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Microsoft Makes Office Mobile Editing Free As in Freemium 98

An anonymous reader writes Microsoft today announced a significant change to its Office strategy for mobile devices: creating and editing is now free. The company also released standalone Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for the iPhone, as well a new preview of these apps for Android tablets. Starting today, whether you're using an Office app on Android or iOS, you can create and edit content without an Office 365 subscription. The company is pitching this move as "More of Office for everyone."
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Microsoft Makes Office Mobile Editing Free As in Freemium

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  • I am impressed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @06:51PM (#48329503)

    The company is trying something new. It may or may not work out for them, but if they keep exploring, they are bound to find something that succeeds. That, and the effort to really understand user needs through Windows 10 preview, tells me that there may be some how for MS to capture back some of their former success.

    • Re:I am impressed (Score:4, Interesting)

      by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @08:19PM (#48330375)

      The company is trying something new. It may or may not work out for them, but if they keep exploring, they are bound to find something that succeeds.

      They're not trying something new. They're just trying to keep up with the free competing alternatives.

      ...for MS to capture back some of their former success.

      This strategy isn't going to win them any new marketshare. At best, it may prevent them from losing more marketshare.

      In either case, people will still think of Microsoft Office 365 as a paid-only service. Similar things happened with Hotmail and Bing. Eventually, Hotmail and Bing matched Gmail and Google in terms of quality of their features, but this change took so long to happen, it didn't improve their marketshare despite all the money they spent in marketing and advertising.

      • I think OP meant "new for Microsoft"

      • In either case, people will still think of Microsoft Office 365 as a paid-only service.

        It is a paid-only service isn't it? These new programs are free but they aren't office 365.

  • Linus Torvalds won (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2014 @06:54PM (#48329539)

    'If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.' -- Linus Torvalds

    • Yer, it's not the beginning of then end but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

      Office functionality should be helping to sell Microsoft's phone thingies, but they aren't.
    • 'If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.' -- Linus Torvalds

      Hardcore neckbeards won't agree. Android, although it has a Linux kernel, and a substantial userbase, and is easy to use, won't count because it doesn't have GNU and X and you can't go "sudo apt-get Msoffice &make &make-install"

      • Android, although it has a Linux kernel, and a substantial userbase, and is easy to use, won't count because it doesn't have GNU and X and you can't go "sudo apt-get Msoffice &make &make-install"

        You can once you install a debian environment. And you can have GNU and X, too, although most of the X servers are pretty poor.

      • I'm willing to accept Android as a separate Linux userland that does not use X11. But it is missing one key feature that most X11 window managers provide. If I have a tablet with four times the pixels and four times the physical space of a phone, I ought to be able to split the screen and run four phone apps. But Google deliberately does not provide for this, instead mandating in the Android CDD that apps run maximized all the time. Either an application's screen size is set in stone at installation time or
        • And we just end up with hacks like Samsung's to get around that limitation because stretching phone apps to tablet size is a horrible experience, better to have them run at their native resolution than stretch them out or - as you say - run them windowed. Though swipe-from-edge gestures could be problematic unless you have some more explicit way than just a tap to change focus between windows.
        • by tibit ( 1762298 )

          So, your finger size scales with the pixel pitch of the screen? Uh, I didn't think so. Mobile device screens have a certain range of physical dimensions - they are to be mobile, after all. This range has stayed essentially fixed for the last decade. In that time, though, the pixel pitch has decreased by a factor of 4. Yet our fingers steadfastly refuse to follow this trend. We humans are so obsolete :) In my experience, cramming 2 or 4 apps on a 9 inch screen, just because there's 2 or 4 times as many pixel

          • So, your finger size scales with the pixel pitch of the screen?

            If I have a 5" phone with 1280x800 pixels and a 10" tablet with 2560x1600 pixels, the finger will cover the same number of pixels on each. Yet Android refuses to let me run four 5" phone apps on one 10" tablet.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @09:56PM (#48330961) Homepage

        Hardcore neckbeards won't agree. Android, although it has a Linux kernel, and a substantial userbase, and is easy to use, won't count because it doesn't have GNU and X and you can't go "sudo apt-get Msoffice &make &make-install"

        Well, Linus never agreed that much with the FSF in the first place which is quite evident in many debates like over GPLv3. He wants to build the best kernel ever and if somebody else does something smart he'd like to study it and incorporate it into his project which is his interest in copyleft. Whether it's locked down for the end user to alter or not or if it's used to run open or closed source software isn't really any of his concern, while he picked GPL as his license he's never supported the four freedoms that RMS based it on. His ultimate victory would probably be more like Microsoft and Apple ditching their own kernel in favor of Linux so you'd have Windows/Linux, OS X/Linux, Android/Linux and GNU/Linux. Or really any variety that runs on top of his kernel.

        • He most does support the 4 freedoms) He supports the existence of the kernel forks. So obviously the ability to modify and redistribute. His product is open source so the ability to change.There are no purpose restrictions nor have they ever been discussed.

          He disagrees with RMS when it comes to the embedded space. He had strong disagreements with RMS on an architectural level about the directions of the GNU project which at this point even RMS has abandoned. In open source vs. free software and how be

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        I'd have thought that not using X is a benefit, not a shortcoming. It's an antiquated design that had its time and place, but doesn't anymore.

    • More like if Norton, McAffee and other bloatware manufaturers also make applications for Linux that PC World aggressively ram down the throat of anyone trying to buy a PC, then Linux has taken over. Because its only that additional bloatware that actually gives places like PC World any profit at all and an insentive to sell PCs. I wouldn't be surprised if the PC itself was sold at a loss.

      MS Office is definitely one of the apps places like PC World try to push at the checkout.
  • Broken on 4.4.4 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Indy1 ( 99447 )

    Unable to install it on my new Droid Turbo. Other people in forums reporting the same.

    Smooth move M$

  • subscription?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2014 @07:08PM (#48329703)

    without an Office 365 subscription

    Subscription? To a.... word processor?

    What foul sorcery is this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Subscription to the full office suite for five computers with free upgrades to the latest version, cloud storage, and a few other features. Still sucks, but it's a bit better than just a subscription to a word processor
      • by kesuki ( 321456 )

        SAAS is no new idea... see there was this unix protocol called gopher and it summoned documents to the users through a data network... and gasp you didn't need to move paper around to get your data. sadly a software known as a 'browser' came along and you could traverse a network called the world wide web. it had links to this new paperless data at the low low price of $9.95 a month for 10 hours a month at 9660 baud... well actually to be correct the price was all paid for by schools which then upgraded th

    • Subscription? To a.... word processor

      The geek trying to be clever.

      The subscription is for a local install of the full MS Office suite + online storage and other extras; but you knew that already.

      Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal alone is currently worth about $500 million a year in revenue to Microsoft. Consumer Office 365 tops a half-billion dollars in annual revenue run-rate [computerworld.com]

      • by Camael ( 1048726 )

        Subscription? To a.... word processor

        The geek trying to be clever.

        The subscription is for a local install of the full MS Office suite + online storage and other extras; but you knew that already.

        Technically correct, but most people only want the word processing function of MS Office. Blame MS for bundling unwanted 'extras' together to jack up the price. If all that you want is a fridge, but you are forced to buy a package consisting of a fridge, warranty, parts replacement, delivery service, a fan and a cooler because that is the only way th

        • Technically correct, but most people only want the word processing function of MS Office.

          Even back in 1996 Excel was the killer app, why would most people want Word significantly more than Excel?

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            Excel has always been the killer app, since MS realized there was a huge base of customers with no interest in finance, but who needed a handy way to make lists. MS realized the power users weren't where the money was, and never looked back (not that Excel wasn't competitive at number crunching). It remains my favorite geeky-drawing program: the best graph paper ever.

            Who even uses Word any more? Do people still print things?

            But PowerPoint has been the primary app driving Office sales for quite some time.

            • Excel has always been the killer app, ..... It remains my favorite geeky-drawing program: the best graph paper ever.

              Who even uses Word any more? Do people still print things?

              You move in different circles from me. I have never known anyone personally who used Excel. At work I am among engineers of the nuts-and-bolts type who use their corporate Microsoft desktops for nothing but email and reading/writing reports in Word. The managers spend their days creating PowerPoints. I suppose the finance department might use Excel but I don't know any of them personally. And we print things; at every meeting or training course I go to I am handed wads of it - copies of all the PowerP

              • Where I work, all of the Indian contractors have this ingrained need to dump everything into an Excel sheet and then send that out as an email attachment. You need to send a screen shot? Put it into an Excel file and send it. You need to write up some instructions (and include a few screen shots)? Put it in an Excel file and send it. The list goes on and on. I don't know if it is a culture thing or an outsourced training thing or what, but it is common practice and everyone does it. It is annoying as
                • In my experience, most people do the same thing, but using Word. It's really annoy when someone sends you a screenshot and it arrives in e-mail or a Bugzilla attachment as a .doc[x] file. :-/

              • by lgw ( 121541 )

                At work I am among engineers of the nuts-and-bolts type

                Well, the entire success of Microsoft was in "not making a product for engineers", so there you go. It's also why /. has always had a hate-on for MS: they thumbed their nose at the geeks from almost the start.

                I can certainly see how an engineering group that has old-school government sign-off requirements could still be printing things, but I saw software engineering move from Word to wikis over the past 5 years - now Word docs on SharePoint is a warning sign of a backwards company.

              • You move in different circles from me. I have never known anyone personally who used Excel

                You will, probably by the time you start high school, definitely by the time you start college. Once you join the work force you'll barely know a single person who do not use Excel.

      • Subscription? To a.... word processor

        The geek trying to be clever. ... The subscription is for a local install of the full MS Office suite + online storage and other extras

        The point is that I, and I suspect most consumers, do not need or use anything but the word processor of an office suite.

        The sales figures you quote only goes to show that people buy into stuff like Office 365 because they do not understand what they actually need or what it actually consists of; it just sounds like a good idea and they have seen it advertised on TV. Microsoft advertising and FUD over the years have created the idea in many people's minds that IT won't work without MS software - ie a PC

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It might be called Word, but no columns/sections breaks/tables/styles.... basically its the functionality of Wordpad on the editing side. It won't even flip to landscape mode.

      So what they've done is repackage something equivalent to Wordpad, which was given away free with the OS, plus the Word Reader features set, which lets you read but not edit word document, and is also free, and called it Word.

      I use Hancom Office which came with the tablet, and won't miss this.

    • Ya.. I never get the hype, or the demands. People are willing to spend lots of money, and even more time, arguing about what thing you can write a letter with is better.

      It's not like that's a growing technology. It puts letters on a page, sometimes with some graphics. I'd like to introduce them to Mr. Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg. He had some ideas in that area.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So will I have to pay 25 cents to use the font I want? How about 50cents to save it in a compatible format. I"m sure I'll be doing lots of typing of papers on my phone.

    • I"m sure I'll be doing lots of typing of papers on my phone.

      Hey, you never know. November is NaNoWriMo, after all...

  • by merick ( 1878106 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @07:08PM (#48329711)

    I don't think this was so much of a desire to be innovative as it is to survive. With good-enough editors available on mobile devices, web services, and PCs, MS has to move down-market or risk entire new generations never using or needing their Office software.

    As it is, my daughter in middle-school has had some Office required assignments which prompted angry parent responses. I spoke with several other tech-oriented parents with kids at the school and none of them have MS Office at home. They all use either LibreOffice, OpenOffice or Apple's iWorks.

    Microsoft is battling obsolescence. This is a good attempt to reach a generation that doesn't know or care about them.

    • Agreed, for most people, Google Docs will handle pretty much everything you'll need.

      I do run into the occasional issue where I have to hop over to Word or Excel when I'm done to finish up some formatting, but in general, I'm google docs all the way

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        Many schools are switching to Google services, and you have 8 year olds swapping work through Google Drive, working on their documents there, etc. This is, in fact, marvellous - it took someone the size of Google to make it happen, and happen it did. It's like science-fiction from the vievpoint of myself back in the elementary school. Back then I had a home network with intelligent terminals of various sorts (low-end PCs, some Z80-based systems, etc), and had strung some cable to a few neighbor kids and got

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I don't think this was so much of a desire to be innovative as it is to survive. With good-enough editors available on mobile devices, web services, and PCs, MS has to move down-market or risk entire new generations never using or needing their Office software.

      The real irony is that Office for iPad worked better as a touch-screen Office than Office did. Anyone who tried to use Office on their Surface RT or Surface found out quickly that touchscreens poorly replicate a mouse and keyboard.

      And yet, Microsoft h

      • The difference, of course, being that Surfaces and such support keyboards and mice (well, trackpads on the keyboard covers, but you can also use a Bluetooth or USB mouse). Nonetheless, you're right that *for touchscreen use specifically* desktop Office is pretty bad. It's not unusable - I don't have super-tiny fingers yet I don't find the buttons on the ribbon very hard to hit - but it's a definitely inferior experience. Of course, since Office for RT is just an ARM recompile of their x86 code, and runs in

        • All tablets I'm familiar with support keyboards. Microsoft just pushed them in advertising so it might look to the dim-witted like Microsoft was doing something new and exciting, and then charged extra for them to try to get more money out of the customer.

    • by fat_mike ( 71855 )
      How many is "several"?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is absolutely silly. Microsoft Office is growing hugely, Microsoft is reporting record earnings and growing as a company. It isn't about survival, its about competing. If you're looking for a company in survival mode, seek out Sony.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I totally agree except they are not battling obsolescence, they are battling the image they've cultivated over the years of shitting all over their users. They could invent the most impressive piece of software in the entire world tomorrow and a lot of people would STILL go out of their way to find an alternative.

      • Microsoft is fighting obsolescence. They're just being smarter than some other companies and fighting it while things are still going well for them. If they let things go as they're going, they'll wind up in an IBM-type situation, dominating a niche market (mainframes for IBM), still profitable but hardly dominant.

  • Starting today, whether you're using an Office app on Android or iOS, you can create and edit content without an Office 365 subscription.

    "I see you're trying to save the document you've created and edited. Would you like help in subscribing to Office 365?"

  • Who the fuck would WANT TO?

    Seriously? After years of 20+" monitors at high resolution, who the hell is going to want to REALLY use Office on a little postage-stamp phone screen? With an on-screen keyboard no less?

    Maybe I'm missing something. But do people HONESTLY think anyone is going to be anything remotely resembling productive building documents that way?

    • Your old school logic has no place in the Cloud.

      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        "the cloud".

        Silly buzzword for "renting space on someone's internet-connected VM".

    • Seriously? After years of 20+" monitors at high resolution, who the hell is going to want to REALLY use Office on a little postage-stamp phone screen?

      This is for use on phablets and tablets many of which have higher resolutions than the vast majority of desktop monitors, sad as that state of affairs is these days. I'm am wondering whether you have a really small phone or enormous postage stamps?

      With an on-screen keyboard no less?

      You can attach a keyboard if you really want to.

      Maybe I'm missing something. But do people HONESTLY think anyone is going to be anything remotely resembling productive building documents that way?

      No, but reviewing, commenting and simple editing most definitely.

      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        Actually yeah.

        Native resolution is one thing.

        But the size of the screen is something else.

        My 24" monitor is roughly 14x the size my Galaxy S4.

        So yeah, I refer to that as a "postage stamp". A very NICE postage stamp. But still.

        I get what you're saying about tablets and add-on keyboards. It's still somewhat at-odds with the fact that they're pushing this at iPhone/etc users as well.

        • It's still somewhat at-odds with the fact that they're pushing this at iPhone/etc users as well.

          I don't think it's designed to be the primary content creation tool, same way that Pages, Documents-to-Go, Google Docs, etc ... aren't. It's about being able to view and edit them.

    • It's a pretty easy way to do something like tweak a Powerpoint slide (maybe there was a typo, or you want to alter your notes for the slide?) on the bus to work, or to add a line in an Excel-based expense report while heading home from lunch. You aren't expected to write long documents on your phone, but being able to make edits is a nice feature.

      As for tablets, lots of people have a keyboard (usually Bluetooth) for their tablet. Combined with the often very high resolution of modern tablets (I think iPads

  • Freemium? (Score:5, Funny)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @09:27PM (#48330807) Homepage Journal

    Editing: now free!

    In-app purchases:

    • Bold: $0.99
    • Italics: $0.99
    • Left/Right/Center/Justify: $0.99
    • "Power pack": numbered lists, bulleted lists, indent/outdent: $4.99

    PS: Speaking of lists: Slashdot, why don't you fucking render bulleted lists?!?!?

  • Is coming to android pretty soon?
    dev git download: http://dev-builds.libreoffice.... [libreoffice.org]

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