Microsoft launches free Office apps for iPad, iPhone and Android

I just downloaded the Microsoft’s Office suite on my iPhone 5s for free, before you needed an subscription of Office 365 to edit docs and store them on cloud.With this move Microsoft has made the prior strategic partnership with Dropbox justified as now you can use space from Dropbox and save Office docs like Word, Excel and Powerpoint on your hand-held devices.This free app is available on iOS and Android Devices.

But, people that have a business subscription of Office 365 will not get this app for free. They will be continued to pay for their business productivity suite and cloud platform as OneDrive. It actually makes sense as you have tons of options which are free that allows you to edit and create WORD files on mobile devices. So, its a more logical to make it free, otherwise the user base could have been damaged even more after free applications are running over software giants.

While consumers using Office mobile will be able to access the apps for free, Microsoft isn't extending this free functionality to businesses. An Office 365 subscription will be required to edit documents that are stored on OneDrive for Business or Dropbox for business, a clear sign of how Microsoft will continue to generate money from the thousands of businesses that rely on its productivity suite and cloud platform. "There’s still premium value that we’ll add on top of that," says Atalla. "There will still be subscription value, most clearly and easily identifiable in the commercial space, but also in the consumer space around advanced authoring, analysis, presentation, and unlimited storage with OneDrive." Microsoft is also restricting some chart element customization and track changes to paid customers, making them premium features.

Starting today, iPhone and Android tablet customers can tap into the same experience that people with Office for iPad have enjoyed. Now, nearly everyone will be able to get more done, more quickly. Here are the details of the news:

Office 365 subscribers will continue to get some advantages. For example, they will have access to premium features like track changes in Word, pivot tables in Excel and presenter view in PowerPoint. They will also get unlimited OneDrive storage, Dropbox integration and 60 Skype world calling minutes per month. However, the core Office experience, which until now has been tightly contained within Microsoft's paywall, will now be available on almost any tablet or smartphone for free.

“Anytime someone has an idea or an inspiration, we want to empower them to take action,” said John Case, corporate vice president, Office, Microsoft.

“With over a billion Office customers worldwide, and over 40 million downloads on the iPad, it’s clear that Office applications are what people want to use to get things done.”

The move suggests a dramatic shift in strategy for Microsoft. The aim seems to be to get more people using Office on mobile, without cannibalising sales of the PC and Mac versions of the software. It is a risky move, however, as the line between computers and mobile devices is becoming increasingly blurred, and Microsoft will need to provide a compelling reason for people to continue to dish out for the premium features.

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