This is not really a review of Office for iPad. It’s more of a review of Paul Thurrott’s review of Office for iPad. Thurrott has some interesting observations that I think are well worth addressing. So let’s get to it.
It’s clear from Thurrott’s review — and all the other reviews I’ve read — that Microsoft did a superb job with Office For iPad. Among the highlights:
- Performance is excellent;
- Takes advantage of the iPad’s features;
- Fidelity with Microsoft’s Office for Windows; and
- Available for downloading and purchase on the date of announcement.
Everything about Office for iPad is impressive, but, in my opinion, Office’s killer feature is its ability to retain formatting between the iPad and the PC. For those who must use Office on their iPad, this is surely like giving ice water to someone in hell.
Thurrott’s Cheap Shots
[pullquote]Thurrott’s brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment he gets up in the morning and does not stop until he starts to write about Apple[/pullquote]
If only Thurrott had stopped at talking about Office For iPad. But Thurrott, being Thurrott, couldn’t help himself from tossing a couple of gratuitous cheap shots at Apple’s iPad.
“Office for iPad looks awesome. Deal with it.” ~ Paul Thurrott (@thurrott)
Thurrott is a troll, plain and simple. Reading Thurrott’s take on Apple is like accidentally stepping into the shower when it’s still icy cold — it’s painful and you swear you’ll never do it again.
But who knows, by being such a troll, Thurrott almost certainly gets more page views and his writing is certainly more popular and more prosperous than mine will ever be.
I cried all the way to the bank. ~ Liberace
Having said all that, I’m not writing this article in order to criticize Thurrott’s trolling. Rather, I think Thurrott’s comments on Office for iPad can be used as a proxy for other die-hard Microsoft and PC fans, and those comments are worth closer examination.
Antiquated Operating System
[pullquote]Some people get lost in thought because it’s such unfamiliar territory. ~ G. Behn[/pullquote]
“(T)he only thing holding (Office for iPad) back, really, is Apple’s antiquated mobile OS.
iOS 7, while an improvement over previous versions, still lacks basic productivity features like the ability to run at least two apps side-by-side.
You can only do—or at least see—one thing at a time.”
Saying the iPad’s operating system is antiquated because it lacks the ability to run two apps side-by-side is like the unpopular red-headed cheerleader claiming the Prom Queen is ugly because she doesn’t have red hair.
If Thurrott wants to pretend the iPad’s OS is antiquated, he’s welcome to whatever solace he can derive from that. Apple’s iPad OS will simply have to settle for glamor, fame and success.
Hey Microsoft, with today’s announcement can we now say the iPad is useful for Real Work™? ~ Tom Reestman (@treestman)
Wonder if finally the “you can’t do real work on an iPad” thing is dead. ~ Adi Kingsley-Hughes (@the_pc_doc)
No such luck. Here’s Thurrott’s take:
“(iPad owners with Office for iPad) are going to be able to get work done.”
Thurrott is, of course, implying iPad owners haven’t been able to do any work on their iPads for the past four years.
[pullquote]He speaks nothing but madman. ~ William Shakespeare[/pullquote]
“Many are already using iPad at work. This will make the iPad truly useful for this work for the first time.”
Un-be-fricking-be-lievable. In Paul’s world, all of the millions upon millions of poor iPad users have been unable to make their iPad “truly useful” for the past four years. I guess all of those employers who purchased iPads for their employees only did so in ancipation of the day when Office For iPad would become available. Sheez.
I think Microsoft has finally realized what many Microsoft fans still have not — claiming only Microsoft products do real work makes you sound quaint — if not delusional.
“(B)ased on a few days of experience, I can say that (Office for iPad is) pretty complete given the form factor and the limitations of this kind of device.
So it’s important to understand the biggest limitation of Office on this platform isn’t Office, it’s the iPad.”
Journalists, like generals, are always refighting the last war. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)
[pullquote]Thurrott stopped to think — and forgot to start again.[/pullquote]
Wow. Despite writing about technology for a living, Thurrott just does not get it. The tablet is not “limiting.” A tablet makes for a poor PC in the same way a car makes for a poor airplane. You can’t do “real” flying with a car and you can’t travel overseas but, then again, a plane isn’t as good as a car for taxiing, either.
Tablets are not second class citizens of the PC world. They’re first class at the tasks they do – even if those tasks aren’t the same as the ones that a PC is designed to do.
“And while some will poo-poo the possibility that iPad users will flock to these apps, I suspect they’ll be quite successful.”
Well, whether Office For iPad is successful or not probably depends upon one’s definition of success. Office For iPad is undoubtably already a success for pre-existing Office users. But what about the rest of the computing world?
Google Apps and iWorks are free. There are 100,000 apps on the iPad that do some of the functions of Office. Software has been commoditized.
Prediction: Office for iPad won’t move the needle for either Apple or Microsoft. Mobile SW pricing will prevent it from being big money. ~ Carl Howe (@cdhowe)
Been using iWork for 4 years on iOS at a cost of £21. Office over the same period will cost me £320. Not sure it’s 15x better than iWork. ~ Fraser Speirs (@fraserspeirs)
Office for iPad a boon for compatibility with business, but costs $100 a year forever. ~ Ihnatko
More importantly, the vast majority of people who own PCs don’t need Office and almost no one who owns a tablet needs Office.
My dependence on Microsoft products has come down to nil virtually. So can’t get myself to be excited about Office for iPad. ~ bhatnaturally (@bhatnaturally)
Can’t wait to continue not using Office on my iPad. ~ MG Siegler (@parislemon)
Take a look at this opinion from Techpinions contributor, Brian Hall:
The worst I’ve heard about Office for iPad amongst hardcore Apple faithful is they don’t need it. ~ Brian S Hall (@BrianSHall)
Well Brian, that’s a pretty damning “worst thing.” My take is Office For iPad is going to attract almost no one who hasn’t already been using Office on their desktop already.
It’s important to reiterate that these are Thurrott’s opinions, not Microsoft’s. I think Microsoft may have finally started to figure things out — even if their fans have not.
Delivering Office for iPad is certainly a big change for Microsoft, a step away from its old Windows-first ideology. But it’s merely a piece of the puzzle that needs that big picture to become a success. ~ Simon Bisson
That sounds about right. It’s too soon to say how Office For iPad will or will not do. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Which reminds me of an anecdote.
Yogi Berra was once asked whether Joe DiMaggio’s planned marriage to Marilyn Monroe would be good for baseball. Yogi answered — as only Yogi could:
I don’t know if it’s good for baseball, but it sure beats the hell out of rooming with Phil Rizzuto. ~ Yogi Berra
Similarly, I can’t state for certain whether or not Office For iPad will be good for computing, but it sure beats the hell out of what Microsoft was doing before.