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Office for iPad: Good new for Office 365, bad news for Surface RT

If you saw one of the many tweets yesterday, you know that Microsoft announced Office has been released for iPad.  I'm sure this pleases a lot of iPad owners.   For those without Office 365 subscriptions though, you will soon realize that you only have access to read and view documents.  To make edits with an iPad and Office 365 subscription is required.  I am sure a lot of you out there will be disappointed by this since most companies still operate on-premises.

I think this is absolutely great for adoption of Office 365 though.  Think about it.  When it comes to organizations, your executives are often carrying iPads.  They will find out about Office and download it and will quickly realize they can't make any edits.  I feel sorry for the CIO that has to report to his board why they can't edit documents.  I can just hear the CEO saying, "Well, why aren't we in the cloud?".  Sure they can purchase individual subscriptions to Office 365 Home, but that doesn't make a lot of sense for the Enterprise.  I'm not saying this is the tipping point for organizations to jump to the cloud, but it's just one more thing pushing companies there.

Bad news for Surface RT

Today Surface RT just died a little and that makes me sad.  When I am traveling, I get asked all the time about my Surface 2.  People are astonished that I can run Office and Skype at the same time.  While iPad still sucks at multi-tasking as shown in the latest Samsung commercial, running Office was a competitive advantage of the Surface 2.  Now, the Office 365 requirement will set some people back another $99 / year or require your company to be in the cloud, it really makes things even harder on the Windows RT platform.  I still believe in it strongly, but it's a set back.  I've often laughed at people trying to use iPads for work.  Now they might actually be able to do some if they can find a third party after market that works ok.  When Jeff Teper, said they really want you to be able to use Office anywhere, I get it.  I just am sad the Surface RT advantage got a little smaller.

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More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is an independent consultant specializing in Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365. He also specializes in mobile development. Corey serves as the product manager for two cloud-first mobile app platforms: BrewZap and HappenZap.

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