Microsoft’s mobile Office platform, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel, are all available on Android smartphones starting today. It follows a few months of the suite available on iOS and Android tablet, before coming to smartphones for free.
It is a massive move for Microsoft, targeting over one billion potential users on Android. Of course, most of these are in developing nations, but with Microsoft’s free model for mobile it could turn Chinese and Indian users over to the new Office suite.
Microsoft needs to make money somehow, and it plans to offer some features through its Office 365 subscription. It has not released figures on conversion rates on iOS or Android, although it did gain over one million downloads on iOS.
There are already a few Android OEM providers pre-loading Skype, OneDrive and Outlook onto smartphones. We expect Word, PowerPoint and Excel will come alongside these pre-loaded apps in future updates.
Microsoft did not state why it delayed the launch on Android smartphones, although we can suspect that it was due to the low spending rate on Android compared to iOS. Even now, Android users spend much less on average compared to iOS, to the point where even though iOS is three times smaller, it has a similar sized revenue footprint.
Having Word, PowerPoint and Excel on Android and iOS undervalues the point of having Windows Phone or Windows 10, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claims he wants the company to be loved for the software it provides, and not be a burden with its platforms and services.
This means giving over control to popular platforms in the hopes users check out services and move to Microsoft’s own platform in time. Whether this will happen is still not known, but it is a new gamble by Microsoft in the mobile and cloud age.