Do you know of any tech company that does something out of kindness, charity or good will? Neither do I. Microsoft apparently is worried by the fact how more and more individual users discover, oh surprise, that they do not need MS Office to create their CVs, keep track of their household budgets, or create presentations. Moreover, they don’t even need MS Office for mobile to stay productive on the go. Currently, there are many other free apps that offer the same functionality for free, with a few extra layers of advanced features available via in-app purchases, subscription or one time.
As a result, Microsoft is making its Word, PowerPoint and Excel free of charge for iOS and Android users. Those who purchased the subscription for Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal on or after March 27, 2014 just for the sake of the mobile apps will be able to request a refund by contacting Microsoft Accounts and Billing agent before January 31, 2015, but mind you the process is not that simple. For example, if you have several subscriptions, and you want a refund for all of them, you will need to file a single request for all your subscriptions. Also, you may have to provide documentation to prove your purchase, and the entire process takes up to 8 weeks. The most hassle is on iOS users because they will have to contact the App Store support for help.
The free MS Office for mobile comprises document creating and editing features.
A few days ago, Microsoft announced its partnership with Dropbox aimed to integrate the latter into Office across multiple platforms and the web. Now, users of Dropbox will be able to use the MS Office mobile app and store their MS Office documents on Dropbox for free. Even though the move seems cunning and suspicious, it may also be desperate.
Microsoft’s Machael Atalla, head of Office marketing says it’s an extension of their strategy, and not a ‘total strategic shift.’ He explains that since Microsoft offers its Office web apps for free to all OneDrive users, it only seems logical to offer the same functionality to mobile users. ‘We want to make sure that our customers can be productive across all the devices they have.’
However, the business subscribers do not get any perks from this move since they remain bound by their subscriptions. You still have to have Office 365 subscription if you want to edit the files you store on your OneDrive for Business or Dropbox. Apparently, business clients are not as fast to jump MS Office ship as the individual users who get the taste of free apps that do what MS Office does. And even though Microsoft may never admit that, the fact that it is desperate to keep individual users hooked on its Office products is evident.
Have you ever tried office programs and mobile apps other than MS Office? Will the free MS Office for mobile urge you to stay with the product? Share your impressions in the comments below!