As Microsoft prepares what many expect to be a version of Office for the Apple iPad, rival CloudOn has swooped in with its own offer.
CloudOn has offered a virtualized version of Office 2010 for the iPhone and iPad, plus Android phones, over the course of the last two years. Last September, the company expanded from an app-based model to the browser. CloudOn charges $3.99 for a list of features it turns on as part of what it calls CloudOn Pro: watermarking, footnotes, and bibliographies, to name a few.
Now, the company says it will waive those fees for six months, as a way to lure new business. The discount will apply to both new and existing customers.
“When we launched the CloudOn app two years ago, my hope was to allow the mobile workforce to work smarter on mobile devices,” said Milind Gadekar, the president and chief executive of CloudOn, in a statement. “Since enriching our sharing and collaboration capabilities, we are seeing new workflows across platforms, devices and storage providers. We are thrilled with the rate of adoption and are delighted to celebrate with our loyal users.”
CloudOn also can share documents across a number of different cloud platforms—with Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Hightail, and OneDrive—rather than just Microsoft’s OneDrive. Changes can be tracked using what CloudOn calls a "contextual filespace," which can track every edit, action, and message in real time.
Still, CloudOn and other rivals have to be wondering what Microsoft has up its sleeve. Although some don't put as much value on keeping up to date with the latest version of Microsoft Office, Microsoft has made a concerted effort to add value to Office through Office Apps, dynamic data sources like PowerBI, plus new pricing models such as its new personal Office 365 subscription. CloudOn's niche has traditionally been to offer what Microsoft doesn't. If Microsoft does release an Office for iPad, some of the company's value will wither away in an instant.