Microsoft is to let iPhone, iPad and Android users open and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents without an Office 365 subscription with the launch of new and updated applications for mobile devices.
The company launched iPad Office apps earlier this year but unless users had an active Office 365 account, they could only view documents.
However Microsoft says the decision to add more functionality to the apps, and launch on iPhone and Android, is the latest step in its strategy to let users access their content at any time on the device of their choice.
“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 launch is reflective of a change in strategy of Microsoft, which had long touted the availability of Office on Windows Phone and Windows 8 tablets as a unique selling point for the platforms.
However it is now keen to get Office in the hands of as many people as possible in a bid to sell more subscriptions to Office 365. It stresses that the best Office experience is only possible with a subscription, touting features like OneDrive storage.
Earlier this year, the company launched Office 365 Personal for home users, having had businesses packages available for some time. Office 365 has received a number of updates in recent weeks, with users now available to take advantage of unlimited storage and mobile device management (MDM) features, while developers now have access to more APIs for new applications.
A new version of Office for Mac is expected next year, while development of a touch-enabled version of the productivity suite for Windows 10 is well underway
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