Microsoft Office comes to iPad - sort of

Office for iOS might still be just a rumor, but a new app has already beat Microsoft to it – kind of. CloudOn, which recently appeared on the App Store isn't a native version of Office for iPad, or a slimmed down version of it's bigger brother (like Microsoft's own OneNote for iPad); instead, it operates using a combination of a local app and Dropbox based storage, LifeHacker reports.

CloudOn brings everything you love and/or hate about Office to the iPad, including the oft-discussed Ribbon interface. It lets you do pretty much anything you would ever want to do with Office on your iPad, and that includes displaying full PowerPoint presentations in their native form. You can create new documents or edit existing ones, and it supports the three flagship Office programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

CloudOn's file management system could be a pro or a con, depending on the user. Rather than storing content locally and in the cloud, like the apps from Apple's iWork suite, CloudOn lets Dropbox handle everything.

For those of you who have been waiting for Microsoft Office to come to iPad, this could be just what you've been waiting for. Best grab it fast, though, because who knows how long it will stick around. Although it doesn't offer much in the way of a touch friendly interface, being more or less a carbon copy of desktop Office, it could end up replacing Apple's iWork apps for some users, and Microsoft isn't likely to be happy about CloudOn 'borrowing' their interface.

If you find yourself wishing for a more touch intuitive interface after spending some time with the app, you might be better off waiting to see if those rumors about real Microsoft Office apps coming to iPad turn out to be true, or stick to iWork. Still, since CloudOn is free, there's not much reason that you shouldn't give it a shot.

The question of exactly who the company behind CloudOn remains something of a mystery. Their website offers little in the way of explanation for their company or their products, other than that they are 'currently sold out,' without explaining how they can run out of downloads.

Image courtesy of CloudOn.

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