Under the leadership of its new CEO Satya Nadella, the world s biggest software company Microsoft is going through several changes that we had never anticipated before. In yet another surprising move, the company today announced that its productivity suite is now free for iPad, iPhone, and Android (including tablet).
Microsoft released Office for iPad earlier this year. The company, however, allowed users with free accounts to only view the documents, and asked for an Office 365 subscription before letting them edit and do other advanced features. Today, the company announced that users no longer need an Office 365 subscription in order to do such operations. In addition, users will also be able to store files in Dropbox without the need of a premium account.
While this may seem like an absurd move to many, it will definitely help the company lure in lots of new users. The company mentioned that its Office suite has been downloaded over 40 million times on iPad. It is making sure that users don t flock away to settle for alternative tools like Drive, which has added several new features over the past few weeks. We d like to dramatically increase the number of people trying Office, John Case, corporate vice president of Office marketing at Microsoft, said about the new offering. This is about widening the funnel.
“It s an extension of the strategy that we ve got,” explains Microsoft’s head of Office marketing Michael Atalla. “It s not a total strategic shift, as much of an extension of the existing strategy. We re taking that same user experience we provide online to the native apps of iOS and Android. We want to make sure that our customers can be productive across all the devices they have.
However, do note that the free access to the said features is only being offered to consumers, and not the business users. They will still need the Office 365 subscription to be able to edit the documents. 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 also announced that a touch-friendly Office suite for Windows 10 is in the works. Last month the company had announced that it will be releasing new Office for Mac and Windows next year. The preview versions of both will be released in the first half of 2015. You can check out the leaked screenshots of Office for Windows here, and Office for Mac here.