Office for the iPhone
Great news, Microsoft Office is now available on the iPhone...well, sort of.
Until now Office has never been available on any iOS device, and this has been a selling-point for Microsoft's rival tablet, the Surface. The release for iOS will open this functionality up to iPhone and iPad users.
Office for the iPhone is officially called "Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers", which means there is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that the Office app will only be available if you've signed up for an Office 365 subscription. The good news is that after that, the app is free!
What is Office 365?
Office 365 is a new version of Office that allows you to use the entire office suite through a web page or alternatively download the local application and sync with "The Cloud". This will present all sorts of benefits to business, and here are a few reasons you may want to consider switching.
As most small-to medium-sized businesses will be aware, Microsoft licensing can seem very complicated. Office 365 removes some of this complexity, giving you the option to pay monthly or annually. This means that not only is it easier to budget for Office licences year on year, but you can also budget years in advance based on the expected growth of the company. Pricing depends on the size of your company, but companies with 1-10 employees will be looking at £8.40 per user per month, whereas bigger companies will pay £9.80 per user per month. You can find out more about Office 365 pricing for business here.
Currently, moving to a new version of Office can be costly, whereas Office 365 customers are entitled to the newest versions of Office applications whenever they are available. When a new version of Office is released you will be notified and given the option to update your software to the latest version. This will again save money for businesses who want to be using the latest version across the whole company.
Office 365 works with Microsoft's SkyDrive to allow users to access files on the go. Users receive 7 GB of storage with SkyDrive for free, and additional storage can be purchased if needed.
Web browser access
Office can be accessed through any web browser (it's encrypted) meaning that even if you don't have your laptop you can still access that important presentation or spreadsheet, plus the Office suite can be installed on any PC, Mac, Windows tablet or iOS device (up to five devices).
Best of all is that Microsoft not only back up your vital company data on SkyDrive, they also offer a financially backed 99.9% uptime guarantee!
As you might imagine, using Office on a phone is a little fiddly, and even on the iPad it uses a custom layout that will take some getting used to. Given the added mobility you gain however, this seems a reasonable price to pay.
To try out Office 365 for your business, you can use this one-month free trial: Midsize Business trial for 25 users