Google's Quickoffice comes to Android, iPhone

Sharpening one side of its dual-pronged strategy for competing against Microsoft Office, Google brings its Office file-editing software to the top mobile devices.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
2 min read
QuickOffice, now available for Android and iPhone, lets people view and edit files stored in Microsoft Office file formats. It integrates with the Google Drive service.
QuickOffice, now available for Android and iPhone, lets people view and edit files stored in Microsoft Office file formats. It integrates with the Google Drive service. Google

Some competitors would figure if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. But when it comes to Google's strategy for competing with Microsoft's productivity suite, the company is trying to do both in a way.

Last night, Google released Android and iPhone versions of its Quickoffice software for handling Office files. The software, which lets people view and edit Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files, runs natively on various devices the way Office does, not in the cloud the way Google Apps does.

The software, available to customers of the company's Google Apps for Business service, is on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Google already had offered a version of Quickoffice for iPads. And it's got one for Chrome OS, but it's only good for viewing files right now; editing is planned for release in coming weeks.

Though the company is investing development resources into Quickoffice, Google apparently sees the software as something of a crutch for the time being. The long-term priority looks to be the Web-based Google Apps services of Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

"One of the easiest ways to share old files and collaborate with others is to convert them to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. However, not everyone you work with has gone Google yet," Quickoffice product manager Mark Beaton said in a blog post introducing the new mobile versions.

The company is gradually linking Quickoffice and Google Apps together using Google Drive, the file storage and synchronization service that also serves as the file-management interface for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Beaton said:

Sign in with your Google Apps for Business account and your Drive folders view will now include Shared With Me, Starred, Recent and any subfolders.

And in case you didn't know, iPad and iPhone users can open and edit Office files directly from the Drive app. Just open Drive and select the file, make edits using Quickoffice and save it back to Drive.

The dual-pronged strategy can be confusing and complicated. And I've suffered from shortcomings in Google's Office compatibility. But given the investment it's making in the area, it would be foolish to consider this the final move in Google's office-suite strategy.

(Via The Next Web)