12 Million Downloads for Office for iPad Hides the Truth

12 Million Downloads for Office for iPad Hides the Truth

Alex Heath:

For those who thought Office for iPad was too late to the party, the numbers tell a different story. Today Microsoft announced that Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote combined have been downloaded a staggering 12 million times in one week.

If you doubt that number, then just take a look at the App Store charts.

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are still ranked as the top three free iPad apps, and they have sat there comfortably for a whole week. Apple was very welcoming on Microsoft’s launch day with big banners advertising Office’s arrival in the App Store.

Another approach that is certainly helping Office’s downloads is Microsoft’s decision to go freemium. The apps are free to download and view documents in, but to edit you need an Office 365 subscription. The base cost for Office 365 is $10 per month, and Apple takes its normal 30% cut of in-app subscriptions that are purchased.

Exactly. Out of those 12 millions downloads who have installed any of the Microsoft Office apps on their iPad, what percentage of them will have subsequently signed up for the £99.99 annual subscription just to be able to create a document on your iPad? Only the power users who are chained to Excel – that’s who and that’s fine but for the majority of iPad consumers, they will only need to use a spreadsheet or write a letter rarely so Apple’s solution of charging a one off fee of $9.99 for their spreadsheet app is the better model. Or of course Google’s free solution.

Excel: The Last Microsoft Office Stronghold

Excel: The Last Microsoft Office Stronghold

MG Siegler:

To be clear, I know that a lot of people have to use it in their work environment. But that’s more because their office buys it for them and forces them to. It’s a strong method of lock-in that is seemingly still going strong after all these years.

The reality is that there are now more than enough solid-to-better alternatives for much of what Office offers. And some, like Google Docs and now even the Apple iWork suite, are free.1 And so it seems to me that increasingly, Office persists more out of habit (“I don’t know how to do this without Office”) and misguided fear (“what if I need Office for some reason?”) than necessity.

I’m all for abandoning Excel. It’s expensive and it’s like we have all been locked in to using it after all these years but now that we are migrating to cloud based storage and services, Google’s Drive/Docs which is free and Apple’s Numbers seem the better alternatives. Although I use Google for my simple spreadsheets, I still need Excel for the couple of spreadsheets that I have where the data is linked between each spreadsheet. Numbers doesn’t offer this facility and although Google does, it’s limited for some bizarre reason. For the power users which need features like that, Excel is still the king.