Twenty three years ago Microsoft’s founder and then CEO Bill Gates announced the Office productivity suite consisting of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint to the world. It would go on to become one of the foundations upon which Microsoft’s fortunes for the next two decades would be built and is still one of the largest profit drivers for Microsoft today. Yesterday Microsoft made those three Office apps free, well free for anyone using an iPad or an iPhone and soon to be free for those using Android tablets as well.
Until yesterday the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps were available to iPad users to view documents but could only be used to create new documents and edit others if the user had an Office 365 subscription to unlock the functionality. For iPhone and Android smartphone users there was the Office Mobile app which has been replaced by the trio of apps for iPhone users and will presumably be similarly replaced an impending update for Android smartphone users as well.
As for Android tablet owners Microsoft opened up a sign up page to register for the Office for Android tablets preview which should begin accepting new sign ups within the next week or so and is on course for general availability sometime in early 2015 along with the news that the touch-enabled version of Office for Windows would make its arrival along with Windows 10 in 2015 as well.
Those who have Office 365 subscriptions will benefit from additional feature like the recently announced Dropbox integration which Microsoft is not adding to the free version of the apps.
There are download links to all of the versions of Office Mobile on Microsoft’s site, and since they’re free give them a bash to see what you think.Office Blog]