Why I Haven’t Downloaded Office for iPad…

…although at 12 million downloads, I appear to be definitely in the minority.  One of the reasons why this blog is “Off the Record” is that I give myself the right to change my mind.  If you’d like to convince me, go ahead.

I’ve never really been a big user of Office on any platform.  My needs are meagre, I would guess, and so never needed a copy to put me over the top.  I work interchangeably on Windows, Macintosh, and Ubuntu.  It’s important to me that I can exchange among the platforms and, probably the tipping point for me was installing my very first version of Ubuntu.  It came with OpenOffice and I never looked back.  It was all that I ever needed, at the time, and the LibreOffice fork of the product stays on top of everything.

The only time I strayed away was to investigate Kingsoft‘s office suite.  I liked what I saw and will admit to having a copy installed on my computer in addition to LibreOffice.

So, back to the iPad version of Office…

I’ll admit that I was tempted.  In fact, I might even go as high as $1.99 to have that functionality!  When I found out it was free, I thought…wow!

I’ll admit that I had a hard time finding it in the iTunes store.  I was looking in the store for Office but couldn’t find it.  After poking around, I finally realized that Word, Excel, and Powerpoint were separate downloads.  And, at 259MB for Word alone, that’s quite a download.

But the description stopped me in my pursuit.  The download only lets you read for free…you need to have an Office 365 annual subscription to get full functionality.  That’s something that I don’t have and not likely to get in the near future.  According to the website, the subscription for Office home is $99.99 and $79.99.  That’s quite a bit of money to be paying for annually.  Perhaps there are 12 million others that find that valuable.  Not me.

There are alternatives though.

Increasingly, my documents are stored in Google Drive.  As it turns out, Google has a Drive application that does the job nicely.  Edits and saves are done right on the document as it’s stored in Drive.

For the local use, I’ve always had a copy of QuickOffice on my iPad.  It has the functionality to fully edit documents stored locally or in Google Drive.  That’s always been the application that I go to in order to get the job done.  Price – free.

But recently, I was looking for something on the Kingsoft website.  I had missed it completely and so was pleasantly surprised to see that there was an iOS version in addition to all of their other products.  What was really interesting was the cloud support.

And the price was free as well.  Plus, it only is 100MB to get all three pieces of office functionality.  Check out this recent article from Cnet about Kingsoft. “Kingsoft Office 3.2 for iOS: Better than Microsoft Office?

As I work with the sort of documents that I use, I find that both QuickOffice and Kingsoft Office do it all.  The price is certainly right for the classroom as well.  And, if all that you need is word processing, don’t forget Scrawlar.

So, at this point, I will pass on downloading Office for iPad and buying the Office 365 license.  It’s your turn now – convince me that I’m wrong.

8 thoughts on “Why I Haven’t Downloaded Office for iPad…

  1. Well you’re not the only one that hasn’t downloaded office yet. I find Pages suits me just fine and I don’t want to pay a subscription for something I don’t need.


  2. Hey Doug,

    I won’t be installing Office apps on my iPad either, at least until someone pays the subscription fee for me. Google Docs are working very well for me, thank you very much, and their price tag is rather attractive too.

    If I understand correctly, though, O365 subscriptions can be used by families, with multiple desktop installs of Office, for personal use. That’ll be what makes it attractive for a family of 5 with three kids in school – that’s only $20 each for all the cross-platform compatibility that most people want.


  3. I haven’t done this yet, either, mostly because, at some stage in the game, the powers that be will decide to roll out all of O365 in my board; we’re a year behind on the projected dates so far…..thanks for digging in, Doug, and finding out what I need to know, and sharing it. Very intrigued by the Kingsoft idea…hmmmm.


  4. I’m a Chromebook / iPad guy, so I’m fully on board with GDocs, and all of Google. From what I’m reading here, the GDocs app should be doing more than I think it does, so I’m going to give it another try.

    I’ll also suggest that you guys check out “CloudOn,” which is a full-function “Office/Gdocs” suite that does integrate with GDocs and Box and DropBox.


  5. I’m not going to try an change your mind. What you have works for you. I have Office on all my Windows computers and love it. Granted I didn’t pay full list price but it was well worth what I did pay. I really don’t like Google Docs.
    And the OpenOffice and derivatives drive me crazy. I can’t use them. My wife had to at her school and she and the other teachers hated it so much it almost became a contract issue before they rolled Microsoft Office back out. But I know it works for some people.
    I find that I use a lot of features that not everyone uses.and that makes moving away from MS Office even harder for me. And since I find I need a real keyboard I’m not going to all tablet anytime soon. While I have an iPad i don’t use it for much beyond game playing and reading other people’s content.
    I did install the MS apps on my iPad but I did that more to see where “real” Office is going. I like what I see but only time will tell if I’m going to pay for a subscription.


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