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Office for iPad finally debuts

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As expected, on March 27, Microsoft released Office for iPad into the App Store. Microsoft released an iOS version of Office last June, but it was iPhone only.

The experience is similar to the iPhone version, although Microsoft has seen fit to add features that exercise the iPad's extra real estate, such as Sparklines. You don't need to pay anything as long as you are only using the suite in read-only mode, but to create a new document or edit documents you'll need an Office 365 subscription. You can also sign up for a 30-day trial at Office.com, if you're not sure you need the editing functionality.

The Office for iPad apps -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint -- are available -- free -- from the App Store.

Microsoft is late to the game with an iPad version of its Office Suite, and the question is, how many iPad users, many of whom have switched to other suites such as Google Docs or Quip. Not everyone thinks Office is required any longer. In a lengthy Twitter exchange with other Silicon Valley venture capitalists, Khosla Ventures' Keith Rabois recently wrote "Google Documents and Quip are superior for documents, Keynote is superior and Excel is over-rated."

As another negative bullet point, Office for iPad is also one of the only mobile office suites to work with Microsoft's OneDrive service. That is a distinct minus for anyone using Google Drive or any of the other cloud storage services.

Still, Microsoft product would be expected to provide better compatibility with desktop versions of Office than any third party can provide, and that could be what Microsoft is banking on.

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