Earlier this week we reported on what appeared to be the road-blocking of Microsoft Office Apps for Chromebooks that have access to the Google Play Store.
Today, however, Microsoft has announced that this is not the case.
A spokesperson for the company has reached out to us with an official statement to lend some clarity to the current state of development for Office Applications and Chrome OS.
Our strategy has not changed. Office for Android is supported on Chrome OS devices via the Google Play Store. While Google Play on Chrome OS is in beta, we are partnering with Google to deliver the best experience for Chromebook users and plan to make the apps available on all compatible devices by general availability.
– Microsoft Office Team
In case you missed the story, Chromebook users with the Asus Flip and Acer R11 have reported that attempts to install Microsoft Office Apps from the Play Store were resulting in the message that these apps are incompatible with their devices.
While no official statement had been made, the presumptions were that Microsoft would be restricting access to their apps for Chrome OS devices as they are tailored for mobile use.
This brings a sigh of relief for users who rely on Office Apps for personal and professional use when other options are not feasible.
The caveat here?
All compatible devices.
While these apps initially functioned on Chrome OS devices, Microsoft has been very clear that the ability to create, edit and share would be restricted to devices 10.1″ and less; however, with an Office 365 subscription, users with devices over 10.1” may still create, edit, and share in Office apps, as noted here.
On devices larger than 10.1”, an Office 365 subscription is required to unlock the ability to create, edit or print documents.
This very well may be part of the ongoing development as Microsoft decides how to approach the ever growing Chromebook market.
With only one Chromebooks in the 10 inch or less category (the ASUS Flip C100PA) Microsoft could very well leverage a paid or subscription service for devices greater than that size.
As it sits, devices over 10 inches require an Office 365 subscription of some sort in order to access full functionality. The free apps are still available, but for viewing only.
I, personally, do not use Office applications.
But, Microsoft is a software company. They generate billions of dollars annually from the sale and licensing of their software products. It’s what they do and I do not fault them for that one bit.
For those who MUST have Office Apps, generally the subscription costs are a non-issue. Additionally, the majority of these users most likely have a paid plan with Microsoft already, negating the problem before it ever existed.