Office on iPad: Reports of its Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Opinion

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the game in terms of providing a native iPad version of one of their core applications, and The New York Times’ Nick Wingfield is one of them. Wingfield also noted the large number of third-party solutions available to iPad users who want a Microsoft Office-like program on their tablet. Some of those solutions are complementary to Office—using plug-ins to bring PowerPoint slides to a tablet device. Others, such as Prezi and Keynote, have their own unique file formats, requiring specific software to create or view the document.

But if the chief pain that a third-party technology is attempting to address is simply to view slides on an iPad, then Office might be a more convenient option. Familiarity with the Office product suite and file extensions, which can be viewed by anyone in a company, offers iPad users some powerful advantages.

Because of this entrenched advantage—who doesn’t know what Office is?—third-party applications selling into the business will have to explain why companies need their service in addition to Office, as well as instead of Office. It’s conceivable that technologies that act simply as a PowerPoint replacement will have a tough time proving their added value now that the 800-pound gorilla just arrived at the party.

Before today, the ability to simply view a document on a tablet device was the ante for business productivity applications. Before Office for iPad, the reality was that many iPad-toting sales reps weren’t using their sleek tablets for much more than making sure their kids were entertained while the family went out to dinner.

Going forward, I expect to see an explosion of tablet usage by business professionals—from sales reps winning new customers to executives making more informed decisions on-the-go, because they now have access to the information that they need in the format they grew up using. Applications that enhance the productivity of Office—not strain to replace it—will be the ones that provide the competitive advantage to the largest companies across industries.

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Doug Winter is co-founder and CEO of Seismic, a leader in enterprise mobile content management. Doug previously co-founded Objectiva Software Solutions, which was acquired by EMC Document Sciences in 2004. He holds a MSEE and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSEE from Virginia Tech. Follow @

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One response to “Office on iPad: Reports of its Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”

  1. D. Bullock says:

    I agree with much of what was said, except the part about 3rd party apps. I recommend you check out the office suite provided on the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. It doesn’t require a subscription to take advantage of the full suite like office for ipad, yet you get an identical user experience, possibly better. I believe the suite is called HanCom. The version of Excel it comes with actually has calculation options that are not provided on office for PC’s. If it is ever released in the general marketplace, Google playstore or app store, it will completely take away any reason to pay for an office 365 subscription. Check it out!