Office Mobile for the iPhone enters an already-crowded field

If Microsoft is hoping to pick off some Apple users with its new iPhone app, it'll find it's got a lot of competition already

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Olive Office -- With a very user-friendly interface, Olive Office focuses on formatting compatibility and features. It uses a freemium model that provides core features at no cost, with additional features like PDF export and remote display available as in-app purchase options.

Documents Writer Pro -- With an emphasis on user interface in a universal iPhone/iPad app, Documents Writer Pro offers the core Office file formats and comes with several document themes.

Assistant for Office -- While allowing for editing of core Office file formats, Assistant for Office focuses on document formatting and offers version history support.

If you're willing to work with a virtual desktop solution or cloud-hosted solution, you can also consider these apps.

OnLive Desktop -- OnLive Desktop provides a complete virtual Windows desktop that includes Office and Adobe Acrobat as well as 2GB of storage space for free. For $4.99 a month, you can also get accelerated Web browsing (including Flash) access to Web-based email attachments, and access to cloud storage services like Box or Dropbox.

CloudOn -- CloudOn offers access to virtual copies of Word, Excel and PowerPoint without requiring a full Windows desktop. The service doesn't include storage, but does offer a file manager that integrates with cloud storage providers including Box and Dropbox.

Zoho Office -- Zoho is a cloud service that offers a non-Windows virtual desktop and a rather complete set of applications. Zoho Office provides access to the Office-equivalent apps and storage.

Options from (or for) Google

Google Drive -- Provides access to Google storage and offers editing of Office documents in an integrated environment that mirrors Google Docs or Google Apps.

Go Docs and Touch Docs -- Both of these apps provide access to Google Drive/Apps and files using a native app interface.

Enterprise-focused options

A number of mobile management companies offer secure access to and editing of Office documents. Depending on the solution, this can include accessing (and editing) documents stored on an iOS device or in a cloud or via a hosted solution in a secure manner. Companies offering products and services in this area include Accellion and Bitzer Mobile

Other enterprise options from different mobile management vendors go further in terms of secure enterprise productivity. Good, MobileIron, Centrify and Citrix all offer an enterprise SDK that app developers can use to integrate their apps with on-device secure storage container, data leak protection and enterprise IT policy management frameworks offered.

Using this approach yields a collection of mainstream apps that can be fully secured and managed, including Office-type apps and app suites.

This article, Office Mobile for iOS enters an already-crowded field, was originally published at

Ryan Faas is a freelance writer and technology consultant specializing in Mac and multiplatform network issues. He has been a Computerworld columnist since 2003 and is a frequent contributor to Faas is also the author of iPhone for Work (Apress, 2009). You can find out more about him at and follow him on Twitter (@ryanfaas).

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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