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MS Office For Android: Pretty, But Woefully Incomplete

Soulskill posted 1 year,25 days | from the features-are-a-luxury dept.

Android 174

mattydread23 writes "The new Office 365 app for Android, launched a week ago, has a super nice UI, but lacks a bunch of basic features and has some really weird oversights — including a classic Microsoft dialog box that offers a choice that makes no sense. 'Overall, it still feels like Microsoft is still trying to funnel people toward its own Windows Phone if they want a better experience. In fact, in a question on an FAQ about how the Android Office app compares to the Windows Phone Office app, Microsoft says this: “Office Mobile on Windows Phone 8 provides a richer, more integrated experience,” and goes on to specify how. That’s a losing strategy when so many other apps — many of them free — offer a richer experience on Android and iOS.' "

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FUck Microsharft (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494065)

FH*@(N

Re:FUck Microsharft (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494721)

Precisely. They are almost irrelevant now, as Apple will be soon.

China phone maker Xiaomi took 30,000,000 orders for its new "Red Rice" phone in just 5 hours.

http://www.gizchai.com/2013/08/30000000-xiaomi-hongmi-aka-xiaomi-red.html [gizchai.com]

Re:FUck Microsharft (1)

Jeeeb (1141117) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495561)

Precisely. They are almost irrelevant now, as Apple will be soon. China phone maker Xiaomi took 30,000,000 orders for its new "Red Rice" phone in just 5 hours. http://www.gizchai.com/2013/08/30000000-xiaomi-hongmi-aka-xiaomi-red.html [gizchai.com]

Yes.. 2-3% of China's population ordered that phone within 5 hours of release... I'm sure that press release is completely bullshit free.

Typical Microsoft approach (5, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494097)

There are people in the organization who understand where things are heading in the future, and have convinced the company leadership that they need to be on iOS and Android or get left behind. But the old school mentality dies hard, and Microsoft has painted itself into a corner by making Office one of the fundamental selling points for its tablets (which is flawed thinking anyway, and shows they still don't grasp the market). So this is what you end up with - a crappy office experience on iOS and Android that only serves to make the company look bad.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494155)

My grandfather used to call it "Tripping over nickels to pinch pennies." Using Office to push an unpopular tablet, to someone who already owns a tablet, only promotes the Office alternatives.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494393)

My grandfather used to call it "Tripping over nickels to pinch pennies."

my GREAT grandfather used to say, don't trip over the farthings to pick up the tuppence!

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495307)

And then he cycled away on his pennyfarthing?

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

SpockLogic (1256972) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495869)

My grandfather used to call it "Tripping over nickels to pinch pennies."

my GREAT grandfather used to say, don't trip over the farthings to pick up the tuppence!

From my memory of pre-dismal coinage there are 16 farthings in tuppence. Did you perhaps make a transpositional error?

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

goombah99 (560566) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495365)

Google is doing much the same on iPhones. It provides late or diminished google apps like mapping compared to the enhanced and first out features on android. Likewise google's new chromecast feature only works in the chrome browser.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44495443)

Wasn't this due to Apple licensing Google to make their own mapping app with Googles data? And when Apple then decided to use their own data instead Google realsed an Google Maps that was equal to the one in Android?

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495457)

Google is doing much the same on iPhones. It provides late or diminished google apps like mapping compared to the enhanced and first out features on android.

Not really comparable. iPhone apps go through a very rigorous approval procedure, so it should come as no surprise that Google can launch new/enhanced features faster on their own platform than they can do on iOS, I would also be little surprised if certain features get blocked by Apple if they are perceived as competing with a native application/feature.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494171)

There are people in the organization who understand where things are heading in the future, and have convinced the company leadership that they need to be on iOS and Android or get left behind. But the old school mentality dies hard, and Microsoft has painted itself into a corner by making Office one of the fundamental selling points for its tablets (which is flawed thinking anyway, and shows they still don't grasp the market). So this is what you end up with - a crappy office experience on iOS and Android that only serves to make the company look bad.

Once again this underscores the incredible luck Microsoft have been riding for decades, after big businesses opted to standardize micro computers on MS-DOS PCs. Microsoft never had to claw their way to the top, they just bundled, bought up and drove other competition to ruin by immoral business practices. They haven't lost their way, they never had it to begin it. Apple and Google have carved out the smart phone and tablet markets and made them what they are - a war for supremacy. Microsoft are still playing silly games, like they have some dominant market position.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1, Insightful)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494197)

like they have some dominant market position

They do, but despite mathematics being compulsory for most CS courses .. geeks just don't get it.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494247)

They do, but despite mathematics being compulsory for most CS courses .. geeks just don't get it.

Microsoft have a dominant market position in the smart phone and tablet markets?

You must be using some new branch of mathematics that I wasn't previously aware of.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (4, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494267)

Mathemagics, apparently.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494507)

Microsoft have a dominant market position in the smart phone and tablet markets?
You must be using some new branch of mathematics that I wasn't previously aware of.

No, Microsoft has proven it statistically, the proof just involves extensive use of i - and a couple of NaN's.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (4, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494735)

You must be using some new branch of mathematics that I wasn't previously aware of.

Or Excel for Android.

WinCE was once big (5, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494567)

Apple and Google rule the smart phone world now, but before the iPhone you wanted WinCE devices like the XDA and iPaq. They had the chance and the market position but failed to conquer the iPhone successfully. By the time there was "Apple, BlackBerry and the rest" Google got in and by combining google accounts and multiple vendors offering the same OS, they got their current position. MicroSoft kept trying combining their desktop business model and apps with mobile, resulting in expensive phones that lacked features people wanted and came with features people weren't interested in at that price point. Developers were angry because all their apps needed to be rewritten for newer winCE/windows phone versions and if you wanted a newer windows phone version, you had to buy a new phone with it. There was a lot of inconsistency and doubt about how future proof an investment in the mobile windows phone platform would be for almost any party in the smart phone economy, resulting in people betting on other horses.

MicroSoft had the position, they created it themselves and then lost it once the smart phone really started taking off as a platform. MicroSoft had their way, they worked hard for it but they thought that they could pull another MS-DOS on the organizer-turned-smart-phone and then messed it up.

Re:WinCE was once big (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44495319)

"Apple and Google rule the smart phone world now, but before the iPhone you wanted WinCE devices like the XDA and iPaq. ... MicroSoft had the position, they created it themselves and then lost it once the smart phone really started taking off as a platform."

Only in USA. In other parts of the world Nokia and Symbian dominated the smartphone markets.

Old tactics, really (2, Interesting)

Camael (1048726) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495477)

And much of their old dominance was founded on their monopoly of the OS through windows, and they were not shy about (ab)using it.

For example, they allegedly tweaked Win95 to kill WordPerfect [techweekeurope.co.uk] . Novell sued but lost the court case.

Novell had accused the company of crippling WordPerfect, by deliberately removing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which it used from windows 95, even though they were present in the beta version of the operating system.

To kill off Netscape, they not only bundled IE with every copy of Windows but also allegedly altered or manipulated its application programming interfaces (APIs) in the OS to favor Internet Explorer over third party web browsers. This led directly to the anti-trust lawsuit by the government against MS [wikipedia.org] .

Now that the fight is over mobile and tablet space, MS is still sticking to its game plan by trying to leverage its old dominance into these new markets. Hence you only get the full product (in this case, Office) if you use Winph8 for mobile or Surface Pro for tablets. Their hand is weaker though since they do not control the underlying OS (iOS and Android) so they are relying on attachment to Office to drive the numbers.

Re:WinCE was once big (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44495507)

before the iPhone you wanted WinCE devices like the XDA and iPaq

Maybe you did, but I sure didn't. Before iPhone, smart phones and PDAs weren't even on my radar. I had to look up what XDA and iPaq were, and at this point I still don't know what pre-iPhone device XDA might have been, because a search for XDA just brings up stuff (mainly for Android) related to the XDA-Developers community. Maybe you meant "XDA" as a category of devices: I can't tell.
 
My point being, even if WinCE devices were the king of the PDA world before iPhone, they were the king of a pitiful market compared to the market iPhone created, by basically recreating the smart phone category altogether. And by my recollection, WinCE devices were nowhere near 'king'. They were underpowered, overpriced and feature poor, and plagued with the same confusion as current 'not Windows' Windows devices (why can't they do what 'real' Windows can).

Re:WinCE was once big (2)

dfghjk (711126) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495599)

Microsoft never had the position and WinCE devices were never wanted. Prior to iOS and Android there was Blackberry and Palm (and Symbian). Microsoft was only an alternative and always a pretty crappy one. You need to get your history straight.

Fact is, Apple only had an opening in smartphones because none of the other vendors could make a product that worked. Palm had nice apps but its OS was primitive and unstable. Symbian was the opposite, good OS but terrible apps. MS was bloated and slow with bad human factors and devices with awful battery life. Apple's "innovation" was a device that didn't crash several times a day, had good human factors, and wasn't tethered to a wall outlet. Meanwhile, souped up Blackberry pagers were popular with people who needed to get work done.

The problem with MS isn't that they had the market and lost it, it's that they never made a product worth having and no one wanted it.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495311)

@ackthpt -- "Microsoft never had to claw their way to the top, they just bundled, bought up and drove other competition to ruin by immoral business practices."

MS has long had some of the most effective sales teams of any software company in the world. To claim otherwise, or to say that ALL their success was based on "luck" or "immoral business practices" is a serious stretch of the imagination.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495755)

"Once again this underscores the incredible luck Microsoft have been riding for decades, after big businesses opted to standardize micro computers on MS-DOS PCs. Microsoft never had to claw their way to the top, they just bundled, bought up and drove other competition to ruin by immoral business practices."

You were clearly not around in the 80's.

"Big businesses" did not standardize on MS-DOS, they standardized on IBM and specifically on PC-DOS. MS-DOS was not the same and PCs that couldn't run PC-DOS were failures. Ask AT&T and TI. IBM was the company, MS was a cling-on. They would have been snuffed out if they didn't earn their way elsewhere.

On the OS front, MS has to compete with several alternatives for the PC dekstop, Topview and GEM to name a couple. It created a fully virtual windows product, Windows/386, that was the first truly useful desktop 386-specific product. It created a worthy adversary (NT) to the 286-OS/2 disaster. It created a viable, portable OS that ran on RISC workstations while still running DOS apps. That countered the threat of a dominant Intel. It had to take on IBM while partnering with them and produce a truly excellent product in Windows NT while doing so. It established Win16 and Win32 as the dominant programming interfaces while IBM was pushing their own lock-in. It accomplished all this while Novell had an absolute stranglehold in networking. It sent Novell packing at the same time, not something that people might have predicted at the time. Netware was THE product, LAN Manager was a toy. How times changed.

Meanwhile, Word quickly became a technically excellent product and their office suite competed well with another huge competitor with dominant marketshare. That market wasn't gifted to MS, they earned it and put down Wordperfect in the process.

Finally, Microsoft's bread and butter comes from software for which the industry has never produced viable competition. That's not MS's fault. As the de facto sole supplier of software platforms, it's MS's job to shepherd the industry and drive standards. By and large they do a grim job of that, but MS did PnP which was revolutionary for PCs. They, more than anyone else, create the technical umbrella under which companies like Apple can pluck off-the-shelf components and pretend to be superior engineers. PCs work because of astronomical efforts by countless engineers. MS plays a big role in that.

Sure, MS was/is ruthless and unethical, but to say MS is a product of nothing more than incredible luck for decades is simply ignorant. MS was methodical and technically excellent. They made consistently the best development tools and developed viable offerings in every area that mattered. They destroyed their competition on the field even as they stabbed them in the back off of it. MS fought their way to the top in multiple simultaneous markets.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495855)

There are a lot of companies out there that are looking for ANY way to cut costs. They are skating along, still in business, but any place to save a dollar or two or ten thousand - they will do it now just to get by. They are in a long-term pinch not a sudden drop out.

I predict with 100% made up certainty that in THIS climate, more so than any other, there will be many businesses of all sizes absolutely DITCH microsoft. There will be companies move to open office, or the like, in droves.

IT people know about it, IT people have no love lost of MS office, and with tight budgets and a scrappy, aggressive attitude, decision makers will say "why not. And, look into linux while we're at it. This windows 8 BS is the last straw I still remember vista"

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494189)

a crappy office experience on iOS and Android that only serves to make the company look bad

Clearly it also makes the company look outdated and monopoloistic. But I see your point.

Oh no. (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494293)

Microsoft wouldn't want to start looking outdated and monopoloistic.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494431)

Clearly, the joke is on them. Why? Because virtual keyboards on touch screens outright suck to a degree even higher than really bad laptop keyboards. But, if MS *had* actually put in the effort to do a really decent port of MS Office for Android and iOS and their Surface RT/Pro, I have little doubt that the ones with a keyboard would win hands down.

Now, I guess they could fear that people would just attach keyboards to their Android/iOS phone/tablet and the reviewers would show it's the cheaper route. But, honestly, if the iPad can sell at a premium for the value-added consistency or whatever, I'm certain a decently powered Surface Pro with a decent screen and a decent keyboard as a guarantee would sell as well. Of course, once that happened, I could actually see a port of Apps to the Surface Pro.

Which further goes to show how the Surface RT is a joke and how MS has forgotten its own history. Oh, and it also shows that pushing a Metro UI was just a bad idea because it should have been used just like the DX library to extend what could be done in Windows instead of trying to supplant Window as some sort of synergistic strategy to own the Arm phone/tablet market. But, when all you have is a [monopoly] hammer...

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494783)

Because virtual keyboards on touch screens outright suck to a degree even higher than really bad laptop keyboards.

Maybe half a decade ago, but slide-style keyboards like Swype and Google Keyboard are almost as fast as physical keys. And if you're using them to add field work to office documents, which is a core use-case for a lot of handheld devices in businesses, they win hands-down.

Nowhere near it (2)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495431)

Even the tiny keyboard on my N900 is vastly easier to use than the virtual android things.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495577)

I have yet to see a virtual keyboard which is remotely as fast as a physical keyboard and I very much doubt you have either.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494565)

Is it possible that a port to a Windows phone environment is easier than rewriting it in java aka dalvik? That maybe it is a barely funded trial balloon?

The typical Microsoft approach at play is getting in late and screwing up the first version. Two options now - double down and fix it, or claim lack of interest and abandon the project.

This is not about making office a selling point yet, offering a crippled version for Android. That will make office a non starter, and any other suite wins. Clearly not how Microsoft wants to play it. Late to the game, but they have made up ground when they decided it was worth spending to win.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495545)

It might be harder to port it to Java but then Microsoft have thousands of developers and all the money in the world so that should be quite easy for them.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495257)

@93 Escort Wagon -> "So this is what you end up with - a crappy office experience"

You are leaping too far ahead with your analysis. This is a beta product - clearly not an "end" point. MS has typically done a fair job of improving the user experience over time with their software, and I would expect for them to iron out the bugs in the Office on Android experience.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495595)

Like with Metro, and the Ribbon interface.

Re:Typical Microsoft approach (1)

jrumney (197329) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495495)

a crappy office experience on iOS and Android that only serves to make the company look bad.

Perhaps you haven't tried the latest version of Office on a PC, but it has become exceptionally crappy there too. The time is ripe for a competitor to finally put an end to almost two decades of Microsoft's complete dominance of the Word Processor and Spreadsheet market.

They brought back Clippy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494115)

"...including a classic Microsoft dialog box that offers a choice that makes no sense"

Clippy, is that you?

Re:They brought back Clippy (1)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494177)

"...including a classic Microsoft dialog box that offers a choice that makes no sense"

Clippy, is that you?

That .. would actually make sense to the 2 or 3 dozen people who actually miss Clippy.

Re:They brought back Clippy (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494281)

Oh don't tell me you don't feel a little bit of nostalgia for the lil' guy.

Re:They brought back Clippy (1)

shortscruffydave (638529) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495747)

That .. would actually make sense to the 2 or 3 people who actually miss Clippy.

FTFY

Re:They brought back Clippy (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494427)

Clippy, is that you?

Nah, even more classic than Clippy.

Cloud not available. Abort, Retry, Fail?

Re:They brought back Clippy (1)

mrbester (200927) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494489)

"COMMAND.COM not found. Please insert disc to continue"

Re:They brought back Clippy (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495323)

@AC 12:27AM -- "Clippy, is that you?"

1995 called - they want their stale jokes back.

Classic disruptive technology (4, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494123)

Microsoft has a long standing, dominant set of softwares (Windows/Office) that has been its cash cow for longer than many of us have been old enough to vote. It's the classic case for disruptive technologies:

1) The old, highly profitable incumbent using old technology and charging pretty pennies for it.

2) The new upstart technology, able to do similar stuff in a new context and dramatically cheaper.

3) Incumbent tries to mash its old technology into the new context to preserve its margins.

4) Incumbent dies a death of a thousand paper cuts as the new context, typically more nimble and with an entirely new, cheaper cost structure, slowly peck at the old incumbent until it's irrelevant.

Many of us old-timers remember when IBM ruled the roost for the PC. Some of us remember when DEC was the dominant force for mini computers. A few of us remember when IBM ruled the roost for computing mainframes, before the mini computer took sway.

We should give Microsoft lots of credit. Microsoft had a *long* time at the helm. It was able to cash in on the entire PC revolution, and even much of the Internet revolution, until the Mobile revolution, which it foresaw a decade or more in advance and tried hard (but hardly) to embrace.

For me, going from Windows Phone 6.1 to Android 2.2 on a Motorola Droid 2 was like going from a rusty riding lawn mower to an LXi Convertible. It's sad, really. Microsoft had its part in the mobile game for several hardware generations, and they were beaten so mightily that they are now basically the upstarts trying to be a halfway, third place contender.

Admire what they've done, but this mobile situation is just sad given how hard they tried.

Re:Classic disruptive technology (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494169)

I do respect what they did. But I am not sad to see them going...

Re:Classic disruptive technology (1)

bratwiz (635601) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494921)

Amen to that.

Re:Classic disruptive technology (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494439)

A few of us remember when IBM ruled the roost for computing mainframes, before the mini computer took sway.

And an even smaller number of us made quite a lot of money at the time by building a skills-base on "mainframes that weren't IBM". In my case those were CDC, Sperry, Burroughs and Honeywell. Later, as the market moved towards minis, my platforms shifted a bit to include DEC, Data General and Prime. It was fun while it lasted. I was probably a bit behind the curve in getting involved with the IBM PC (as it was), since it took me a while to shake the impression that they were just toys.

Microsoft has had some 30 years to address that impression, and on the whole has pretty much failed.

Re:Classic disruptive technology (1)

Bongo (13261) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495655)

They tried and I'm sure they know full well their predicament.

What they seem to have been missing though, is a design culture, like you might find in an architect's office or an industrial designer's office. Too many clever geeks are missing that different type of skill it takes to comprehend how and why a gadget would be desirable. Apple seems to have had this culture, but it mattered less on the desktop.

When things shifted to mobile, Apple applied it not just to the shape of the brick, not just as a style for the buttons, or a skin, but through the operating system and apps and functionality and how touch works. And they copied plenty from any other developers who came up with good design ideas also.

I don't think Apple always succeeds with design, like that iTunes social sharing thing they tried, which I for one switched off immediately and wasn't surprised when they dropped it, but good design is usually hard. At least they try.

When Microsoft tries to design something new, it turns out worse than if they hadn't tried. Metro is fine for 1930's style transport signage, it is not good for a desktop interface. Yeah, you looked at typography, great, that's like idea 1. Now try getting to idea 100 and throwing the other 95 in the trash. That's how design works, lots and lots of possibilities, most of which are crap on closer scrutiny.

As for office, at some point, we'll have a more elegant and simpler way to handle business information, which isn't warped to fit a complex desktop publishing to printed page model. Mobile should hopefully finally break that paradigm. But "docs in the cloud" doesn't seem any better. And when Google thought outside the box, they went into some weird universe called Wave, where nobody seems to have thought, why would you want that? Design 101.

Should be called Office Lite (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494145)

Considering the number of people on Android, they could get the impression that Office 365 is a poor hack and opt for something else. Stupid, short-sighted move by Microsoft.

Re:Should be called Office Lite (1)

0123456 (636235) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494163)

The features listed sound more like 'Notepad for Android' to me.

Re:Should be called Office Lite (4, Informative)

BrokenHalo (565198) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494491)

... they could get the impression that Office 365 is a poor hack and opt for something else.

Indeed. Such as LibreOffice, which is (I read) in active development, and available in pre-alpha form [libreoffice.org] for Android already.

There will no doubt be a chorus in favour of so-called "cloud"-based office applications, but I don't see any likelihood of localhost programs dying out soon. There are still many (myself included) who don't trust other people's servers, or who (also including myself) who can't count on a permanent connection to the internet.

Office365 login is broken (3, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494147)

Started this afternoon, but the login screen is broken at www.office365.com. Instead, you can access your account at login.microsoftonline.com

BTW, in the process of migrating for a client. And they pull this shit mid-flight into it. Thanks M$!

Seems like a touchy strategy... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494165)

I can understand that Microsoft doesn't want to leave Windows RT even deader in the water than it already is (presumably this is why their Android application point-blank doesn't support tablets, only phones); but it strikes me that they might be overplaying their hand.

The market for office suites that are identical to Office is quite large, quite lucrative; but also has very high barriers to entry. Even Microsoft has shown limited ability (at least within a useful timeframe) to rebuild such a beast (notably, they had to drag all of Windows Desktop mode, and the supporting libraries, into the otherwise all-Metro Windows RT to support Office, even then lacking some features, because they have no 'metro' Office suite.)

Unfortunately for them, while the market for somewhat-compatible-with-Office office suites isn't nearly as lucrative, it's substantially more competitive, with comparatively low barriers to entry and some competent players.

Microsoft seems to be playing with crippling their offerings of a somewhat-compatible-with-Office software package as though they were working from the position of strength provided by selling a 100% Office office suite. Which, outside of Windows proper, they don't do, and may not even be able to do. That seems like it isn't going to work out exactly as planned...

Re:Seems like a touchy strategy... (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494213)

working from the position of strength provided by selling a 100% Office office suite

This is all which holds businesses back from using any other office suite. The office suite they use must be compatible with MS Office because everyone else uses MS Office. Every release or two, Microsoft creates a new file format .. it then takes the competitors 5 years to catch up at which time, MS releases a new file format.

If the creators of the other office suites made a 100% Office office suite, there would be no competition. Until that time (which I believe will come), Microsoft will continue to leverage Office in whatever way they can. And who could blame them? They have always and continue to make bazillions of dollars doing this.

Is it dumb to make a 'not very good' 100% Office suite for Android? Yes, very dumb. Will MS feel the pain of this stupidity? Nope, they'll profit even more from it.

Re:Seems like a touchy strategy... (4, Informative)

CaptQuark (2706165) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494363)

Every release or two, Microsoft creates a new file format .. it then takes the competitors 5 years to catch up at which time, MS releases a new file format.

Microsoft opened the barn doors when they pushed to have the office format declared an Open Standard. They were very nervous that other file formats would be declared the new preferred open format by governments and organizations trying to get away from closed, undocumented, and proprietary formats. This has allowed other office suites to accurately read and write documents in Microsoft's formats. If Microsoft now tries to change their format again, without documenting all the changes, they risk having the Office 2010 format declared the only supported file format users are allowed to use by many companies. Microsoft's last couple of releases have done nothing but change the UI or licensing terms without adding anything substantive.

The horse has left the barn and Microsoft will have a devil of a time getting it back in.

Re:Seems like a touchy strategy... (2)

JImbob0i0 (1202835) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495023)

But did any version of MS Office actually use the ISO/IEC 29500:2008 standard in the end?

There was so much hand waving and so on - especially given the Office spec this was based on used the ECMA standard - and a few ethereal promises later on ...

But did they ever (so far as was possible given the appalling state of the spec) actually get to implementing what was agreed on?

MS built the barn (1)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495449)

I can import binary data files from 1968 due to a published standard, but MS took a huge step backwards to deliberately prevent people from opening files without giving money to MS. It wouldn't be so bad if they hadn't fucked it up so badly that some of their old data formats are orphened and won't display as designed in even updated versions of their own software.

Re:Seems like a touchy strategy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494291)

> this is why their Android application point-blank doesn't support tablets, only phones

What about phablets? Where do they draw the line? (size/features)

Re:Seems like a touchy strategy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494445)

Crippling freeware/open-source/free apps in order to lure the customer into a paying solution or profit from him in any other way is as old as the industry itself.

Trojan Horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494215)

Why do I get the feeling this will not be good for me?

I love it! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494233)

First they killed the Window OS with Windows 8. Then they killed the Windows tablet with Windows RT. Now they're killing MS Office with MS Office For Android.

Is there really anything left to kill?

I love it!

Re:I love it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494401)

You forgot about xbone. Hint: the dog dies.

Re:I love it! (2)

Zelos (1050172) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494795)

They tried pretty hard to kill off Windows Phone by orphaning their existing WP7 users and apps with the switch to WP8. It still seems to be limping along somehow though.

Just Perfect in Windows Phone (1)

sites4you (2593357) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494245)

I understand that microsoft wants to serve their user even in android mobile but their software is only perfect when it is applied in their own os and not in other OS.

Perfect meaning awful (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494279)

perfect when it is applied in their own os and not in other OS.

What you are implying is that Microsoft cannot code cross platform Applications in a cross platform world. Android has passed 900,000,000 Users and is set to eclipse Windows(On around 1.2 Billion Users) this year. Microsoft need to compete, and to do so they need to produce first class products. Creating poor versions, will further tarnish an already poor brand...All of us use Microsoft's Software, and are more than aware how far from perfect it is on its own platform.

Re:Perfect meaning awful (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494433)

I take exception to your "all of us use MS software", despite your being somewhat vague about which "us" you are referring to.

Believe it or not, there are a very large number of people that DO NOT "use MS software". In fact the readership of this site probably has a higher proportion thereof than other more "mainstream" sites do.

Unless by "us" you mean "clueless end users living under a rock" or "office drones locked in by their CIO's choice"..

Desktop Monopoly (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494505)

I take exception to your "all of us use MS software", despite your being somewhat vague about which "us" you are referring to.

I'm sorry I was referring to the Desktop Monopoly that Microsoft has had for the past two decades(Now a Desktop App monopoly). My "everyone technical" had used it at some point I think is simply true...not really sure how using it makes you a "clueless end users living under a rock"

You are simply wrong

Re:Just Perfect in Windows Phone (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494287)

I understand that microsoft wants to serve their user even in android mobile but their software is only perfect when it is applied in their own os and not in other OS.

The OS is irrelevant. Windows, OSX, whatever, it doesn't matter. The problem is trying to put an application like Office on a phone. Sorry, but that's just stupid.

Re:Just Perfect in Windows Phone (1)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494305)

Of course. Because the ultimate utility of integrating your OS with your office suite is to provide those special secret OS hooks that make your app work better than any other, and the frequent special updates that make competing apps not work at all. Kind of hard for them to get either of those on Android.

Re:Just Perfect in Windows Phone (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494333)

I understand that microsoft wants to serve their user even in android mobile but their software is only perfect when it is applied in their own os and not in other OS.

Except the one in Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone are standalone Office.

The office for Android and iOS are front ends to Office365, the cloud version of Office, and a subscription service.

Microsoft should make an effort to making these Office365 clients good because if they're good, they promote usage of Office365 and thus, subscription revenue. In fact, it's hard to buy regular Office these days because all you see everywhere are Office365 cards.

Re:Just Perfect in Windows Phone (1)

EzInKy (115248) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494437)

Yeah, I guess you can't blame them from trying to extend their near monopoly of the desktop to tablets and phones. Still, you have to wonder how long it will take Microsoft to accept the inevitable and start playing nice with everyone else? It really would is sad to think they are willing to commit suicide to preserve their lock-in. Oh well, what will be will be.

Re:Just Perfect in Windows Phone (1)

edibobb (113989) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494483)

Not even close to perfect.

Other Office Suites are worth the growing pains (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494273)

CSB time, you've been warned...

I remember way back in university when I was working in an ancient version of Word for Windows 3.1. The thing was bad for pagination when it came to printing -- it would either duplicate passages or omit them entirely if there was a footnote issue. I was lucky it didn't cost me a failing grade on a paper which I hastily printed off and assumed would just work. Still, it was Microsoft, and it was Word, so I stuck it out, and worked through the issues, because it was worth going through the growing pains for what seemed like a promising word processor.

Fast forward to today. I've been messing about Scribus, which had a weird WYSIWYG failure where what was rendered to the screen didn't show up on output. After a printout I messed about with the font sizes and it was able to print properly. It was a weird buggy thing -- it was originally 40pt or so, and it got corrected by changing to 30pt and then going back to 40pt. Shrug. Whatever, even if it's at a point where it's similar to the issues with Word for Windows 3.1, or even if it's a step behind where QuarkXPress was a decade or so ago, I'm finding it's still worth the hassle. Not only because of the great price point, but because you know that they're not going to pull this corporate-driven nonsense.

The more people realize that there's some phenomenal stuff out there in open source, the more migrations that happen, the more usage is going to drive up interest and help improve development.

Even if you make the argument that open source software is still a decade behind the commercial stuff, it must be said that where the commercial stuff was a decade ago is still more than adequate for today's needs, and that if we're reaching that point, it's a serious victory. It's seriously worth sticking it out with today's OS stuff, because it's only going to get better.

Re:Other Office Suites are worth the growing pains (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44495647)

> phenomenal stuff out there in open source

Does that no go against everything you have just said above? Or have you redefined "phenomenal" to mean "as good a Word for Windows 3.1"?

not a big deal this particular strategy tax (1)

AlephNaut (120505) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494319)

Normally I'd say this was a bad for users kind of decision. But honestly office on a phone is mostly irrelevant. Now that OneNote on android and ios are tolerable I think they've hedged their bets well.

Coming from someone that thinks winphone is beautiful but because of network effects will not be a real contender (os/2 warp anyone?)

stupid article (1)

l3v1 (787564) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494345)

So, an article about how the app's UI s*cks, with one image, showing almost nothing. I also think the app is no good, but this article brings a new low.

Re:stupid article (1)

0123456 (636235) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494381)

To be fair, the phone UI looks better than the new Office UI on PCs.

Re:stupid article (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494869)

Can you at least say "less ugly"? "Better" has this ring that it was a comparative of "good".

Another Nail In An Abusive Monopolist (4, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494371)

Microsoft still has not learned to compete without being abusive monopolist, especially in a market with many competing products. People buy office for compatibility Insurance...Cue scenarios where a power-point document not working justifies the cost to a home user of £8($12) A month...The cost of a top of the range 7" tablet every two years. Competing products are free or equivalent to a one off payment about the same as Microsoft one month from Microsoft. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.office.officehub [google.com] read the reviews the product is simply annoying what should be potential customers by overcharging for an Office product.

The fact that this software is impossible to find on the play store(unlike 365 Sex positions...seriously there are not that many)...its incompatible with my devices, and doesn't work on the more useful tablets!? Microsoft do not understand that people will buy into there ecosystem if you offer them a great product...at great value. If those exist, potential customers may be more willing to look at Microsoft's hardware offerings as something more than a sad joke.

Uhm.. So? (0)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494411)

I cannot imagine anything that is becoming more and more irrelevant than "MS Office".

There is NOTHING I can imagine wishing to use those applications for, no information I can imagine wanting to enter, store, or process in those formats, on ANY platform.

There is also no reason to be "locked in" to those formats anymore. "Final output" can (and should) be in a format such as PDF regardless of whether its a business producing a report, or an individual submitting a resume. Anyone that sends some information blindly in ANY application specific format is an idiot, and deserves to have it returned or ignored. Anyone that has massive stores of information ("documents") in such formats that hasn't already at least started planning
to migrate it to a standard format (a format cannot be a "standard" if it is not fully and openly documented such that anyone can implement a 100% functional reader/writer from scratch)

MS porting Office to other platforms is a feeble last ditch attempt at remaining relevant, and that is the only reason it might be "News".

TLDR: (1)

Chompjil (2746865) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494447)

MS Office for android = bad port, wait scratch that not a port, half assed attempt to port an HTML,Javascript, and ASP into Java application

So wait.. (2)

Rainwulf (865585) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494477)

A microsoft product, not tested properly, telling you a more expensive version is better, and with little common sense, designed for hardware that microsoft didnt design?

So, its a standard microsoft product then right? This isnt actually news.

News would be if it worked and worked well.

Re:So wait.. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494887)

No, that would have been a reason to finally open the window and look up to see whether the sky is falling, and then call the red dude and ask him if he has more acceptable temperatures down there than we have up here.

I don't make my living doing documents (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494557)

For me, Office is a somewhat overly complicated suite of programs that does 100 things that I don't need. I just need to be able to read Word docs and Excel spreadsheets, and rarely make basic annotations/additions. For the audience that does need those 100 things, I can't blame Microsoft for trying to up sell. If you depend on full word processor or spreadsheet functionality and hate M$, ACTIVELY support a platform that lets you do that. Whether that is PayPal to Open Office or agreeing to some Google Doc ads. FWIW, Google Docs is enough for me. TANSTAAFL.

Office still relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494597)

Seems Microsoft still thinks Office is a killer app. The only one still worth something is Excel. The rest can be replaced with better alternatives for most people.

Libreoffice Calc (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494631)

Seems Microsoft still thinks Office is a killer app. The only one still worth something is Excel. The rest can be replaced with better alternatives for most people.

There is nothing special about Excel. I personally Prefer Calc, although they are very similar.

Two words (1)

temcat (873475) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494693)

Softmaker Office.

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494745)

One word: Yep.

Re:Two words (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494979)

Softmaker Office user on Windows, Linux, Windows Mobile (back in the day), Android.

pfff.. (1)

SuperDre (982372) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494831)

It's better than having nothing.. It's the first release and with everything (these days, especially on mobile) it does have it's flaws, but most of those are simple fixes..and who can blame MS for providing better support on their own mobile OS as they know it much better, it's not like Google has such a great support of their (few) apps on other mobile OSses.. Give it a few updates and I think the Office for android will be pretty good..

Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44494875)

Reminds me of what happened to skype on Linux and mobile devices after M$ took over.
Linux fell way behind in version numbers, and both mobile (ios and android) and Linux versions of the client had bad performance and memory leaks everywhere.

Ironic and funny... (1)

cbope (130292) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494907)

I find it funny that if the same thing happened on iOS with a different company, the comments would be more like "a great app that leaves out the things you don't really need" and "well optimized user interface that doesn't get in the way".

Since it's MS, it's "woefully incomplete" if it doesn't include every single feature of desktop Office, even if 99.9% of users don't use them.

And I really don't understand all the WP8 hate here on slashdot. I've been using a Lumia 820 for about half a year now and it's by far the best phone I've had in some time. Sure, it's not perfect, but I generally prefer it to iOS (I also heavily use an iPad). To top it off, there are no "perfect" devices out there, and never will be. Yes, there are still a few (very few actually) big name apps MIA, but nothing that makes me want to switch to something else. People that say a missing official Instagram app are keeping them away are just proving how lame they are. As a serious amateur photographer, I could care less about a phone app that makes my photos look like shitty instant photos from the 70's, yeah nostalgia and all that crap. Hell, most people using Instagram today probably weren't even alive to experience how bad those instant photos (and cameras) really were. Yes, I had an instant Polaroid in the 70's, and yes, I couldn't wait to get a real camera. The only app I miss that makes me pull out my iPad is Flipboard, and that's been announced for WP8. I imagine that once I get Flipboard on WP8, my iPad will see a LOT less use. iOS is much more clunky and slow compared to WP8 and I've never liked the black text on white/gray theme of iOS devices (and Mac too). Give me white text on a dark background any day. /rant over

Apple Copies Great Design (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495007)

I find it funny that if the same thing happened on iOS with a different company, the comments would be more like "a great app that leaves out the things you don't really need" and "well optimized user interface that doesn't get in the way".

Since it's MS, it's "woefully incomplete"....

The bottom line is Metro is not great design. iOS is now unfairly being compared to Vista..when in reality it is simply behind Android, absorbing many much needed Android (and WebOS) like features into iOS. Its difficult to remember with its now "Fuck the American worker" advertisements while spilling design gobbligook that is simply offensive...how awesome iOS was when it was released, and why its so difficult to move on from. Samsung internal 132-page document comparison wrongfully used in the trial shows how far ahead iOS was than Android (and how quickly it has fallen behind) http://www.scribd.com/doc/102317767/Samsung-Relative-Evaluation-Report-on-S1-iPhone [scribd.com] it also highlights some great design in iOS.

The bottom line is *simplifying* and *woefully incomplete* are not the same thing, one provides better access to better access to functions you need in a convenient; rational; intuitive form; The other makes the program unusable. completely different ends of the spectrum.

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | 1 year,25 days | (#44494985)

What do you want with an office package on a phone or tablet anyway? Are there really any people who write lengthy documents on their glossy, greasy tablet touch screens?

Really, this telephone and tablet hype bullshit is just becoming ridiculous.

Re:Who cares? (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495329)

Are there really any people who write lengthy documents on their glossy, greasy tablet touch screens?

Probably not that many. However, there may be more people who edit an existing lengthy document on a portable device.

Isn't this old news? (1)

Phoeniyx (2751919) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495099)

I remember reading about this topic days ago. If it was on slashdot, then it's a duplicate. If it was somewhere else, then this is not really "news".

Our exper. with ASUS' Win 8 tab was bad enough... (1)

ivi (126837) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495215)

After our disappointment with an ASUS Win 8 tab,
I wouldn't waste my time looking into Office 365.

(I also dislike the annual license fee deal attached
to Office 365... Imagine folks who are about to re-
tire, trying to fit an extra $100 -rent- per computer
for a -software- product!)

Forget Office 365, use Softmaker office on Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44495565)

It is hard to find a compelling reason to use MS Office outside of Windows (x86/x64) and Mac: the mobile versions are far from 100% compatible with documents created with MS Office on Windows. In fact, last time I compared some competing products were far more compatible with my documents than Microsoft's own suite!
My favorite is Softmaker, they have had an Android version of their suite : www.softmaker.com/english/ofa_en.htm
They aren't a newcomer either, I used to run Softoffice Textmaker on my Zaurus PDA. Oh, memories... :-)

Good luck Microsoft, you'll need it (1)

water-and-sewer (612923) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495631)

There's a couple of problems here.

The first is that Microsoft still assumes that the world wants to do nothing better with their devices that make Word docs and spreadsheets and PPT presentations, and "consume media" (I hate that expression). Meanwhile, the world has found lots of other fun things to do with their devices, and tablets and smartphones are great at doing a lot of them. And those same devices are not that great for doing a lot of serious number crunching, presentation making, and so on. (It's not impossible, but I think power users of ipads etc. would tell you it's not a better experience).

The second problem is that there are other suites out there that work pretty damn well, even off line. I'm a huge fan of softmaker office [google.com] on both the desktop and on Android. I use it on my Google Nexus 7 to take notes in meetings, then transfer to my desktop for finishing up and distributing, etc. It works perfectly well with no wifi connection available, and is a pretty damned powerful bit of software that's getting good reviews [pcmag.com] .

The third problem, as mentioned above, is the fact that publishing a sub-standard product for the competing product might work when you've got the market lead and people are already interested in your platform. But when you're playing catch up, it's a loser's strategy. Who wants to buy a crappy version of Office365 only to find out it works better on a platform few others use, with hardware you don't like and don't want to buy, etc.?

This losing strategy is sponsored by Steve "Anchor" Ballmer, sinking Microsoft since the day he took the helm. Watch out for those rocks ahead, captain!

Get King Office ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,25 days | (#44495727)

If you have an Android device, get King Office.

It'll natively write Doc, PPT, XLS and TXT files. It seems to be a nice interface for a touch screen and isn't ad-ridden, and has integrations to store stuff in the cloud.

Sorry Microsoft, but someone has beaten you to the punch and delivered something which works for me.

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