Find out more about our consulting services. McLean. Boston. New York.
I try to stay as plugged into smartphone and tablet news as I can, and that includes press releases about new hardware accessories and software/apps specifically for these devices. I’ve also worked in what are essentially “Windows shops” since I began my career in IT. These two factors merge in my longtime desire to see Microsoft-created, native apps for Microsoft Office. I recently saw this article in InformationWeek, which renewed my hopes for native Office apps.
To date, I’ve attempted to satisfy this unfulfilled longing through the use of third party, “office-compatible” tools like Documents to Go, Apple’s iWork apps, or the come-and-go offerings from Google via the web browser.
On the iPad I’ve tried Documents to Go, QuickOffice Pro, Documents and others to try to access and edit Office documents. The issues are numerous, though. None of them do a good job at retaining text formatting and layout, and the list of features that can be applied in your documents is anemic at best. Since iOS7 rolled out, many 3rd party productivity app makers have been struggling to fix issues with their apps, many of which now feature unexpected errors and spontaneous crashes.
Apple’s iWork tools are obviously “shaken and baked” for iOS7 and use on the iPad in particular, but for someone with a decade of past work to open, moving to a new tool is a very unsavory option. Though similar, the differences in features and interactions between Word and Pages, between Powerpoint and Keynote, between Excel and Numbers are significant enough to present just the right amount of needed ramp just when “time is of the essence.”
I have used Google Docs in the past, and still do to a certain extent, but after getting burned by a few product retirements I’m not much less likely to take advantage of Google’s “spray and pray” product strategy. Who wants to build a repertoire of material in a tool only to see it put out to pasture, like Google did with Latitude, Buzz, Talk and many others?