Microsoft Office Apps Come to iPhone, Editing and Creating Now Available for iPad and iPhone

Microsoft announced on its blog today, that Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps are now universal, meaning that they are available for both iPad and iPhone. In addition to Word, Excel and PowerPoint now being available on the iPhone, the updated apps now allow users of both iPhone and iPad to create and edit Microsoft Office documents without a subscription to Office 365. The prior versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad could only be used to view documents without a subscription to Office 365.

As part of this release, the horrible Microsoft Office Mobile app for iPhone will be retired. Additionally, Microsoft has promised a preview of Office for Android tablets in the near future and confirmed that a touch-optimized version of Office is in development for Windows 10.

Although Microsoft announced immediate availability of the updates in the Apple App Store, I could only access them with through a link currently and not through an App Store Search.

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This is a great change for Microsoft. Although a Microsoft Office 365 account is not needed for editing abilities, you do have to login with a Microsoft Account. If you already have a Live.com account, a Hotmail Account, or you have registered with Microsoft in any way, you can use the same login information. If you do not have an account, it is free to setup and use. If you do not login with a Microsoft Account, you are still limited to just viewing documents.

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The Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps on the iPhone are just as full featured as the iPad versions, but due to the smaller screen, toolbar options have been adjusted to a menu instead of across the top. It will not be as quick to edit and create on an iPhone, but it is a nice option for those situations when you do not have access to a computer or tablet. I can confirm that documents that I routinely use with advanced formatting options appeared in the native format on my phone.

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Dropbox integration that was just recently announced has been added in the updated apps. When you first launch the updated app, you are given the option of immediately signing in to Dropbox. If you decline, the option can easily be added later by selecting “Add a Service” under connected services. I was able to easily add my Dropbox account and authenticate through the Dropbox App. Editing and viewing of Dropbox documents worked with no problem.

This is a very welcome addition to the Microsoft Office Applications.

Microsoft Office 365 Adding Support for Dropbox

Microsoft and Dropbox announced a new partnership today that will allow users to more easily access documents, spreadsheets and presentations stored in Dropbox. Under the new partnership, iPad apps for Dropbox and office apps including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, will offer easy ways to access and edit documents using the Office suite of apps. Along with Microsoft’s own OneDrive, users of Word, Excel and PowerPoint will be able to connect the apps to Dropbox and open and save documents directly to this service. When viewing documents in Dropbox, iPad users will be given the option to directly open documents in the Office 365 apps to view and edit.

It appears that a subscription to Office 365 will still be needed to create and edit documents using the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps, but the additional cloud storage option will be welcomed by many users. Considering Microsoft’s recent announcement of unlimited cloud storage for subscribers of Office 365, I’m not sure Dropbox is still necessary, but if you are using that service, this change should make life easier for you. The updated apps are expected soon. See the Verge for more information. IMG_5676.JPG

Dropbox Increases Storage Available in Pro Plan to 1 TB

Dropbox announced today that Dropbox Pro will now inlcude 1 TB of storage and enhanced sharing controls. This makes Dropbox much more competitive with Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. Existing users will see the increased storage and new sharing controls in the next few days. Dropbox Pro will continue to cost $9.99 per month. See my post on Mobile4Law.com for more information.Dropbox

Amazon Enters Enterprise Cloud Storage Battle with Zocalo

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On July 10th, Amazon introduced a new enterprise cloud storage device called Amazon Zocalo.  The service is currently in limited invitation, and requires an Amazon Web Services account to request an invite, but should quickly roll out to a wide release.  Each user will get 200gb of storage for $5.00 per month.  Clients will be available for iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, and desktop computers. Data will be transmitted and stored using client-side encryption. 
The storage wars are definitely heating up.  In addition to being able to store any file type using this service, users will be able to view and annotate Microsoft Office documents and PDFs. Zocalo can be integrated with Active directory so that users can use the same account on their local server and Amazon and full file auditing is available.  The account administrator can limit sharing and editing between users. 

It will be interesting to see how this compares to Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft One Drive for legal users.  My main concern for attorneys is that the encryption key is held by Amazon, but it is nice that for compliance purposes that you can decide what region your cloud files are stored in. As this becomes more widely available, I hope to review it for use on the iPad and iPhone.  Visit amazon to request your invite and subscribe