Office for iPhone - not for all subscribers

‘All’ has a different meaning at Redmond. Microsoft plays word games with Office 365 and iPhone

Microsoft could be clear about entitlement to Office Mobile for iPhone. Instead they play word games including re-defining the word ‘All’ to mean something less than the dictionary definition; All: “used to refer to the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or thing”

Microsoft puts out incorrect statements or uses weasel words to divert from the plain truth. Trying to figure out who can use Office Mobile for iPhone should be simple but it’s not.

We asked for a clear statement about eligibility a Microsoft spokesman said in part (our underline and bold)

All Office 365 subscription holders can use Office Mobile for iPhone. All Office 365 products are subscriptions.

Q: Do I need an Office 365 subscription to use Office Mobile for iPhone?

A: Yes, an Office 365 subscription or trial account is required to use the Office Mobile for iPhone app. Office Mobile for Windows Phone does not require an Office 365 subscription.

That’s simply not true as some repeated questions and other statements revealed.

Not all Office 365 subscriptions are entitled to use Office Mobile for iPhone.

This isn’t a nitpicking point – there are many paid Office 365 subscribers who can’t use Office Mobile for iPhone despite Microsoft unique and disingenuous use of the word ‘All’.

It’s not just one statement. This is from the iTunes page for the Office Mobile for iPhone app is similarly misleading by saying twice that ‘An Office 365 subscription is required to use this app’.

Office Mobile for iPhone - qualifications on iTunes web page image from Office for iPhone - not for all subscribers at

Most people would, reasonably, think that meant all Office 365 subscribers qualify but, as we’ve seen, it doesn’t mean that at all. The phrase should be something like “A Qualifying Office 365 subscription …”

Five device limit

As we’ve already reported, Office Mobile apps are limited to five devices per Office 365 Home Premium subscription.

It’s reasonable that there’s a limit on Office Mobile installs and five is, perhaps, a fair limit, so why doesn’t Microsoft simply say so?

Instead Microsoft hides the limit by omission and diversion. For example, some media were told by Microsoft that installing Office Mobile for iPhone did not count against the five PC/Mac installs of Office software – which sounds great and generous by Microsoft. It’s strictly true but not relevant. However it worked because that tricky wording was duly repeated in reports about Office Mobile for iPhone.


Why did Microsoft do this? It’s what the media savvy Microsoft always does – it presents carefully worded statements to the public and press who accept the statement at face value. Usually Microsoft isn’t lying, but knowing use phrases that are liable to misinterpretation.

In this case it goes further. From our dealings with Microsoft staff, official and unofficial, it’s seems that even Redmond employees aren’t clear on about the full range of Office 365 subscriptions or even the difference between Office 365 and Office 2013.

What do you think about Office for iPhone?

If you’re trying out Office Mobile we’d love to hear from you.

Some regulars have already emailed is with great comments and discoveries in Office Mobile for iPhone.

Your feedback, good or bad, let us know  [email protected] will reach our iPhone’s.

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