Today Microsoft has released a new version of Office for Android tablets (in preview form), and an update for the iPhone and iPad. They have also decided to remove the subscription requirement to create and edit Office documents. Not to be forgotten, Microsoft throws a hint about touch first Office for Windows 10 coming in 2015.
These new apps showcase how Microsoft is delivering the best experience they can to their customers, regardless of platform. Microsoft is dedicated to bringing one of their biggest brands to every device. This release also give users a look at how Microsoft plans to release their Office products on tablets and phones. New touch Office programs began on the iPad and now have made their way to the iPhone. The same will probably happen with Android tablets and phones. Finally in 2015 Microsoft will release touch Office for Windows 10 and will start with tablets and work its way to phones.
The other major shift indicated here is the removal of the Office 365 subscription. This enables users to download the Office apps on their device and create, save, and edit documents on the device; previously users could only view documents without a subscription. It is unclear what Microsoft's strategy is here to eventually bring more paying customers onto Office 365. Maybe the number of people who were signing up for Office 365 wasn't increasing for iPad use. Now Microsoft has a chance to capture new users and get them comfortable with Office before they try to get them to pay.
However, more advanced features like sharing with OneDrive and collaboration are still locked into Office 365. With the addition of desktop programs on 5 PCs or Macs, unlimited OneDrive storage, and file syncing the $10 a month is still a good deal. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft evolves their cloud services side of Office 365 to entice more users to pay up. Ironically this update also enables Dropbox integration, which doesn't require a subscription to Office 365.
Here is some footage Microsoft has provided of Office running on the iPhone, iPad, Android, and touch first on Windows 10.