Office for iPad downloads reach 12 million

Surprise, surprise — Microsoft's Office apps are a hit on the iPad.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft says it has clocked up 12 million downloads of Office for iPad apps.

Microsoft announced the figure nine days after launching the much-anticipated suite of apps for the Apple tablet. The 12 million downloads are across Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote apps — the latter has already available on the App Store for more than a year now.

Four days after launching the three new apps for the iPad, Microsoft announced they had shot to the top of Apple's free iPad apps chart — which is where they remain in the US, with Word at the top, followed by Excel, and PowerPoint.

While the apps are free to install, to get all the apps' features and functionality — such as document editing — users need to have an Office 365 subscription at $99 and up, which permits the suite to be used across up to five devices.

Of course, the US isn't the only key market for Microsoft and the apps' rankings are the same in the UK, Germany, Spain, and Sweden. But not in France, where Word is in top spot while Excel and PowerPoint trail in fourth and fifth behind an entertainment app and a gaming app.

Meanwhile in the Netherlands, all three apps have been topped by photo app Phoster. In Australia, too, PowerPoint and Excel were pipped for second spot by a game while Word is in pole position. And in China, Word is in fifth place and Excel is in sixth. 

There was pent-up demand from iPad users for the Office apps, which have previously only been available on Windows and Windows Phone devices.

Not surprisingly, just as Google has locked QuickOffice into Google Drive for cloud storage, the only integrated cloud service for Office, Word and PowerPoint on the iPad is Microsoft's OneDrive. Even less surprising is that some users are furious about the lack of Dropbox integration.

Another missing feature that Microsoft didn't migrate from Office on the desktop is that the iPad apps don't have print functionality. Microsoft told PCWorld it will regularly update the apps but stopped short of confirming whether, or when, it would add the feature.

Microsoft's multi-platform approach to deepening the reach of Office into mobile may get another boost in future with its new $0 licensing of Windows Phone and Windows for devices with screens under nine inches. While the OS will be free for OEMs, those OEMs will be expected to promote Office 365 to device owners.

To be clear, Microsoft has not said Office 365 will be free on those Windows devices, only that OEMs will be able to "provide their customers a one-year subscription to Office 365".

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