Microsoft is launching a new version of Office for tablets… and it has nothing to do with the company’s Surface tablet. Office for iPad is a totally new version of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel designed specifically for Apple’s tablets.

It’s available as a free download from the App Store — but the free version only lets you view and present documents. If you want to create and edit apps on an iPad you’ll need to subscribe to Office 365.

powerpoint ipad

That makes Office for iPad a great deal for existing Office 365 subscribers, since it’s a free add-on. But if you aren’t already paying for the subscription version of Office, you’ll have to pony up $10 per month or $100 per year to edit documents using Office on your iPad.

Or you can use Apple’s iWork suite for iPad for free or try any of the other office suites for iOS. While Microsoft Office is still king of the desktop office suites, Microsoft is actually kind of late to the iPad office suite space.

Microsoft says it’s committing to make Office available across all devices including desktop, web, and tablets.

Update: Microsoft Office for Android phones is also now free for home use – no subscription required. There’s still no Android tablet version of Office… but there will be. TNW reports that Office for Android tablets is currently in the works.

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2 replies on “Microsoft launches Office for iPad for free(ish)”

  1. I find James Kendrick’s article on ZDnet the best take
    on Office for iPad

    His take? MS had to introduce Office for iPad to avoid being irrelevant,
    and the whole Office franchise is vulnerable due to mobile.

    Gartner predicts that in 2015, 2.6 billion computing devices
    will be sold, of which 1.3 billion will be Android. About 380
    million will be Windows (including Phone). That means 3.6
    Android devices for every 1 Windows.

    1. True enough as facts go, and it might matter in the future…. almost certainly will matter. Current reality is that the sort of outfit that is rolling in enough lettuce to plunk $100 per year per employee for a bloody office package[1] is more likely to be the sort who bought iProducts for everyone when it was introduced when every consultant was pitching the ‘integration strategy’ long before it was actually possible. (i.e. now, with Office shipping)

      [1] Something that is so commoditized you can get pretty darned good ones for free, and every other option is less than Office 365. Kinda like buying Apple in that respect. 🙂

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