Last week, Microsoft finally released it’s Office products to the iPad: Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. These programs have been long anticipated by iPad users since the development of the original iPad back in 2010. Each program has been optimized for the iPad’s touch screen where the user can access the program easily with only few “clicks”.
Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella stated at the press conference in San Francisco that the new Office 365 is about working well across multiple devices and allowing for collaborating on items while saving the word to the cloud. I guess this means a new direction for Microsoft.
The three apps are free downloads and allows users to view content for free – however a subscription to Office 365 is required to create and edit documents. The Office 365 Home Premium plan is $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year which includes 20GB of storage on OneDrive.
Education pricing is available (students $2.50/month; faculty $4.50/month) which includes 25GB of storage on OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive). OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage system. Other cloud destinations such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box are not currently an option.
Question: So what does this mean for educators? Is this NEW offer from Microsoft worth it?
Answer: It depends (I understand this is probably the answer you were looking for). But honestly, it does depend on your district and the technology eco-system you have available.
I know many districts who are heavy users of Microsoft Office products subscribing to Office 365 is a perfect fit. Besides, Microsoft Office products are more powerful and offer many functions compared to its competitors.
Personally, I have a difficult time paying for a service I could get for free. I believe Microsoft needs to catch up with the other major players. The iPad has been around for four years now and other companies have their own offerings.
Apple gives their iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) for FREE on the iPad which includes a 5GB for storage on iCloud.
Google Apps for Education (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites) includes 30GB of FREE storage on Google Drive.
Microsoft Office for iPad isn’t the only solution to edit Microsoft-formatted documents. Various third-party productivity apps such as QuickOffice allows users to create and edit documents without a subscription.
Because Microsoft is so late to this game, they will have to convince those who aren’t interested in an Office 365 subscription that it’s worth the price.
Here’s a video by TechnoBuffalo reviewing Office 365 for the iPad. They are my favorite tech reviewers on the Internet.
So what do you think? Should an Office 365 subscription be a requirement for iPad users? Will you be paying the cost of the subscription if you aren’t an Office 365 user? What are your favorite productivity apps for the iPad? Leave your comments below.