CloudOn updates its mobile productivity app, expands to iPhone with Microsoft Office capabilities

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By Scott Reyburn

CloudOn announced today that it has updated its mobile productivity app to version 3.0 and launched its iPhone app, the first app to bring Microsoft Office integration to the Apple handset.

For years, productivity in the workplace has been tied to Microsoft Office and PCs. Many people around the world know how to use Microsoft Office products, but now they are more mobile than ever, using different types of devices that aren’t a PC like smartphones and tablets. CEO and co-founder of CloudOn Milind GadekarĀ told Inside Mobile Apps that was the thinking behind the creation of the company.

“We kind of looked at it and said let’s leverage the legacy and behavior of the billion of workers who already use Office and created billions or trillions of documents all in that format,” he says. “These documents are now being saved in Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, SkyDrive and hundreds of different cloud storage providers. Let’s take Office and make it accessible and usable across all devices.”CloudOn iPhone screenshot

The mobile productivity app, which first launched in January 2012. on iPad, allows users to create, review and edit Microsoft Office and Adobe documents and the ability to share documents via cloud storage providers including Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and now Microsoft SkyDrive as part of the version 3.0 update.

The startup also announced that version 3.0 optimizes the app for Android tablets running the Honeycomb version of Android’s OS, Ice Cream Sandwich (version 3.1 and higher) and Jelly Bean (version 4.1 and higher).

CloudOn is an official partner of both Microsoft and Adobe, which allows the company to use Microsoft Office and Adobe services in CloudOn’s app.

CloudOn has a feature dubbed FileSpace, which captures the events — edits, annotations and more — of a user. Eventually, the company wants to to expand this functionality into a group productivity feature where multiple people can share and collaborate on files.

“We have to create this building block because this is one of the building blocks we need to start capturing events so that once I invite you into my world space, you have full visibility into the full event thread,” Gadekar says. “That’s where it comes to life — in a group productivity environment.”CloudOn FileSpace screenshot

Gadekar says competitors to CloudOn include the traditional productivity giants including Microsoft Office (and Office 365), Google Docs and Apple iWork. Gadekar adds that what differentiates CloudOn from the competitors is its horizontal thinking versus the vertical thinking of the competition. Meaning, each competitor has a vertical productivity solution that doesn’t deviate outside of their solution, while the CloudOn app works on different types of devices and provides multiple cloud storage provider options.

CloudOn, which has grown to more than two million users in 10 months, raised $16 million in Series B funding back in May 2012 led by The Social+Capital Partnership and earlier investors including Foundation Capital and Rembrandt Venture Partners, with total funding raised at $26 million, according to Gadekar.

Looking into the next year, CloudOn plans to figure out how to monetize CloudOn in the first half of 2013, and in the second half, the company plans to start catering its app to enterprise services.

Right now, the CloudOn app is available for free, and doesn’t monetize at all, for iOS, Android and Kindle.