After months, some might say years, of will they, won’t they, this week Microsoft finally released Microsoft Office for the iPad.
It’s only been out for a few days and it’s no surprise that you’ll find Word, Excel and Powerpoint already amongst the top 20 apps on the App Store.
What is surprising is the pricing for each of these apps – they’re FREE, but wait, there’s a catch. Although the apps are free to download if you want to do any work – creating and editing files, you will need to purchase a yearly subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 service otherwise all you can do with these apps is open and view a file. Without this subscription these apps are pretty useless and only take up space on your iPad.
The most basic subscription that Microsoft currently offers is Office 365 Home Premium that will work with Office for iPad. This subscription costs $9.99 per month ($99 per year) and offers the user the ability to install Microsoft Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs and on to 5 tablets, you’re also provided with 20 GB of disk space on Microsoft’s cloud storage service.
This might be overkill for someone like me only needs a copy of Office on my Mac and iPad, fortunately Microsoft has announced a cheaper subscription that meets my criteria and will be available later this Spring, the only downside – it’s $69.99 per year, only $30 cheaper than Home Premium.
This boggles my mind when you use some basic mathematics to work out a cost of about $20 per device if you are purchase the Home Premium package. I think if Microsoft priced this new personal package at a more reasonable price of around $15-25 would the perfect price range for users like me.
Throw in the fact that Microsoft is a new challenger in this space on the iPad and that their competitors, Apple1 and Google2, already offer a great productivity suite on the iPad with free apps and at least 5 GB of free disk space on their cloud storage service and reasonable prices for upgrading the amount of storage3, Microsoft has their work cut out for them.
Although Microsoft’s regular subscriptions will suffice for enterprise customers for Microsoft to be successful with regular customers they’re going to have to price their subscriptions a little more competitively if they want Office to be a success on the iPad. In the meantime I think I’ll stick to using Pages and Numbers on my iPad.