Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), as predicted, hosted a media event in San Francisco on Thursday to release Office for iPad applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) flagship tablet.
According to Microsoft, users can download the Office apps -- Word, Excel and PowerPoint -- from the App Store to read, view and present documents free of charge. However, users will have to pay $99.99 a year ($9.99 a month) for an Office 365 subscription if they want to edit documents using the iPad.
“Starting Thursday, Office 365 subscribers can simply add an iPad as one of their chosen devices included in their subscription benefits, and can create and edit documents with Word for iPad, PowerPoint for iPad and Excel for iPad,” Microsoft said, in a statement. “Office for iPad brings full file fidelity across Office on PC, Mac, tablet and phone, and along with cloud storage from OneDrive or OneDrive for Business your files are up to date, wherever you need them on whatever device you want to use.”
Microsoft said that the Office apps for iPad are designed in such a way that they look familiar to users who use its Office suite on a PC or Mac. User can also use iPad features such as voice dictation to draft a Word document or AirPlay to project a presentation wirelessly on to a television screen. Check out the official blog post here for more details.
Here are a few more aspects that users need to know about the Word, Excel and PowerPoint native iOS apps for the iPad:
Microsoft pays Apple a 30 percent cut on Office for iPad subscriptions
A report from Re/code said that Microsoft has agreed to pay Apple a 30 percent cut on Office 365 subscriptions, in line with the company’s in-app purchase policy, which was previously thought to be one of the main reasons for Microsoft's reluctance to launch Office for iPad.
However, both Silicon Valley giants have now seem to come around to the idea, with Apple CEO Tim Cook issuing a tweet, saying: “Welcome to the #iPad and @AppStore! @satyanadella and Office for iPad.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also took to Twitter to respond, saying: “Thanks @tim_cook, excited to bring the magic of @Office to iPad customers #cloud4mobile.”
Users cannot open an Office file from a SharePoint 2010 Document Library while using an iPad
As explained in two blog posts about Excel and PowerPoint files, users trying to edit an Office file in Word, Excel or PowerPoint from a SharePoint 2010 Document Library while using an iPad with the Office apps installed, will encounter an error, stating: “There is no SharePoint Foundation application available to open the app.”
This is because SharePoint 2010 requires a plug-in or Active X to launch client applications, while the iOS doesn’t allow either of them. However, there are two workarounds from Microsoft to resolve the issue:
Option 1 – Add a Place within the application that will connect to the SharePoint Document Library.
1. To do this open any of the installed Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel or PowerPoint).
2. On the opening window choose Add a Place.
3. In the Add a Place window click on SharePoint Site URL
4. In the SharePoint URL window enter the url or internet address of the SharePoint Document Library.
5. Click Next - when prompted enter the username and password.
Option 2 – download a copy of the file
1. When in the Document Library click on Download a copy.
2. The document will be displayed in the browser window with the option to choose how to open in the appropriate application.
3. When the file opens it will be read only with the option to edit and save.
How to get Office 365 for iPad free for a year
Although the Office apps for iPad are available free for download, users will have limited access to other services such as editing unless they have an Office subscription, which costs $99.99 a year.
However, Microsoft is offering a one-year Office 365 subscription free of cost to the first 50 customers who bring an iPad into a Microsoft store. The deal runs from March 28 through March 30, ZDNet reported.
Microsoft Office for iPad is available in 29 languages, and covers 135 markets, including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Russia, UK and the U.S.