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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20 Comments

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ShiZZa said,
And if it is TS there might be some resale issues here. i bet microsoft shuts them down quickly.
Nope, don't think so. As long as they have licensed copies of Office they can sell the sessions like they are. It's the same with all MS products. For instance there are many vendors out there that do Exchange hosting and sell mailboxes all the time. They're using a MS product and in direct competition to MS cloud-based Exchange hosting but it doesn't matter as long as they have the proper licenses. Now if they were to reverse engineer Office and somehow compile it for the iPad and sell it, THEN they would have a big problem!!

microsoft will have a problem with this because they are advertising it as "Your iPad. Microsoft Office. Dropbox" - They will not like them claiming to be MSOffice, they dont mind people using the ribbon.

I do like the "Sold Out" bit tho =P

Shadrack said,
And like that, poof it is gone
I just checked on my iPad 2 and it's still available to download from the Appstore.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Microsoft was generally cool about allowing developers to use the Ribbon design in their programs, as long as it didn't directly compete with Office. I wonder if this is an exception in any way.

I think where they're putting themselves in hot water here is the fact that they're advertising CloudOn as--literally--"Microsoft Office on the iPad". This isn't as simple as being an Office-compatible document editor with a ribbon interface. It's practically pretending to be Microsoft software.

Quikboy said,
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Microsoft was generally cool about allowing developers to use the Ribbon design in their programs, as long as it didn't directly compete with Office. I wonder if this is an exception in any way.

Microsoft has absolutely no problem with anyone using the ribbon functionality in their programs!

Mohitster said,

Microsoft has absolutely no problem with anyone using the ribbon functionality in their programs!
They do it it's trying to mimic a Microsoft Product.

Mohitster said,

No Dude!! See this....the whole ribbon framework is available to developers to make more efficient applications!
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u...ktop/dd316910(v=vs.85).aspx

Except the license prohibits use in office-style products:

e. “Excluded Products” are software products or components, or web-based or hosted services that perform primarily the same general functions as the Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access software applications, and that are created or marketed as a replacement for any or all of those Microsoft applications.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa973809.aspx

Joshie said,
I think where they're putting themselves in hot water here is the fact that they're advertising CloudOn as--literally--"Microsoft Office on the iPad". This isn't as simple as being an Office-compatible document editor with a ribbon interface. It's practically pretending to be Microsoft software.

I'm really surprised Microsoft hasn't done or said anything about it - the blurb on their website as you have pointed out says, "Microsoft Office for iPad", it isn't saying, "A Microsoft Office compatible suite for iPad". Btw, this isn't the first time I've seen it happen on the AppStore where you have people ripping off other companies brands, icons etc. I hope that Microsoft buries CloudOn and its financiers.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

I'm really surprised Microsoft hasn't done or said anything about it - the blurb on their website as you have pointed out says, "Microsoft Office for iPad", it isn't saying, "A Microsoft Office compatible suite for iPad". Btw, this isn't the first time I've seen it happen on the AppStore where you have people ripping off other companies brands, icons etc. I hope that Microsoft buries CloudOn and its financiers.

they have even used official Office for Mac icons!! And in a big way I mean!!

It seems like it is an official port to me....Is it possible?

Mohitster said,

they have even used official Office for Mac icons!! And in a big way I mean!!

It seems like it is an official port to me....Is it possible?


No. Microsoft would never let a third party develop and publish a port of Office for them. Ever.

Even moreso without giving them credit anywhere on the site.

And even moreso when they've already announced that they were developing Office for iOS themselves, in-house.