Microsoft makes big moves with Office for mobile, ditching 365 requirement, updating apps

Microsoft has long struggled with its strategy for Office on mobile devices. Does it want to make these apps free to use, encouraging lucrative sales of Office software on the desktop? Can it convince users to pony-up for ongoing Office 365 subscription fees, dangling these mobile apps as a carrot on a stick? The Office smartphone apps may have launched with requirements for 365 subscription, but Microsoft eventually backed down from that position, making them full-on free. But even as that change arrived, tablet users still found themselves forced to pay up. Rather than continuing to seed confusion and leave customers without clear expectations, Microsoft’s throwing in the 365 towel, making the full Office suite across mobile devices – phones and tablets alike – free to use.

Microsoft describes the change as one that brings mobile Office in line with the company’s web-based offerings, which are also free to access. At least, that’s the case for individual users, and businesses intent on having their staff use Office on their Androids and iPads will still need to pay.

Beyond this strategic shift, we also see the company deliver new versions of its apps. The iPhone release gets a substantial overhaul, and the long-awaited Android tablet version of Office has reached the point where Microsoft is accepting open registration for the beta, coming out next month.

Source: The Verge 1,2

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!