Microsoft Releases Free Office iPhone App for Office 365 Subscribers

On Friday Microsoft finally came out with a version of Microsoft Office for iOS. Unfortunately, it's only available on the iPhone (no iPad version). And it's only for users of Office 365, a subscription service that costs $100 a year and lets subscribers install Office apps on up to five computers and mobile devices. Named Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers, the free app includes access to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These aren't full-fledged applications though, and are mainly intended for viewing, making small edits, and sharing files. Of course, you can sync the files with Microsoft's cloud service called SkyDrive. 

The syncing features are pretty cool, letting you track where you left off in editing or read a document and show you the location when you open it on another device. The Recent feature in the app shows you a list of Office files that you've opened most recently on your desktop computer.

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So this app isn't of much use to you if you're not already subscribed to Office 365. But you can always use Office Web Apps, which is similar to Google Docs. You can use it to create and edit Office documents within your web browser, and store them on SkyDrive. This would certainly be an option for iPad users.

You can see an early review of Microsoft's new app on Macworld.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.