Microsoft is crazy (like a fox) for making Office apps free

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Microsoft would like to sell you a copy of Microsoft Office. Better yet, Microsoft wants you to subscribe to Office 365. So, why is Microsoft giving away Office on just about every platform and device? It’s all part of the plan.

Consistency is the key. People like to use the same familiar tools, and be able to sync and access files no matter what device they’re using. By making Office Online and the Office mobile apps for free, Microsoft provides customers with a way to have a consistent native Office experience on any platform, which greatly increases the chances that the customer will choose–and probably buy–some version of Microsoft Office for their Windows or Mac OS X PC.

I wrote about the impact free Office tools has on Microsoft Office competitors:

In the wake of the big media event that unveiled the latest build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, Microsoft also had some news to share about Office. It revealed that Office 2016 is on track to be released later this year, and Windows 10 will include Office for Windows apps for free. Microsoft now offers so much Office functionality for free that rival tools like Google Docs, Apple iWorks, and LibreOffice seem less appealing.

The Office 365 Team announced in a post on the Office Blogs site that Office “universal” apps on Windows 10 will deliver a touch and mobile-first experience across all Windows 10 devices. The post explains:

“These new Office apps will be pre-installed for free on phones and small tablets running Windows 10, and available to download from the Windows Store for other devices. The Office universal apps will be available with the Windows 10 Technical Preview in the coming weeks and general availability is on track for later this year.”The native Windows 10 apps are just the latest move by Microsoft that makes a lot of Office capability available for free. The Office Online tools have been greatly improved, and Microsoft offers the native mobile version of Office apps for free for both iOS and Android mobile devices. If customers can create, view, and edit Office files from the web, their smartphone or tablet, or their Windows 10 PC for free, they’re much less likely to seek out alternatives like Google Docs or LibreOffice.

Don’t get me wrong. Google Docs and LibreOffice, as well as other productivity suite alternatives like Apple iWorks apps, are functional solutions. Each is more than capable of creating, viewing, and editing basic documents, and they even include the many of the advanced capabilities that are found in Microsoft Office. However, Microsoft also includes a variety of perks and benefits with Office 365 that make it an enticing option, and subscribing to Office 365 unlocks richer and more advanced capabilities for many of the mobile apps.

You can read the full story on TechRepublic: Microsoft Office strategy takes the wind out of competitors’ sails.

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I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 rabbits, 2 ferrets, a pot-bellied pig, and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@xpective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

12 Comments

  1. Great article!! Updation of Microsoft Office Online includes the main features like Better for readers, Saving overhaul, Smoothing the launch,Proofing proofreading,Android app linkage!!As Microsoft is planning on linking them to Office Online. Users who have installed the apps can now open all their Online documents directly into the programs customised for the touchscreen.