Friday, May 11, 2012

Microsoft Office & Sharepoint for the iPad

Microsoft may be missing the boat by not developing iPad versions of their enterprise applications.   While there have been rumors of Office for the iPad, this has yet to materialize.   This is where CloudOn stepped in and began offering a "desktop in the cloud" that provides access to full versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint via a free app for both the iPad and Android tablets.  CloudOn's  "office" product integrates with Dropbox, Box & Google's Drive to allow you to create and edit documents and have them sync down to your laptop or desktop.

There are other apps that will allow you to create and edit Microsoft Office documents directly on your tablet that also offer integration with cloud storage services, but none of them offer the full native desktop application experience that CloudOn's service provides.  CloudOn also has paid subscriptions to their service to provide more features and functionality.

Things brings us to SharePoint.  Viewing SharePoint sites via Safari  works, but if you need to interact with them in any way, problems begin to become quite evident.   Two companies are working to resolve this issue by bringing iPad apps to the market:  SharePlus: SharePoint Mobile Client by SouthLabs  and SharePoint Mobile Client by   Each apps costs $19.99 and will work on both the iPad and the iPhone making the market for these much larger than if they just supported Apple's iconic tablet.  And while that's considered a relatively hefty price for a mobile app, this would be considered average for an enterprise level app.  The makers of such apps understand that individuals and companies may be reluctant to spend more than a few dollars per app and tend to offer free or low cost "lite" versions of their apps that provide basic functionality.  SharePlus Lite: SharePoint Mobile Client  and Lite: SharePoint Mobile Client are both free and I highly recommend all of you out there that need SharePoint access on the go, to download both free apps and see which one works best for you.  If you are an Office 365 user, the SharePlus apps will more than likely be the best choice. 

So you see, the demand is there for native access to Microsoft's Office & SharePoint on the iPad and companies are stepping up to meet this demand.   Is Microsoft ignoring the needs of its users?  I do not know, but as was seen in the handling of the rumored Microsoft Office on iPad reports earlier this year, Microsoft does seem to be missing the fact that users want access now and could be very reluctant to spend more money on an "official" app if they already have a solution that works.

No comments: