Last week saw the long awaited announcement of the IOS version of Microsoft Office. It has been a long time coming and rumoured for years, but now it’s finally here.

So does it live up to expectations?

The new suite has been optimised for tablets and for the iPad and offers two levels of access. Office Mobile for iPhone and Office for iPad®. Office Mobile for iPhone is a free mobile version that allows you to view Office files but not edit them. Office for iPad is a subscription package that allows full creation and editing features.

Office for iPad is part of the Office 365 suite and includes all of the subscription models you get with Windows versions. According to Microsoft, Office for iPad can be combined with traditional Office 365 across PC, mobile or Mac, which is nice. More important than subscription models is the interoperability between IOS and Windows. After all, Office has always had a huge amount of formatting quirks unique to the platform, so how do they manifest between platforms? According to Microsoft, formatting, content and design remain the same across any device you’re using at the time. This for us, is more important than licensing and cost. The true value of any productivity solution is the amount of work it saves you. If Office for iPad lives up to this promise, it’s going to be very useful indeed!“When it comes to Office 365, the vision is fairly straightforward,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at a press conference in San Francisco. “It is to make sure that the one billion Office users have access to the high fidelity Office experience on every device they love to use. Today’s announcement marks one more step in that direction.” Office for iPad has been coded especially for tablets and for IOS. That means it looks the part while still being familiar to Windows users. It has taken a few years for Microsoft to release an IOS version of Office, so this has been quite the wait. Curiously, this tablet optimised version of Office is available before its own Surface version. Surface owners will still have to use keyboard and mouse for the foreseeable future while their iPad using colleagues can use gestures as nature intended. Now it’s here, you really can communicate files and ideas between operating systems. This is good news indeed for businesses who use a range of devices. Combined with the upcoming Enterprise Mobility Suite, it seems Microsoft is finally evolving into a real global player rather than a company at risk of becoming entrenched in an ever moving marketplace.

Also available for iPad

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