Microsoft to Release Office Apps for iPhone

Word for iPhone will let consumers create and edit Office documents for free. (PHOTO CREDIT: Microsoft)
Word for iPhone will let consumers create and edit Office documents for free. (PHOTO CREDIT: Microsoft)

Following up on its blockbuster release of Office for iPad earlier this year, Microsoft on Thursday unveiled new Office apps for iPhone and said consumers using any of its mobile apps will be able to create and edit Office documents for free.

The new apps for iPhone for Word, Excel and PowerPoint — Microsoft’s iconic productivity suite — will replace the existing Office Mobile app. The apps on iPad are also getting an update.

Office software lets you create and edit documents, calculate spreadsheets and design presentations and graphics. Microsoft moved to a subscription model for Office last year. As of today, though, anyone using an Office mobile app on a smartphone or tablet can create and edit across the core apps for free. You’ll still need an Office 365 subscription for premium features, including more advanced editing of Word docs, images and charts.

Also Thursday, Microsoft announced a “preview” of new Office apps for Android tablets. People will be able to sign up to join the preview at the Google Play store. General availability is expected early next year.

The moves are all part of Microsoft’s recognition under CEO Satya Nadella that it must deliver services to businesses and consumers wherever they are, especially on mobile devices. The Office for iPad apps have racked up 40 million downloads since being announced in March.

“Our pace of change with Office over the last 12 months or so has been pretty phenomenal,” says Microsoft Office exec Michael Atalla. About 150 updates have gone out to Office apps across all platforms, about a third of them in the past three months, he said.

The iPhone and iPad apps require iOS7 or later. Going forward, the apps will be updated “in lockstep,” Atalla said. “They are literally the same code, the same features, the same apps.”

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Nancy Blair

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