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Microsoft Office, free on smartphones and tablets: that's why

Redmond's latest moves in the Office and the cloud move the waters. We talked about it with the director of the Office division of Microsoft Italia

(Photo: Microsoft)(Photo: Microsoft)

First the announcement of unlimited space on the OneDrive cloud service to all Office 365 subscribers; then that of collaboration with the other reference reality of storage in the cloud, Dropbox; finally, the arrival on iOS devices (and soon on Android tablets) of a completely new and free version of Office Mobile. There is no need to connect the dots to understand that Microsoft has something in mind for the future of its famous productivity suite.

The company calls it its own the future of productivity, and a strategy that is realized in the furrows of the mobile first, cloud first philosophy that CEO Satya Nadella has set as the main route for the new Microsoft. To understand how this vision will also influence the future of the Redmond suite, we have made ourselves explain the choice of making Office Mobile free from Vieri Chiti, director of the Office division of Microsoft Italia.

Nowadays, there is no longer a single device that people use to manage their data, and it would make little sense for us to relegate our most popular product suite with more than a billion users worldwide to just one operating system or even to a single type of product. Therefore it becomes fundamental guarantee a full experience on all devices that the kind uses to manage their private life.

The adoption of the freemium model for Office Mobile is therefore part of this reasoning: On the one hand, we can guarantee a complete experience for those who use products that are already popular and widespread throughout the world.avoiding that there are barriers or mandatory paths to follow" , continues Chiti, because of the 95% of smartphones and tablets sold in the world mounts Android or iOS. "On the other hand, we can get the value of our products touched by people who up until now have only used them occasionally or occasionally.

In short, Android and iOS users who use Office without problems on their PC or Mac are no longer forced to abandon it to switch to the competition once they leave home or from the office. If then, installing the app, they will fall in love with the integration with Dropbox, OneDrive, Skype and OneNote, even Microsoft will have had a double advantage: keep users in their own ecosystem, e encourage them to explore all the Microsoft cloud world that goes beyond Office Online and Mobile.

And users Windows Phone? Their Office has already installed it on their smartphones for a long time, but an update will come only with the release of Windows 10, next year. Until then they will find themselves with a paradoxically inferior version for aesthetic refinement and number of features to those just announced for the other platforms. But making comparisons would be misleading:

With the concept of product as a service, the development cycle of a solution became different and more intense. It becomes short-sighted to look at a time window of a few months when we talk about the cloud or apps. We must look at a continuous path. At this moment it may seem that an iPad user has an advantage over those who use another platform. In August it will be the reverse. In December, maybe still the opposite.

The future of productivity (and Microsoft's invasion of opposing platforms) a path far from the end. The recent news on Office, OneDrive and Dropbox only mark the beginning of a new phase and other announcements will arrive, ensures Chiti. We stay tuned.


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