In all the excitement over OnLive Desktop for the iPad and, more recently, Microsoft threats about this solution not being legally licensed, I was reminded today of another solution for running Microsoft Office on the iPad. It's called CloudOn, and while it's a bit more difficult to configure than OnLive Desktop, it's worth a look if you're looking for something free that won't potentially disappear during a legal battle.
CloudOn is an iPad app that provides access to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2010. Like OnLive Desktop, CloudOn uses virtual instances of these applications hosted in the cloud, so it requires the iPad to be Internet connected to work. Unlike OnLive, however, you don't get a Windows desktop and other Windows applications. It's just Office.
The lack of a Windows desktop means, however, that you need some place to store whatever documents you create, edit, and access. So CloudOn integrates with DropBox for that purpose. If you have a DropBox account, CloudOn will be pretty straightforward. But if not, you'll need to create one first.
Regardless, this is a decent solution that offers almost all of the Office 2010-based functionality you get with OnLive Desktop (with just some minor non-functioning bits, like PDF presentations).
Thanks very much to Gary Cook for the tip about this. I had actually installed this on my iPad previous but I think it got lost in the shuffle with all the OnLive Desktop stuff that's been going on since.