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This past March, we got a glimpse at the new Microsoft: a company that finally released the long-awaited Office apps for Apple’s iPad – apps that worked well and showed that Microsoft can work well with others. Today, the company announced that its suite of Office apps would finally make their way to Android tablets, and that all Office apps across Android and iOS platforms would go mostly subscription free.

Slated for a final release in early 2015, Office for Android Tablets will enter preview this December, and users can request access right now if they want to give it a try. Additionally, Microsoft will be bringing a touch-optimized version of Office to Windows 10 next year as well.

The important news, though, is Microsoft’s new pricing plan. In short, users will now be able to open, edit, and create Office files on any platform they like, ranging from iPhones to iPads to Android tablets. Previously, users cold only open documents without a subscription. Removing this restriction is the final piece in embracing Office’s place in the mobile world. If users keep their Office 365 subscriptions going, they’ll have access to the full range of goodies that comes with it, which includes unlimited OneDrive storage, Dropbox integration, and “advanced editing and collaboration capabilities.” That’s not too bad, either, so the subscription is a value add rather than a hostage situation.

This is a smart move on Microsoft’s part. Apps like Google Drive and others have given users access to word processing and spreadsheets for free for a while now. Many users are content to deal with inferior applications to save themselves a few bucks each month. As such, Microsoft has recognized that simply making and saving files isn’t enough to demand money for these days – that’s why they’ve gone freemium with Office.

Kudos to Microsoft for knowing when and how to charge for services, and not sticking to the old ways of business.

[Office Everywhere on the Official Microsoft Blog]

 


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