Last Friday, Microsoft released the 'Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers' app for the iPhone. The appearance of this app demonstrates the demand for mobile access to documents from workers who need to collaborate on the go via iOS devices. This is a positive first step in providing the kind of support expected by the hundreds of millions of iOS users who want to do more than just send email and access their calendar from mobile devices. While this app has some important limitations (for example, see this PC Magazine article), it is still a step in the right direction.
Interestingly enough, this release comes on the heels of Bill Gates’ recent interview on CNBC in which he highlighted iOS users’ frustration with the lack of access to Office apps. And interestingly enough, the new Office 365 Mobile app does not provide support for the iPad, which is widely seen as the primary mobile device for document editing and collaboration. In fact, at the E2.0 Conference being held in Boston this week, Maribel Lopez from Lopez Research today predicted that by 2016, 60% of business content will be accessed through mobile tablets. What is the solution for those folks? According to Gates, the solution is to buy the Surface tablet running Windows 8, not to support iPad users, which would jeopardize the odds that people would buy the Surface.
We, on the other hand, believe that people should have the choice to get full-featured native Office access to Office 365 and SharePoint on any mobile device that people choose to use, whether those devices be iPhone, iPads, Android phones or tablets, or BlackBerries. For more information on how to get this full-featured access, click here.