Were you beginning to think that maybe the Mobile Market would slip away from Microsoft Office? That its focus on paid software on a market that is known for its freemium style would undermine it? If so, I have some mixed news for you – Microsoft Office for iPad, iPhone and Android is free for personal use.
Almost all of the core Microsoft features will be available with only a few hid behind a subscription wall like advanced chart customizations, tracking and unlimited drive space. Microsoft’s business model here though seems to be both in the subscriptions from individuals on a lesser degree for upgraded service on their mobile devices and computers, but especially businesses. These are not available to free for businesses, which still need to subscribe for Office 365 – for whom the extra features likely mean more.
The Office for mobile is split into 3 separate apps – Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Outside of potentially Outlook, these are the most well-known parts of the Microsoft Office Suite. Dropbox integration is put into all of them which will make sharing easier. And of course, for all of it you will have to make a free Microsoft Account so they have your information and can tempt you with the rest of the Office 365 Suite.
The purpose of this release is likely to keep competitors at bay from competing with them in these markets. While their brand carries a ton of value, if they were charging on the highly competitive app market it was likely that they would be undercut. Some apps had already started to do that, though not in any major way. This will likely stop any further attempts along that line from going anywhere as their powerful brand and advertising power will drown out the noise, and the primary reason to look elsewhere for many, price point, is gone.
It’s likely this move will have better success on the iPad and iPhone because of the lesser competition. Microsoft has a hefty challenge on Android phones which come with Google Docs already integrated into the operating system. It’s yet another front in Microsoft and Google’s ongoing fight in many regions for market dominance that seems unlikely to abate any time soon.