New cloud service offers Microsoft Office 2010 on the iPad

New cloud service offers Microsoft Office 2010 on the iPad

Summary: Don't hold your breath waiting for Microsoft's Office apps to arrive for iOS. Virtualization is your best bet and a new service offers full Word, Excel and PowerPoint on your iPad without installing an app.

New cloud service delivers full Office 2010 on the iPad - Jason O'Grady

Are you looking for a way to get the real version of Microsoft Office on your iPad? Yeah, me too.

There are plenty of Office clones on the App Store and Apple's iWork suite (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) is a servicable option for natively authored documents. But what about that killer Excel spreadsheet from the office, or the edited manuscript from your publisher? Most complex Office documents will lose functionality and features in clone apps running on iOS and they'll get completely munged in a roundtrip through Apple's iWork.

OnLive Desktop showed lots of promise initially, but when its virtualized Windows 7 and Office apps ran afoul of Microsoft's licensing requirements it was forced to revert to Windows Server 2008 R2, which made it a sub-standard tablet experience.

Luckily there's another alternative to access, edit and share native Microsoft Office 2010 documents on the iPad (and any platform for that matter). It's called InstallFree Nexus and it's coming out of beta this week. 

While the name is unfortunate (given the similarly named line of products from a tiny search engine) the product itself is very capable and quite mature. Unlike other products which require that you download an app, InstallFree Nexus isn't an app, it's completely cloud-based which means that it can be accessed through any web browser -- most notably via Mobile Safari on an iPad.

Here are a list of the gestures available in Nexus on the iPad:

InstallFree Nexus iPad Gestures - Jason O'Grady

Nexus uses virtualization to serve the same version of Office to everyone who is using the service, regardless of platform or device. File storage is handled by integrations with DropBox, Google Drive, Box, SkyDrive and Office 365. Files can be shared and collaborated on in real time and moved from one service to another.

When it launches at the end of August Nexus will be available in two flavors:

InstallFree Nexus Basic

  • The full LibreOffice (formerly OpenOffice) application suite for creating and editing documents from any device or browser
  • Full-fidelity viewing of Microsoft Office files
  • Seamless integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, SkyDrive, SharePoint, Office 365 and other storage services
  • Free

InstallFree Nexus Premium

  • All the capabilities available in Nexus Basic
  • Microsoft Office 2010 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher) subscription license
  • $4.99 per month / $49.99 per year for academic licenses
  • $19.99 per month / $199.99 per year for standard licenses

Nexus currently has more the 30,000 beta testers that have been using the service for five months. The product is coming out of beta this week but if you sign up now you'll receive free 60-day access to the premium version. You can get started quickly by logging in with your existing Dropbox, Google, Box or SkyDrive account.

As a lifelong Mac user I can't afford to wait for Microsoft to release an iOS version of Office. Nexus is a promising solution that delivers the full power of Microsoft Office on the iPad today.

Topics: Apple, iOS, iPad, Microsoft, Virtualization

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • hmmm

    "tiny search engine".... The only nexus I know of is from a LARGE search engine company that wants to make ad money from everything on earth, Google.
  • You don't really use Office

    If you did, you wouldn't want it on an ipad. I can just imagine the ease of formatting a word document before moving onto some analysis in excel with a few formulas and vlookups. Office on the ipad - don't make me laugh. That really is shoehorning an ipad into an application it shouldn't be used for.
    Little Old Man
    • Stick on a keyboard and trackpad

      And it would become a lot more usable.
    • TROLL

      I don't suppose you have any facts to back up this nonsense?
  • Affordability

    Your tortuous solution illustrates what might be called the 'application apartheid' being increasingly thrust on us by companies like MSFT and APPL. Guess its our fault for not opposing these companies in the first instance ... for it seems the silos of MSFT, AAPL, AMZN and GOOG are almost with us as the cloud era approaches. [You are more to blame for being a media APPL fanboy.]

    The cloud itself is another of their restrictive constructions designed to bind you to their revenue streams.

    Think about your 'affordability' (a strangely ironic word given your design solution to the problem):
    - we may presume Office is a major suite in your portfolio, but even then what fraction of your life does it constitute? Surely no more than 2%.

    - but what money are you prepared to assign to it? 200 dollars a year for life.

    - you have already paid for your computers, your broadband bill and your applications


    Ed Bott has estimated the cost of the new Office 2013 offering at 5-10 dollars a month.
    (Maybe the new Surface will be 200 dollars, maybe 400 dollars. You could afford to own them!)

    The second anomaly in your recommendation is pointed out by your own Tim Cook - who tells all loyal APPL supporters that the iPad and AIR are for different use cases. The AIR is clearly the right machine for Office. Moreover one could switch to the Windows environment and run the 2013 suite (in 2013 of course).

    My objections then:

    1. You are using the wrong operating system (indeed environment) for Office, when you could use the right one.

    2. Like other ZDNET cloud proponents you are following the major corporations like sheep ... you adopt their offerings without thinking what you are doing. Without thinking about the architecture of their solutions, the affordability of their solutions, the inescapable binding of their products ... and that's why we have to suffer the 'application apartheid'.

    The affordability calculation is easy: if it would cost 2000 dollars over 3 years for a PC, software and power for something you use 1/50th of the time ... then the price for the same as a cloud service is 2000/(3*12*50) per month. (The vendors profit is all the wonderful efficiency and scale savings they keep bleating on about.)
  • You can't wait for November, when Office for iOS is coming out?

    P.S. requiring subjects is stupid.