Last week, Microsoft released a major update to Office for iOS, adding support for iPhones (including the new large-screen models) and, even more importantly, adding support for Dropbox as a place to open and save documents in the Office apps.
Perhaps the craziest news was this: while at first requiring a paid Office 365 subscription to edit documents, Microsoft is now offering basic editing features for free, with certain “power” features (pivot tables in Excel, Track Changes in Word) locked unless you (or your boss) pays for a subscription.
Most pundits agree that switching to a freemium model was a smart move, though Dan Moren thinks it’s a little desperate.
Me, I’m embarrassed to admit how happy I am at these changes. As more and more of my computing shifts to my phone, I’ve had to find creative ways to get “real” work done on mobile. The iWork mobile apps are a joke. Google’s apps are a bit better, but Google Docs is a stripped down, less capable suite to begin with.
I was impressed with Office for iPad from the beginning, but only being able to store documents in OneDrive was a pain, so I barely used it. Now that Dropbox is fully, natively supported, I finally have a word processor and spreadsheet that work on all my devices, linked together by a syncing system I trust for most everything else.