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Microsoft Office Finally Gets iOS App 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-exactly-peanut-butter-and-jelly dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After years of rumors and months of bickering with Apple over revenue splits, Microsoft has finally released an official iOS app for Office 365 subscribers, allowing people to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint on their iPhones and iPads. According to a hands-on report with the software, the Office app has basic functionality, but is missing some key productivity features. 'These include: font options, text alignment, bulleted lists and, again, more color choices, all of which you can find in, say, the Google Drive app.' They say it's a fairly useful addition for current subscribers, but certainly not enough to make it worth the Office 365 subscription fee on its own. 'We can't tell if Microsoft deliberately handicapped Office Mobile for iPhone, or if it's simply saving some features for a later update. (A company rep declined to comment on what we can expect from future versions.) We're willing to believe Microsoft still has some unfinished items on its to-do list, but even so, it's a shame that iPhone users waited this long for an Office app, only to get something with such a minimal feature set. All told, Office Mobile represents a good enough start for Microsoft, and in some ways it's better than Google Drive, particularly where spreadsheets are concerned. Still, it's miles behind other office apps for iOS, including Apple iWork.'"
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Microsoft Office Finally Gets iOS App

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  • Microsoft has finally released an official iOS app for Office 365 subscribers, allowing people to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint on their iPhones and iPads.

    There's no iPad app so that MS doesn't have to Apple 30% for every purchase for full featured Office.
    Also so that they can run ads like these:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86JMcy5OqZA#ysav [youtube.com]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UGxKX6IU1U [youtube.com]

    • Re:No iPad app (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:27AM (#44006201)

      They could easily release an iPad app without paying Apple the 30% - they just make the app require an Office 365 account. Done. Sign up for the account online, go back to the app, done.

      They only have to pay Apple the 30% _IF_ users can sign up for the account _IN_ the app. If they do so via a web browser, on their own, it allows the developer to avoid the 30% cut to Apple.

      Please do try to understand how the process works before offering your opinion on it.

      • by hsmith (818216)
        From my understanding signing up within the App isn't an issue as well. The question is, can the user use the App at all without paying?

        I have a mobile App that has our own private "cloud" storage. The user can use the App to their hearts desire. But, if they want our "cloud" they must subscribe via our Web portal.

        But, if they don't care about that - they can use the App indefinitely. I don't think there is a steadfast rule to it, all Apple seems to care about is if the App can be used (functional). W
        • The question is, can the user use the App at all without paying?

          That's up to the App developer isn't it? Here are the ways Apple will take their cut: 1) 30% of price of app and 2) 30% of subscriptions generated within app. If MS charges nothing for the app and if all subscriptions are created externally (through microsoft.com), Apple can't charge.

          • by samkass (174571)

            The question is, can the user use the App at all without paying?

            That's up to the App developer isn't it? Here are the ways Apple will take their cut: 1) 30% of price of app and 2) 30% of subscriptions generated within app. If MS charges nothing for the app and if all subscriptions are created externally (through microsoft.com), Apple can't charge.

            But they can reject the app. If you're listing a "free" app that doesn't do anything (without a separate paid subscription) you will be rejected for having a useless app.

      • So basically, the market penetration on this will be zero, because Office 365

    • Re:No iPad app (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:52AM (#44006423) Homepage
      I don't get this. When I buy a copy of MS Office at Best Buy, they get a little cut, and so does the supplier that Best Buy purchases from. I'm not sure what the usual split is between Microsoft, the supplier and the retailer, but I'm sure it's not that far off from 30%. I don't see why it should work any different if I set up a software store that only sells licenses and not disks.
      • by hsmith (818216)
        People like to complain. The whole sale price of Office to Best Buy or the like is more than a 30% discount from what Best Buy sells it at.
      • But there are a lot of retailers and etailers and there's competition around their margin.. You can buy Office at Staples, Office Depot, Walmart, Fry's, Microcenter or buy it online from a whole ton of places. With Apple, every consumer is chained only to the app store.

        • With Apple, every consumer is chained only to the app store.

          iOS users overwhelmingly like having a one-stop-shop with all the apps in. That's one of the things they chose that platform for.

          It wasn't sprung on them as a change from previous practice. Indeed before the Apple Store, the mobile app market was tiny. Apple's one-stop-shop popularised phone apps.

          • With Apple, every consumer is chained only to the app store.

            iOS users overwhelmingly like having a one-stop-shop with all the apps in. That's one of the things they chose that platform for.

            It wasn't sprung on them as a change from previous practice. Indeed before the Apple Store, the mobile app market was tiny. Apple's one-stop-shop popularised phone apps.

            And you're pulling this data from where exactly? Your intuition?

            Is that why so millions of people fall over themselves to jailbreak the phones?

            http://finance.yahoo.com/news/latest-jailbreak-statistics-jaw-dropping-154024296.html [yahoo.com]
            http://www.geek.com/apple/stats-reveal-evasi0n-ios-6-1-jailbreak-1538656/ [geek.com]

            Looks like you're falling victim to ex post facto reasoning and attributing Stockholm syndrome to iOS users.

            • Well my information about the market before the iPhone comes from the fact I've been a mobile developer since the 1990s. The iOS information comes from the fact that people know there's a one-stop-shop before they buy, and being in the iOS community I have a reasonable grasp on the feelings about that. Are you an iOS user?

              There's no post-facto about it. I've been a part of every moment of the smartphone industry. And the Stockholm syndrome meme is just moronic abuse of popular science; a slashdot meme. St

          • With Apple, every consumer is chained only to the app store.

            iOS users overwhelmingly like having a one-stop-shop with all the apps in. That's one of the things they chose that platform for.

            It wasn't sprung on them as a change from previous practice. Indeed before the Apple Store, the mobile app market was tiny. Apple's one-stop-shop popularised phone apps.

            That's like saying that because lot of people are buying cactii, they must like getting poked in the ass with cactus thorns.

            • Then the original point is like saying people who are buying cactuses are disadvantaged because their plants don't need watering every day.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        I don't get this. When I buy a copy of MS Office at Best Buy, they get a little cut, and so does the supplier that Best Buy purchases from. I'm not sure what the usual split is between Microsoft, the supplier and the retailer, but I'm sure it's not that far off from 30%. I don't see why it should work any different if I set up a software store that only sells licenses and not disks.

        because it's 30% that goes to a player that is only relevant in the transaction because they made it so that you couldn't install sw without them?

        that's what ms was/is aiming for with metro as well. in low value sw it doesn't matter as much, but buy a photoshop and then have the thought that "hmm, I just paid the price of the machine I'm using this sw on to the machine manufacturer just to run some sw from a 3rd party on this" and you might be a little peeved about it.

        really the point is that the only one a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ....allowing people to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint on their iPhones and iPads.

    Now, that's really going to hurt PC sales.

    Yeah, there will be some desktops for the cubicle drones who need to crunch the quarterly numbers, type the letters and briefs, etc .... but for the folks who are running the place and the rainmakers, this is great.

    Oh! And we're going to see laptops get hit too now.

    I have a bunch of entrepreneurs, doctors, and executive types in my family. There was one Macbook Air and the rest were iPads. An iPad does 99% of that they need.

    Desktops and laptops for the worker bees

    • by somersault (912633) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:17AM (#44006103) Homepage Journal

      In case you haven'y noticed, worker bees vastly outnumber "bosses". I rarely take my laptop home these days, but my tablet is also redundant for me personally at work.

      Having said that, I bought a couple of tablets for some of our "worker bees" out in the workshop. They use them for an app I wrote that lets them receive new machining tasks, and give live updates on production status from out on the floor. So tablets aren't just useful for PHBs and layabouts.

    • ...and the bosses switch back to their PC at lunch while the iPad recharges.

      Since it would need to have most of the battery draining options on (like wifi).

    • Nobody wants to manipulate long professional Word documents or do heavy Excel work with an iPad.

      • No, but they would like to reference those documents without carrying around a massive laptop with a shit battery. That's why this is a complimentary product to the Office that these users already bought.

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:00AM (#44005973)

    > missing some key productivity features. 'These include: font options, text alignment, bulleted lists

    Is it a joke?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, sounds like they ported Notepad to iOS :-)

    • From the description, it sounds like it's basically a viewer for MSOffice documents with the ability to correct text and highlight things.

  • PRISM Sept 2007 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft signed up to PRISM in 2007 which gives the military access to stored data. Office 365 is their ONLINE product where your data is kept online on their servers under US jurisdiction. That gives the US military access to your commercial private data.

    Go read up on the commercial spying scandals involving Echelon, and you'll see why you cannot permit your companies documents, or even your own private documents into US cloud services.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-d

  • There's an Irrelephant in the room.

  • You can barely type on most tablets. Why make a typing program (Word)? Then you can't use it unless you're a 365 subscriber, which only people who can't do math are. Then you can't even do basic formatting that an RTF editor would let you do. Wow. Maybe this is MS secretly trying to convince people tablets are actually NOT computer replacements and Windows 9 won't be touch-friendly or ridiculously laid out. Well, I can dream at least.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      You can barely type on most tablets.

      You can connect a bluetooth keyboard to most tablets. I ignored the remainder of your comment because it was therefore irrelevant.

      • you should have read the rest - not all of it had to do with the keyboard, and it had some thoughtful points you may have found relevant.

        Book, cover, judging, etc.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          you should have read the rest - not all of it had to do with the keyboard, and it had some thoughtful points you may have found relevant.

          What are the odds that someone who is so anti-tablet that they blocked out the fact that you can connect a bluetooth keyboard to one will have anything thoughtful or relevant to say about them? Absolutely nil.

      • by The Cat (19816) *

        If you connect a keyboard to it, its a shitty PC. Why not use a real PC?

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          If you connect a keyboard to it, its a shitty PC. Why not use a real PC?

          No, it is a tablet with a keyboard. There are lots of reasons why not to use a "real" PC (as if a tablet weren't a personal computer... they are turing-complete, HTH, HAND) notably including power consumption and footprint. If the user rarely uses a keyboard, it is reasonable to omit it.

  • I don't get it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:14AM (#44006071) Homepage Journal

    People are going to compose documents, spreadsheets, etc. on a tablet??

    Maybe I need more coffee, can someone explain why anyone would want this?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      People are going to compose documents, spreadsheets, etc. on a tablet??

      No, not really.

      Maybe I need more coffee, can someone explain why anyone would want this?

      People want to be able to *edit* them on a tablet (last minute crap, corrections, etc). I'm hoping it's only minor edits. Of course, with the lack of proper font, alignment, bullet point and color support it may do more damage to an existing document than help it ;-)

      Tablets are generally a consumption device. Some users can use them to create content, especially when used with a keyboard, but they are by far the exceptio

      • by jittles (1613415)

        People are going to compose documents, spreadsheets, etc. on a tablet??

        No, not really.

        Maybe I need more coffee, can someone explain why anyone would want this?

        People want to be able to *edit* them on a tablet (last minute crap, corrections, etc). I'm hoping it's only minor edits. Of course, with the lack of proper font, alignment, bullet point and color support it may do more damage to an existing document than help it ;-)

        Tablets are generally a consumption device. Some users can use them to create content, especially when used with a keyboard, but they are by far the exceptions.

        I think my tablet + keyboard is great for generating content while traveling. The tablet goes on the tray table, the keyboard on my lap and all of the sudden I have room. I'm kind of a tall person, so its very hard for me to use a laptop on an airplane. I've reviewed, created, and edited documents while traveling. I've also used it to even write out some code. It just depends on what I need to do and how long I'll be traveling for.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Because I don't want to carry a laptop to have a shopping list that syncs between multiple people.

      I use google docs for that sort of thing all the time, when I am out and about. Instructions for tasks are another kind I frequently do.

    • Re:I don't get it... (Score:5, Informative)

      by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:54AM (#44006437)

      People are going to compose documents, spreadsheets, etc. on a tablet??

      Maybe I need more coffee, can someone explain why anyone would want this?

      Compose, no. Edit and update, yes.

      Done right, it's actually a crazy powerful workflow.

      Here's a trivial example... I do agility training with my dogs. I keep a spreadsheet of skills for each that I need to work on and add a check mark whenever I touch on that skill. I built it on my desktop using Google Drive, and keep a synced, offline version on my phone. Which means I can reference it and add that check mark when I'm actually training, or add a new skill to the list when I'm at class.

      Now, is a spreadsheet the right tool for this sort of thing? Maybe a dedicated Android app would be better, but Google Drive is available on every device I care to use.

      Obviously I'm assuming that this workflow is viable with whatever toolset Microsoft is offering. I have doubts that they could screw up something so simple, but lately I'm been amazed by their ability to do things exactly the least useful way.

      • by Solandri (704621)
        This. I've been telling people this even before the iPad came out - tablets are going to replace the clipboard. Think of every task you or a business does which involves writing something down on paper while walking around, then entering it into a computer later when you're sitting at your desk. A tablet will let you just enter it straight into the computer while walking around. No more double data entry (once on paper, once in the computer). That's why tablets are not going to be some passing fad. On
        • by c (8461)

          This. I've been telling people this even before the iPad came out - tablets are going to replace the clipboard.

          Durable, waterproof tablets will. Clipboards and paper are still a shedload more failure-tolerant than electronics.

          Still, it's getting close and some of the cases available are pretty tough.

    • People are going to compose documents, spreadsheets, etc. on a tablet??

      Maybe I need more coffee, can someone explain why anyone would want this?

      Sure - it's for editing existing documents that need polishing.

      The use case is you are on your way to visit a client after an all-nighter. You spot a few issues that need editing, and this product has just enough functionality to let you do that. Or you're at lunch and realize a better way to say something. Whip out your phone and edit the doc.

    • by Inda (580031)
      So, on my laptop, I composed a Gsheet that detailed my crosstrainer exercise routines. Time spent, calories burned, my weight in kg, etc. A couple of graphs and some conditional formatting. I was playing with the functionality more than anything else. Gsheet looked promising.

      You're going to hate this, but I'm still using that same sheet today. I fill in the data, not on a tablet, but on my Samsung S2. It's perfect. I get off the crosstrainer, pick up my S2 (which has been sending music to my bluetooth speak
    • People are going to compose documents, spreadsheets, etc. on a tablet??

      Why not? Attach a keyboard if needed. Just because you don't do it now doesn't mean it can't do a perfectly acceptable job given appropriate software.

      Maybe I need more coffee, can someone explain why anyone would want this?

      Because a tablet is underneath basically exactly the same thing as a laptop, just with an interface optimized in a different way. There is no fundamental reason why you can't attach a keyboard to a tablet and do word processing on it. A tablet certainly has sufficient CPU power for that task. As long as the software is designed with the tablet interface i

    • I think it depends. We've been using Keynote on the iPad for over a year now. Keynote works well enough for our purposes and most of our field people are carrying iPads instead of Laptops.

      Usually they aren't the ones creating the presentations. While it's not always ideal to work on, it's can be extremely handy if you need to make last minute tweaks to a presentation. It works extremely well for that.

      Still, given the choice, most of our people would prefer powerpoint over Keynote. We've been experiment

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      People are going to compose documents, spreadsheets, etc. on a tablet??

      Maybe I need more coffee, can someone explain why anyone would want this?

      Not compose, but edit and update. Perhaps you're on your way to give a presentation, and you're reviewing it on your tablet (it's only consumption, no need to dig out the laptop). But you spot an error - a typo maybe. So you can quickly go and fix the error when you spot it, rather than dig out the laptop, fire it up, fix the error (while juggling the laptop).

      Basica

  • So finally iOS users can get the free cloud backup via the NSA that Office365 users enjoy!

  • Come on MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by readingaccount (2909349) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:19AM (#44006121)

    No iPad support, which is arguably the largest use case scenario.
    You have to subscribe to Office 365.
    You can't just buy it in the app store.

    I honestly can't come up with a way they could have fucked this up any more. Once again MS snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • by LordThyGod (1465887) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:32AM (#44006251)

      No iPad support, which is arguably the largest use case scenario. You have to subscribe to Office 365. You can't just buy it in the app store.

      I honestly can't come up with a way they could have fucked this up any more. Once again MS snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

      Its kind of good sport to watch them shoot themselves in the foot over and over again. One of the wonders of the known universe is they still manage to turn a profit. Its a strange world sometimes.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        You can say that without it even crossing your mind that maybe they know something you don't?
        • You can say that without it even crossing your mind that maybe they know something you don't?

          Besides how to create monopolies and not pay a real price for it? They were really good at the whole "embrace, extend, extinguish" thing when they needed to, and they got away with it. Impressively so. But now that they've lost that tool, they seem to spend most their time shitting in their own nest. High quality shit, but shit nonetheless.

          • Besides how to create monopolies...

            You think that's easy?

            Any business's primary goal is to take all the addressable market and would DIE to do that.

            Anyone can start a lemonade stand, but being the only one to sell lemonade in the town, now that's hell of a lot harder.

    • Ah well, there's always Quickoffice.

    • Re:Come on MS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by homsar (2461440) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:31AM (#44006873)
      If they put it on iPad they lose their main "advantage" of Windows tablets over iPads—that they run Office.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        they actually can't get a full office for that kind ui. probably because they can't agree on what would be good.

        hence you have "desktop" on windows rt just for running it.

        hence, no metro excel. hence, metro sucks.

      • Problem is the "tablet" that does it costs as much as an ultrabook.

    • The iPad support is not such a bit deal, as it's a version 1 product. Most companies introduce their apps on iPhone first as it's the bigger market, then add in iPad support later.

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:20AM (#44006127)

    No thanks; I'll carry on using (free) Google docs plus the Apple apps I already purchased, (for les than the monthly cost of Ofice360) for those very rare occassions that I want to edit 'office' docs on my iDevices.

    Follows announcement that search engine for Siri will go from Google to Bing.

    http://tech2.in.com/news/ios/apple-ditches-google-partners-with-bing-for-siri-search/876324 [in.com]

  • checking office docs on a phone seems prohibitive regardless of OS. Microsoft has for roughly a decade tried to "phone" as best it can and shouldnt have any incentive to participate in developing its killer app for iDevices at all. perhaps we're 'embracing' here for the sake of the game? that had we not offered anything at all, Apple would simply have thrown developers at the problem or worse, market share for office365 would have taken a hit. It also prevents C-Level iphone users from getting so angry over the absence as to say "screw it, we use a standard that works with any phone now"

    i get the point from MS: if you need something to get windows work done, specifically Microsoft Office or Sharepoint, it might well be worth your while to look into a microsoft phone instead. Its vastly cheaper than an iPhone and while not as "cool" its still more effective than the ported app for any other platform.
    • by ledow (319597)

      This has been going on for decades. Is this any different to even, say, Windows CE office apps?

      MS has a market which it's tried to (or said it's tried to) break out of several times. Hell, it took since Windows XP Tablet Edition for everyone to say "Yeah, that's usable on a tablet now", by which time so many other competitors came and went in the same area that MS are still the outsider. It doesn't really care about / has no clue how to handle other platforms.

      It likes Office on desktop because it sells O

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well it's just for checking stuff, mainly.

      it's a complimentary offer to the office juggernaut.. not a product that would stand on it's own. it's just something they "have to have".

  • A few weeks ago Microsoft released an ad on TV comparing the iPad and the Surface. One "selling point" was the iPad lacks Office. (I mean, bashing a competitor because you didn't port your software to their platform of all things?)

    Then, Microsoft releases Office for iOS? Such disorganization.
    • Advertising the Surface based on Microsoft's effective monopoly in office software is going to get them slapped down hard by the EU at least. It's a textbook case of illegally using a monopoly.

  • iOS Finally Gets Microsoft Office App

    FTFY.

  • Microsoft releases a half-baked Office for iOS while Apple is going to release a near-complete version of iWork for Web browsers? Even if iWork "Web Edition" doesn't offer everything the OS X version does, I'm pretty sure it will have things like text alignment, fonts, colors and frickin' bullet lists.

  • So, the software is underwhelming. However I can see it being very useful to have a good number of my most important reference docs and presentations, and a few basic spreadsheets always with me. In fact that is why I mainly use Apple's iWork software on the iPad. Very useful. And I can imagine that in the case of the Microsoft written suite, the file compatibility should be excellent (iWork's import of Powerpoint presentations sometimes has a few rough edges)
  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:49AM (#44006395)

    It's pretty obvious what Microsoft are doing here:
    1. release a very limited version of Office for iOS
    2. dumb users will badmouth iOS/iDevices because "it can't even handle a full version of Office"
    3. the Office file formats get to survive a little longer because "it's even compatible with Apple devices"

    Very sneaky, but what do you expect from Microsoft?

    • Except for the fact that MS is releasing the Office app. I mean it's one thing if Apple released an Office app and it sucked (like their old Youtube app did). Apple will happily shift all the burden back to MS. They should know their own app and Office better than anyone.
    • by Solandri (704621)
      Microsoft has been reluctant to release Office for iOS and Android because Office on an ARM platform cuts into their Windows sales. People and businesses will ask themselves, "Why should I pay $100 for Windows when the only thing I use it for is Office and web browsing, and now I can get Office on my non-Windows ARM device?" Microsoft's preference is that you buy a PC so they can double-dip (sale of Windows + Office), so they're trying to slow down the transition to ultra-portable ARM platforms. Either u
      • by jbolden (176878)

        Office drives the server rich applications: Dynamics, Sharepoint, Exchange Lync. That plus office is the big money. And those applications could be on Linux just as easily. Ironically I think office might be more dominant without the OS franchise to protect.

  • I don't understand how this is a big deal.

    I have installed Officesuite Pro on both a tablet and smartphone.

    I can create and edit documents quite easily and no subscription is needed. I paid £9.99 and more than happy with it.

    It's also "Office" compatible (e.g. excel and word)

    Not to mention the other officesuites out there too (e.g. King office is even free)

    It all works really well with a bluetooth keyboard linked to a tablet too.

    I imagine corporate types are asking for Microsoft Office for IOS - beyond

  • So Microsoft is reducing the feature set of its iOS MsOffice products. It is understandable and is quite logical. It has to have some differentiation and some small amount of sand in the gears to justify charging hundreds of dollars for its if "full" version. They want to check off that bullet point "iOS support: done". But at the same time it can not charge full money to the iOS suite, Apple is waiting there, waiting with its butcher knife to cleave its 30% commission. So it is going to give away or charge
  • font options, text alignment, bulleted lists

    You know how they always say "80% of the users only use 20% of the features". Well, those features look like they belong solidly in that 20% that they should have focused on. I'm pretty sure that even 1980s vintage copies of WordPerfect running on DOS supported those features.

  • The mobile app market is an endless greased-up cash grab by stupid people who do not understand the concept of the "wrong tool for the job."

    Doing real "work" on a mobile phone is like assembling a car engine with your teeth. It is completely retarded.

  • Are people who bought an Apple product lamenting that they don't have a Microsoft product available to them?

    I should think that for most people, this would be a big giant "who gives a damn?" kinda thing.

    But, who knows ... maybe half of all iPhone users have been saying "gee, if I only had Office, this experience would be complete". Then again, I guess some people need to read excel documents at 2am on their phone -- but I wouldn't be one of them.

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