There’s not going to be a device on the planet on which you can’t use Microsoft productivity tools. OK, maybe that’s pushing it a little too far. But that seems to be CEO Satya Nadella’s strategy and he’s executing on it one quick step after another.
Microsoft just announced that the Office for Android tablet preview is generally available. Anyone can go to Google Play and download the Word, Excel and PowerPoint preview apps. There’s “No wait list. No requesting access. Just go and download the apps!” states the Office 365 blog.
There are only a few conditions. For preview you need to be using an ARM-based Android tablet running KitKat or Lollipop, with a screen size between 7-inches and 10.1-inches.
The Office 365 team is eager for feedback to insure that its Office apps work well on a range of Android tablets before launching the official apps. It’s a good idea, given that there seem to be at least a few Samsung Tab 4.7 users who can’t access the apps at the moment.
But that’s precisely what previews are for.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft has stated that Office for Android will be free to consumers who want to view, create and edit documents, but that those who will want to use it commercially and have access to advanced features will need an Office 365 subscription.
Office for Android tablets is expected to officially launch in the first part of 2015.
The Microsoft of yesteryear didn’t always play nicely with others, worse yet, it made working with Office difficult (expensive) for those who wanted to use it on multiple computers and devices and didn’t want to keep shelling out dollars for additional licenses. As a result, some Office users turned to using Google’s productivity apps, storing their documents on Google Drive and so on. Not a good thing if you’re Microsoft and you want to retain market share.
Nadella gets this, in a way that his predecessor, Steve Ballmer, did not. “My way or the highway” used to be the message coming out of Redmond. Today they’re providing elevator rides to their cloud.