It seems like it took just about forever for Microsoft to roll out Office for iPad -- and it took even longer for Redmond to serve up Office for Android. But it’s finally available, along with Outlook for iOS and a preview for Android.
Microsoft built Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android tablets from the ground up with touchscreen functionality in mind. And it's perfect for mobile productivity, according to Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Office 365 Client Apps and Services.
“Consider a pharmaceutical sales rep on a train in Chicago, updating her monthly budgets in Excel. Or a student in a Madrid coffee shop writing a paper in Word, while collaborating with other students back at the dorm. Or a consultant from Bangalore at his client’s site, wirelessly projecting a PowerPoint presentation to a large screen,” he wrote in a blog post. “These are just a few scenarios our engineering teams anticipated when we designed the apps -- for touch, on the go and tuned for Android tablets.”
Koenigsbauer said Microsoft designed the apps to be “unmistakably Office, while optimized for Android tablets.” Some of the design features include large touchpoints that work to make it easy for people with big fingers to navigate commands so an external keyboard is not required.
“Existing documents open and render beautifully and are accessible instantly from device to device via a roaming ‘most recently used’ file list,” Koenigsbauer said. “Within each app, we’ve prioritized the most important features for mobile scenarios.”
For example, Koenigsbauer said users can review documents by tracking changes and adding comments, and then share the work. Excel spreadsheets offer support for formulas, charts, tables, PivotTables, sorting, filtering and comments. And PowerPoint presentations offer support for rich formatting and embedded video, transitions and animations.
Will Anybody Use Outlook?
Microsoft also released Outlook for iOS and a preview of Outlook for Android to help iPad and Android tablet users tackle e-mail overload. The Outlook app offers e-mail, calendar, contacts and files, and separates mail into two tabs -- “Focused” and “Other.”
We turned to Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, to get his take on Office for Android tablets and the new Outlook app. He told us Office for Android is likely to be a good parallel to what we see on the iPad -- and at least a starting point of what we’ll see when Windows 10 gets the new apps.
“Outlook for iOS is actually derived from the Acompli software they acquired in December. They brought the company in house, rebranded it and turned it back around,” Miller said. “The differences are apparently very subtle between the e-mail client and the app. The app that’s called Outlook is almost identical to the one that used to be called Acompli, which its customers liked.”
But will users adopt Outlook? Miller is not so sure. He said Microsoft faces an unfortunate problem with Outlook for iOS and Android. “Microsoft can’t be the default,” Miller said. “On iOS devices I use the iOS feature and it just works.”
Posted: 2015-01-31 @ 5:07pm PT
@FellowIndustryWatcher: Oh yes, and in that area they have never been particularly great. Oracle and SAP rule that market. But maybe being the underdog will do well to Microsoft's sharpening its hunger for success.
Posted: 2015-01-29 @ 12:50pm PT
@FinancialAnalyst: I hear what you're saying, but you're forgetting about Microsoft's enterprise software, CRM, ERP, retail management, etc. etc. There's a lot more to Microsoft than Office.
Posted: 2015-01-29 @ 12:20pm PT
So Microsoft finally acknowledges losing the operating system monopoly and ports Office to non-Microsoft operating systems. Too little, too late. There are cheaper and better alternatives to Microsoft's Office. The pharma rep using Excel works for a pharma company that will lose the competition against a pharma rep using Google's Apps or LibreOffice, simply because both are equally good as Excel but cost a fraction. Microsoft will eventually do to Office what it did to Windows: slash prices and sell it "with Bing" in a hope to monetize at least search, but Google is much stronger there and Microsoft won't turn a dime. Microsoft also has no content: Amazon, Apple and Google are all stronger there. So let's recap:
Lost the OS monopoly
Losing the cash cow that are office apps
Never been competitive in search
No meaningful content
Only a few pockets of competitive products (Virtualearth and Xbox)
What is an analyst to say? short MSFT!