Why did Microsoft make Office free for Android users?
Microsoft's Office suite has been in the headlines a lot lately, with many people surprised that the company has decided to make it free for Android (and iOS) users. Office has always been one of the crown jewels in Microsoft's software empire, so what drove the company to make it free? TechRepublic, Tech Times and the Verge all think they have a pretty good idea.
Tony Bradley at TechRepublic on the three reasons why Office will be free for Android users:
There is a bigger picture involved. Microsoft recognizes the changing tech landscape and realizes that it can't depend solely on PCs and the Windows operating system. It's a new world where mobile devices are king, and Microsoft needs to make sure that customers stay invested in the broader Microsoft ecosystem no matter what device or platform they choose.
To that end, here are three reasons Microsoft has expanded the features and capabilities that users can access for free from their iOS and Android mobile devices.
3. Office 365
Nicole Arche at Tech Times reports on why some analysts believe Microsoft made Office free:
Analysts believe that Microsoft's decision to make Word, Excel and PowerPoint for the iPad and iPhone and their Android counterparts is mostly due to the fact that limiting the functionality of these apps did not provide enough incentive for users to purchase an Office 365 subscription so they can do more than view their documents on their tablets and smartphones.
With the presence of free and viable alternatives that let users view and edit their documents on their devices, such as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides and Apple's suite of iWork apps, there is really no reason for consumers to spend $70 to $100 a year to buy Office apps when they can do the same thing using other productivity tools.
Tom Warren at the Verge speculates that it might be a move designed to stop the growth of Office competitors on mobile platforms:
The key here appears to be a strategic move by Microsoft to keep Office competition out of the mobile space. It's all too easy for competitors to build rival products and ship them for free on iPad, iPhone, and Android, offering premium features on top. Microsoft's Office suite is dominant, which also means it's ripe for disruption. If there's a rival Office iPad app that's free and easy to use, that could tempt consumers away from their preconceived reliance on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
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