Microsoft delighted many (and ruffled a few feathers, I’m sure) earlier this week by unveiling the preview version and making Office for Android free for consumers.
In fact, the company is now giving away the productivity suite on mobile devices, meaning iPad, iPhone and Android users will no longer be required to subscribe to the cloud powered Office 365 to edit and create their documents.
Previously, the mobile Office apps only allowed the ability to view content without a subscription.
This marks a big, and dramatic, shift for the Redmond based technology company — a marked departure from its traditional business model. Enterprise users still have to pay for Office, as do traditional PC users, and this is where Microsoft plans to make the most of its revenue.
But it does show that Microsoft is no longer Windows centric.
This change to a free model may have been forced by the market (the Android ecosystem is already crowded with several third-party office productivity applications).
Still, this is a new Microsoft that is reactive, aggressive and determined, and this is good for the consumers. Now what the company needs is making these apps appropriately feature rich, and work towards bring as much desktop features as they can to these mobile applications.
If you want to test drive the Office for Android, you can sign up here. The preview build is set to become available in December for Android 4.4 KitKat and above.
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