Microsoft launches Office for Android

January 29, 2015 | 12:04

Tags: #android #microsoft-office #office #office-365 #productivity-suite

Companies: #microsoft

Microsoft has officially launched its Office productivity suite for Android devices, bringing the software out of beta and offering access to Outlook for the first time on the platform.

Office has long been a jewel in Microsoft's crown. A de facto industry standard, the Office suite includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint as the core applications, with additional packages such as database software Access and note-taking software OneNote available in higher-end bundles. Office originally launched way back in 1989 for Apple's Mac OS operating system, then hit its own Windows platform in 1990. Since then, the company has - naturally - concentrated its efforts on the Windows release, with the Mac version typically lagging behind in features.

In recent years, however, the company has been looking towards a cross-platform future in which Windows may not be the majority operating system for people's day-to-day computing. The company has previously launched Office 365, a subscription based productivity suite which is accessible through a web browser on many devices, and brought its Office suite to Apple's iOS mobile platform. A preview version of Office was made available for Android, but only for a subset of devices and with the warning that it was an unfinished product.

Now, the preview tag is coming off. 'As of today, Word for Android tablet, Excel for Android tablet and PowerPoint for Android tablet will be available in the Google Play store as free downloads,' Microsoft's Julia White explained in a blog post this week. 'These apps join the highly rated OneNote for Android, as well.' While only devices based around the ARM architecture are presently supported, White has claimed that Microsoft is 'committed to supporting the Intel chipsets via a native implementation that will be available within a quarter.'

The free downloads, which require a Microsoft Account to operate, allow for file viewing, creation, printing and what Microsoft describes as 'day-to-day editing' at no cost. For Office 365 subscribers, more advanced features will be unlocked. The software is also joined by a release of Outlook for iOS and Android, the latter of which comes with the preview label so recently removed from the Office port.

'At Microsoft, we are committed to empowering people and organisations [to] achieve more,' White claimed. 'Today’s releases are another step on this journey. We’re excited about these new experiences and hope our customers are, too. There is more on the horizon as we reimagine the intersection between productivity and mobile experiences.'
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