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What happens when you wait years to release an office suite for mobile, then put it behind the Office 365 paywall?
Our best guess: Nobody was using it. That very well might change now that Microsoft has just made Office for iOS (both iPhone and iPad) free to use, with only a handful of advanced features blocked by the paywall.
And, if like me, you aren't carrying an iPhone or iPad, there's still hope: Both Android and touch-friendly Windows tablets will soon have their own versions of Microsoft's industry standard suite.
iOS Is Open for Business
Office for iPad debuted to pretty stellar reviews: It was nearly as full-featured as its desktop counterpart, but touch-friendly. And for all of those people who are long-time users of desktop MS Office, it brought forth all those warm, fuzzy, and familiar feelings.
Office for iPhone? Not so much. First of all, you'd need the Office 365 subscription. Even then, it was limited. Now, the all-in-one app is being decoupled into three separate apps: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. And each of those will be (mostly) free.
My first thought: whoopity-freaking-do -- who wants to diddle around on their smartphone? But according to Gizmodo, the workspace "reflows" the text (much like mobile PDF readers can also tweak the text of a desktop-formatted document for readability purposes). In simplest terms, it makes the text bigger and fits it on a smartphone screen while preserving the formatting of the actual desktop document.
Android Coming Soon
Cool story bro, but what about the rest of the massive smartphone market? After all, iPhones, as popular as they are with lawyers, aren't but a small fraction of the overall market. Ditto for Android tablets, which are still Office-less.
Microsoft announced a preview program at the same time it announced the iPhone update. According to ZDNet, the issue was making an app on par with the iPad version that could work with the infinite number of Android screen sizes.
ETA: Early 2015.
Windows? Wait for Windows 10
This is the most curious part of Microsoft's strategy: There is still not a touch-friendly version of Office for Windows. Yeah, even on Microsoft's home turf, Office is still the original desktop version. At the same time, the company is trying to push a touch-friendly operating system. And then, when it does release the desktop-friendly Windows 10, then it'll finally have a touch-friendly version of Office.
Yeah, it hurts my head too. In any case, the touch-friendly version of Microsoft Office for Windows is set for late 2015, to be released alongside Windows 10, reports ZDNet.