We are now deep into the Mobile Age where almost everything can be done with the use of our smartphones, tablets, and even wearable devices (smartwatches). But surprisingly, Microsoft has been slow to catch up, particularly in making its Microsoft Office suite more accessible to users of mobile device users.
Well, not anymore. The company announced on Thursday that it is making a series of changes to the Microsoft Office suite to make it more useful for the mobile crowd. Now, we will be able to make full use of Microsoft Office staples like Word, Excel, and even PowerPoint on our handheld devices for free.
Yup, you read that right. Users, especially those who own Apple's iPhones and iPads, or devices that run on the Android mobile operating system will be able to create and edit Office documents and files entirely free of charge.
Remember that before this announcement, if you wanted to use the Microsoft Office suite on your device, you would need to sign up for an Office 365 subscription, which would cost you $6.99 each month.
Microsoft is certainly now embracing, or at least trying to explore, the idea of "freemium" in which the essential aspects of an app are offered for free, and then only offering an option to pay for special features or privileges. With a move like that, Microsoft may have found itself sacrificing subscription fees, but the reward may be worth it -- the company will no doubt attract even more users, especially mobile-based ones, to its fold.
And the free use of the app is not all of it. The software giant has also decided to provide standalone apps each for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for the iPhone. Before, these three used to be included as basic components of the Microsoft Office app.
Today's announcement is impeccably timed, too. Just two days ago, Microsoft and cloud storage service provider Dropbox revealed that they are collaborating to allow users to access Dropbox directly from Microsoft Office apps, and in turn, edit Microsoft Office files and documents from the Dropbox app.
But one must wonder -- what about Microsoft's own Windows Phone operating system? Shouldn't the Microsoft Office suite be making noise there first, instead of iOS and Android? Microsoft says that's okay. Besides, the majority of users own iOs- and Android-run devices anyway, so having the Microsoft Office app on their devices can only widen Microsoft's customer reach, even if it is not necessarily on its own OS.
Still, the real winners are the end users, of course. It has been a long time coming, but now, they finally get the Microsoft Office suite on their devices, and a free and enhanced one at that.
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