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  (Source: Microsoft)
Office 365, subscription is required and there's no support for tablets

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has been pushing hard to drum up support for its Office 365 suite of cloud-connected productivity products.  The service costs $9.99 USD per month or $99.99 USD per year.  Ultimately that's a pretty good profit opportunity for Microsoft, given that a full-blown Office suite costs around $100-140 USD at its cheapest for basic personal computer editions.  

Microsoft is justifying the relatively high subscription fees with the perk of universal access -- having your data stored on the cloud and accessible anywhere.  While Windows 8.1 is expected to offer identical functionality in the standard Office applications via the ability to save to SkyDrive, the other upside to this location-agnostic access is that it essentially acts like an unlimited floating license for home users (where as standard Office is limited to a small number of PCs, sometimes just one).

Until June, the only people who could access Office on the go were Windows Phone users (Windows Phones come preloaded with free lightweight Office mobile clients).  In June Microsoft added "Office Mobile" to Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) App Store.  

Office Mobile Android Office Mobile Android Office Mobile Android

Available on iPads and iPhones, the app has drawn pretty poor reviews, earning just 2.5/5 stars from the Apple legion.  Criticisms include:
  • Office 365 subscription is required, although app is free
  • The lack of a dedicated tablet (iPad) layout
  • No undo/redo options
  • No ability to edit/insert images into documents (except in One Note)
  • No chart editing/insertion functionality
Now Microsoft has launched another version of the Office Mobile app for Google, Inc.'s (GOOG) Play Store.  The Android version has thus far drawn 3.5/5 stars, a slightly warmer reception than the app for Apple saw.  The criticism for the Android app echoes the Apple one, though:

Reviews of Office Mobile for Android
  • No tablet support
  • Crashes
  • Won't open many DOCX/PPTX/etc. files
  • No support for password-protected files
  • Text formatting options missing from some apps
Some enterprise device buyers have previously cited Office Mobile as a reason to switch to Windows Phone.  Despite the criticism of the product, losing exclusivity is clearly a bit of a blow for Windows Phone.  That said, it does add more value to an Office 365 subscription.  In (calendar) Q2 2013 Microsoft saw $1.5B USD in Office 365 revenue, indicating around 50-60 million users.

Office for Android  iPhone Office Mobile

On Android devices the primary competition is the (free) Google Drive, while on i-devices there's Apple's $9.99 (each) iWork apps (e.g. PagesNumbers, and Keynote).  Other popular mobile documents apps include KingsoftQuickofficeDocuments to Go, and OfficeSuite.  Ironically, these third-party solutions have many of the features that Office Mobile users are griping about the lack of (e.g. the ability to insert charts in a spreadsheet).

Sources: Google Play, Microsoft, Apple iTunes



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RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By retrospooty on 7/31/2013 4:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, but its a one time fee and you own it forever. After 5 years, you have paid $600 and you still have to keep paying to use it... I mean the subscrition model does work for some, I get that, but lets not pretend that having "cloud storage" with it is a value added part of it.


RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Motoman on 7/31/2013 9:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
Any and all dipsh1ts paying these subscription fees is a catastrophic moron. You're infinitely better off buying a normal license with a one-time fee. Or using something cheaper, like WordPerfect Office. Or something free - like Lotus Symphony, OO, or even MS Office Starter Edition...which you can actually install for free now on any computer, even Win8.


RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Basfhu11 on 7/31/2013 9:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
I would rather pay 10 dollars a month, install it up to 10 times, and get updated at no cost to the next full release of office rather than pay $500 per device up front and be stuck with that release and its subsequent updates, even if I was only installing it on one PC. If you are a regular office user who uses it on multiple devices then it makes more sense, period. If all you use is word and excel on your desktop PC than buying the retail version is the smarter play for sure. Also, fail to see how 20GB of free additional cloud storage is a bad thing. No matter the cloud provider extra space costs money, free cloud space (On top of the 7GB or 25GB skydrive gives you free)is added value. Arguing the contrary is laughable.


RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By retrospooty on 7/31/2013 11:22:42 PM , Rating: 2
Then go for it... I didnt say it was a bad model, and that its good for some that want it. I was commenting on the cloud storage as a sell point. Of course its not a bad thing, no-one said that - but its like saying "Buy this new house , it comes with all the air you can breathe" OK... We already all have all the air we can breathe for free. Dont act like its a benefit to justify the high price. Buy the house or don't on it's own merit, dont blow smoke up my arse.


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard














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