CloudOn is one of the more interesting options for working with Office documents on the iPad. The company offers a cloud-based version of the core Microsoft Office apps plus Adobe Reader. Unlike a virtual desktop solution, CloudOn provides just the applications and not a full Windows desktop. When it comes to creating and editing documents, CloudOn’s app relies on popular cloud storage options: Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
As a startup, CloudOn has seen strong growth since it launched its service earlier this year. The company announced a new round of funding this week ($16 million) and used the opportunity to tease users with details of its upcoming plans, most notably support for group editing and collaboration as well as expansion beyond the iPad and Android tablets.
CloudOn’s Office experience already includes full support for Track Changes (as does on-device app Office2), which is easily the biggest collaborative feature used by business professionals. Going further, however, CloudOn plans to add its own collaboration features on top of those inherent in Office itself. The company plans to add features like annotation support for documents as well as group conversations. The goal is to allow users to work on documents simultaneously while providing a system to track progress and discussions relating to individual documents or projects.
According to the company’s CEO Milind Gadekar, a big part of the goal is create a solution that is cross-platform and allows users to fully collaborate whether they’re using CloudOn on an iPad, Android tablet, or even a PC.
In the near future, we will enable group productivity so that multiple people will be working on the same document, can share information, and can track conversations around information. This ends up being a richer workspace experience.
Traditionally, we’ve seen three silos being created – the Microsoft silo, the Apple silo and the Google silo – where they are integrating from app to device to cloud storage, without any interest of inter-operating with other silos. We think, ‘let the end user pick.’
The company is also looking to expand beyond its iPad and Android tablet offerings. According to Venturebeat, CloudOn has plans for smartphone and PC versions of its service. In the meantime, however, TechCrunch reports that the vast majority of its users (90%+) are iPad owners rather than Android tablet users.