The iPhone app comes with Word, Excel and PowerPoint and will sync with Microsoft's SkyDrive online storage service. Microsoft said people will be able to pick up a Word document exactly where they left off on another computer tied to the same account, while comments they add to a Word or Excel file will appear when they open it up on another machine.
Although documents will be reformatted to fit the phone's screen, the company said the iPhone app will preserve charts, animation, comments and other key properties. That's not always the case with programs offered by Google and other companies to work with Office files on mobile devices.
It's meant for lightweight editing, not complex calculations or heavy graphical work, Schneider said. Someone about to give a speech can review a PowerPoint presentation and fix a typo, for instance. Someone getting a Word or Excel document as an email attachment can add comments or make changes, then send it back, either as an email attachment or through a sharing feature on SkyDrive.
People with Office 365 subscriptions will be able to run the new app on up to five iPhones, in addition to the five Mac or Windows computers. People in the United States were able to get it from Apple's app store. Availability in other countries will follow in the coming days. Downloading is free, but a subscription is needed for the app to work.