Microsoft recently announced that Microsoft Office for iPhone is now available as a free download, but users will need a paid account to access documents between phone and computer. Additionally, documents must be Office 365 files; if you created a Word 2013 document on your computer, it won’t be available in Office 365 (much like the documents in the renamed Google Drive, formerly Google Docs).
According to AllThingsD, the cost for Office 365 starts at $80 per year for the student version and $100 per year for the home version. Once you add a paid membership, you will be able to use Microsoft Office for iPhone, called Office Mobile. AllThingsD also points out that “Office Mobile for iPhone doesn’t include Outlook… [and] you can’t create PowerPoint presentations from your iPhone — though you can access and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint.”
Even though Office Mobile is now available for iPhones, many users are wondering when Android (and iPad) versions will become available, according to CNN Money. This availability may be delayed, as Microsoft has direct competitors to Android (and iOS) as well as the iPad: its own Windows phone and the Windows 8 Surface tablet. By not making Office Mobile available for Android and iPad, Microsoft is hoping that sales for their products will gain traction and increase as users demand phones and tablets that allow them to edit documents and files on the go.
Even though the Microsoft Surface tablet has had fairly steady positive reviews, sales of Windows 8 have not fared as well as expected. Because of this, it makes sense that Microsoft is using from their arsenal whatever they can to leverage product sales.
While we can expect that Microsoft will eventually release versions of Office Mobile for Android and iPad, it may not happen until further down the road. Until then, there are a few apps available that allow users to open and edit Microsoft documents on their smartphones and tablets, including:
It may be a long wait until Microsoft welcomes Android and iPhone users into the fold. However, while those with Android phones and iPads may not be able to access Office Mobile at the moment, the above alternatives may be a good stopgap solution until that option becomes available.