Microsoft Office for Android is pathetically bad, too

Office Mobile for Windows Phone is bad, Office Mobile for iPhone is bad, and Office Mobile for Android makes it a trifecta

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Mobile Office for iPhone often can't edit existing Microsoft Office documents
Mobile Office for Android often can't edit existing Microsoft Office documents.

But where Office Mobile really falls short is in working with Office documents. It can open pretty much any Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file, but it often can't edit them. Even simple documents like my office's single-worksheet Excel expense report often cause a Can't Edit alert box to appear when you try to make changes in them. Quickoffice and Drive almost always can edit an Office file, by contrast.

In other words, you can't rely on Microsoft Office to be able to work with Office files -- there's not even an option to save a stripped-down version of files that have some (never explained) compatibility issue. That's what makes Office Mobile pathetically bad.

I have to be fair to Microsoft: Its version of Mobile Office for Window Phone has all the same issues and limitations, as did the years-old version of the long-dead Windows Mobile platform. Microsoft is not treating Android (or iOS) users worse than users of its own Windows Phone, as Microsoft does to Mac users of Office. But the fact that the Windows Phone version is just as useless underscores how lousy Mobile Office is -- it's clearly not meant to be a serious office productivity tool, but instead a "yes, we support Office documents" check-off for naive buyers.

Luckily, you don't need Microsoft Office to work with Office documents in a serious way on your Android smartphone. Get Quickoffice or OfficeSuite Pro, and you'll have the Office you need.

This article, "Microsoft Office for Android is pathetically bad, too," was originally published at Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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