I still need MS-Office. I’d love it running on my iPads and iPhone.

    • You said it best… I stopped using MS Word when I got really savvy with Pages… the interface for iWork suite is so uniformed and easier to use and manipulate and move things around unlike MS Office, it just doesn’t work all across platform.

      • - 9 years ago


        I spent a few days last week diving into Pages and learning it inside and out.

        I’ll never use Word again now.

    • It is simple to make a boxed list. In the right hand pane under the Styles tab is “Bullets & Lists”, Select “Image Bullets” from this. Click where it says “Current Image” and there’s 10 different checklist boxes and you can adjust the size etc. You can also add your own…

  4. Alborz Heydaryan - 9 years ago

    you know, for me iWork is perfect. the only thing I need. but I’m working in a team and a few of them are in their 40s. all using mac and iOS devices. none of them even knowing Apple has iWork! we develop iPhone apps and half are running windows on their macs, and the other are running office on OS X… it’s just really really sad how reluctant to change they are…

  5. Kiljoy616 (@Kiljoy616) - 9 years ago

    Does it matter, not really.

    It would be nice to have choices but for the past 6 months I have moved everything for my small business to the new format and well I really don’t care what MS comes out with. Unless they come up with some must have services which I doubt my business needs I see no reason to pay high prices for their product.

  6. Drew (@gettysburg11s) - 9 years ago

    I’m not sure it does, unless you use your iPad for work, and you need to open Office files in their original format.

  7. Torrey Huerta - 9 years ago

    Everyone is familiar with MS Office. It’s been around for ages. Being readily available on the iPad can only be good for Apple. Mr. Average Joe PC User might give the iPad a try if he knows it can still handle his Office files. Just my thoughts.

    • Mike Beasley - 9 years ago

      Being able to import and export Office files (via iWork) has been a selling point of the iPad since day one. Apple made sure to put that right out there when they launched the suite and have done a good job of maintaining the message. Not sure putting Office on the iPad would really amplify the message much (especially given the fact that it could cost to use, while iWork is free).

  8. Too little too late, another case of bad decision making by Microsoft.
    We can all see why they held it back in case surface worked out, but it’s a classic case of a 50/50 gamble and they lost, who needs office now, I certainly don’t!

  9. If the feature set is close to the desktop version, then it matters — and I’d pay good money for it. I’d love to use my iPad to work on documents for work. This means solid support for “track changes” and full compatibility with the desktop version — nothing missing when the file is opened on the desktop again.

  10. wiredtothemax - 9 years ago

    Doesn’t matter, Balmer killed Microsoft. Google Apps is the choice of .EDU and when those kids get out of school they’ll keep using it. Why wouldn’t they, it’s free and 90% of people use <10% of the functionality. And most people have a Gmail account. Who needs M$.

    • Mike Beasley - 9 years ago

      I actually tried to talk my college into going with Google Apps a few years ago, but they opted to go with Microsoft’s offer instead. It was very disappointing for the faculty and the students, many of whom joined me in lobbying for Google instead.

      I believe they’re still using Microsoft’s stuff now, but no one really likes it. Similarly, tons of business IT managers and workers are now leaning more and more on Google’s services. Microsoft needs to be very careful with what they do next.

      I’m interested to see what the incoming CEO will do.

      • wiredtothemax - 9 years ago

        I evaluated the Office365 for a year before settling on Google Apps for my K-12 school. MS changed the name 3x’s and went through 2 major upgrades which would have been painful if I was in production. Google got it’s fleas too, with constant changes.

        It lacks so many important things like:
        ease of use between platforms (Win vs OSX)
        Real-time collaboration
        Robust 3rd party plugins

        Besides, it’s what the teachers & kids want to use and after doing IT for 30yrs I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to “give’m what they want”. I wish MS well, my entire backend runs on W2k8 but they’re their worst enemy.

  11. akuyangdijaatin - 9 years ago

    I think it does matter. People from third world countries such as the place I live in just don’t feel comfortable with iWork — probably as they’re not used to it and as they mostly use Windows computers.

  12. I think it’s important if for no other reason than the fact that Microsoft continues to flog MS Office as a defining differentiator between a Windows-based tablet/PC and an iPad or Chromebook.

    But there’s a chance for backlash. The iWork suite, built for touch from the ground up, has been around since the launch of the original iPad giving Apple plenty of time to nip and tuck on an already great suite of productivity programs. Can Microsoft build Word to be as competent and easy to use as Pages? Will all of Excel’s powerful functions, expressions and capabilities be fully present on the iPad? I won’t even ask about PowerPoint as Keynote is clearly the superior program. Period.

    No doubt Microsoft will charge a pretty penny for Office on the iPad and if it proves to be too complex, clumsy or counter-productive it will shine an even brighter light on the free iWork suite and its superiority when it comes to touch-enabled workflows and functionality.

    • Oliver Stamm - 9 years ago

      You made the point! This is how I see it as well. They will charge a significant amount of money and need to compete with iWork, which is made for the iPad. I use iWork in my Mac mostly. At times on the iPad as well but not as often. Many years ago I used Office and when I switched to the Mac I realized the learning curve was much less because it’s way more intuitive. I think MS office will be less and less important especially for the young generation.

      • “I think MS office will be less and less important especially for the young generation.”

        That really depends on how fast & how well Apple improves iWork. Knocking Office off of its pedestal is going to be much harder than knocking Windows. Office is more important to MS’ long-term future than Windows.

  13. Ferenc Szakács - 9 years ago

    During the time we’ve been expecting for Office for iPad we realized how beautiful the Keynote is and how more human the Numbers is compared to Excel.

    The only Office application we need time by time is Word. We only use it in projects needing larger cooperation and in the cases when we use other languages than English.

    In our company we decided that all new computers we purchase will be Macs and the internal standard for office applications will be Pages, Numbers and Keynote. We expect from Apple to further improve MS Office compatibility and the spell check for foreign languages.

    If Microsoft brings Office to iPad any time soon it will indeed boost iPad sales, will definitely kill Surface but they could also preserve the rest of those 95% of enterprise users still using Word and being reluctant to learn something different. I see not too much chance for Excel and PowerPoint in long run, except Microsoft comes with something really surprising.

    Microsoft should also seriously think on iWorks compatibility and to release the 2014 version of Office for Mac.

    From our point of view we would welcome Office for iPad and the new Office for Mac offering at least an alternative against Pages. MS Office is not any more the only and de facto standard for office applications. If Microsoft understands this and can accept its new position it would survive and users would benefit of two compatible alternatives.

  14. Jörg Wißemann - 9 years ago


  15. poldev - 9 years ago

    Well, it certainly matters, especially if they publish an iPad version with most of the desktop features.

    Who are they gonna fool? iWork is essentially useless when you have to do real work, like writing long docs that you have to share with others, and even more inside the enterprise market.
    Furthermore, MS Office will be available everywhere (yeah, iWork in the Cloud is not that practical), and remember MS Windows is — and will still be for a long time — the #1 OS, with many people having Office installed on it.

    On the other hand, even though MS Office is the most compatible and full-featured product, what about the other suites out there?
    I’m pretty sure LibreOffice has many more features than iWork will ever get, especially with all the extensions you can find out there.
    Finally, if you have to collaborate with others when writing a *simple* document, Google Docs is — IMO — the best product out there. In my case, everyone knows about it and I really use it a lot!

  16. Chris Lee - 9 years ago

    If they make it a subscription based like most of the other product Microsoft has been releasing lately, It will just be another nail in the coffin.

  17. Ryan - 9 years ago

    I still think there is a void when it comes to efficiently editing Our company uses Box and I have to import into pages then back into word for our PC users (which usually jacks up the formatting). However, Office Suite for iPad will probably make you use their SkyDrive and won’t fill this void anyway. Long story short we just need to trash our PCs and all move to macs.

  18. psay101 - 9 years ago

    I don’t understand this post… Office Mobile for Office 365 which has Word, Excel, and PowerPoint has been out for sometime now.

  19. alexanderbeauvais - 9 years ago

    Seeing as how iWork documents translate readily into windows format, I see no point in office coming to iOS.

  20. thejuanald - 9 years ago

    Like the ipad will ever be considered a productivity tool, it’s a consumerist toy, and apple knows it. It’s a joke for productivity in any STEM program.

  21. Steve Young (@zteve13) - 9 years ago

    Gone past the point of needing it – as iWork’s does the job when I’m working mac to iPad. And if I’m working windows to iPad then I find Quickoffice more than adequate for my needs

  22. Jassi Sikand - 9 years ago

    Office for iPad js extremely essential…or rather, Excel is. Pages works for me quite well – I don’t even use Word much anymore unless the computer that I’m on is either Windows or has Office for Mac as the default opener. That being said, the new Pages ’13 is harder to use because I have to en/disable the format menu every time I want to change some part of the text (I like Office toolbars better). For those who will wonder why I don’t just keep the Format tab open, I’m usually transferring internet research into thought processes at the same time as typing them at the same time, so I like the least space for Pages as possible. The minimalist look hurts productivity (Pages ’11 was actually better).

    I’ll admit I don’t use Keynote much, but that has less to do with the fact that I hardly need to use it (for creating) than not wanting to – I’ve just never needed to use PowerPoint in a while either so the necessity for me is less than the other programs. From what I’ve used, Keynote is a good substitute for PowerPoint if you’re sticking with it, and not editing PPT files.

    Numbers is a joke. It’s alright for basic table work (again, if you’re using just Numbers, and not Excel), but really I can’t do much with it, especially as a college student. The formulas just aren’t the same and Numbers doesn’t recognize (separate) tables created within Excel when opening Excel files in Numbers, so often, I can’t even make graphs easily because I have to re-create tables in Numbers. And it’s really hard to transfer Excel habits to Numbers, and unlike Microsoft, which uncharastically provides tutorials/FAQ on how to do stuff within Office, Apple’s FAQ are quite paltry and a)not really helpful and b) doesn’t say how to transfer habits. Microsoft still has FAQ for how to turn Office 2003 and prior habits into Office 2007/2010/2013 habits and that’s honestly what made me stick with 2007/2010/2013 beyond the ‘it-looks-cool’ phase. Apple doesn’t (from what I know), and it’s hard to find third-party FAQ (I haven’t found any).

  23. Gerd Heinrich - 9 years ago

    Of course it matters.
    There is still no reliable office suite which syncs with the PC world in a professional way. iworks would do it with dropbox.
    Docs to go would do it if there would not be the buggy data losses. If the ipad goes 12or 13 inch then ipad office will win.

  24. Why wait? Onlive has been giving users Microsoft Office on the iPad for free for years!

  25. Bryan Nelson Elder - 9 years ago

    Only because I wish Apple would come out with an iOS/OS X equivalent of Microsoft Office’s OneNote, yes, I hope Office’s entire suite will be available for iOS users. And allow us to select the app we want/need, not bundle it up as an egregiously-expensive software package.