Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are all very nice applications capable of getting the job done, but they're not in the same league as Microsoft Office. What's more, the iWork apps cost money. Office Mobile for iPhone apps are free for Office 365 subscribers.
So what about the iPad?
Office Mobile is designed to be used on the iPhone, and Microsoft is not offering a version optimized for the larger screens on the iPad series. When I asked my Microsoft contact if the company planned to optimize Office Mobile for the iPad in the future, the response mimicked Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's recent assertion that there is no need: The iPad has a full browser, and users can simply use the Office Web Apps through SkyDrive.
I disagreed with Ballmer when he made that statement, and I still disagree with Microsoft's stance. Office Web Apps are great in a pinch, but they're no match for native iOS apps. The OneNote app on the iPad, for instance, is significantly easier to use than its Web equivalent. Microsoft should recognize this, drop the Office Web Apps pretense, and develop native iOS versions of the rest of the Office suite.
Businesses rely on Microsoft Office. Consumers rely on Microsoft Office. By offering Office Mobile for iPhone, Microsoft is pulling the rug out from under its rivals. It's also adding more value to Office 365, and it's ensuring that Office remains the de facto standard productivity suite—whether businesses and consumers choose Windows or not.
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