Microsoft seems to have been bitten by the ‘freeware’ bug. MS Office will now be free For iPhone and iPad. The technology giant that has always put a price tag on all its products seems to be finally realizing the undercurrents in an industry where the likes of Google have made the ‘free’ word premium! iOS users seems to have had an early start to the holiday season as they would be able to create and edit documents on their smart-phones and tablets for free without having to subscribe to Office365. This is a bold and aggressive move from Microsoft and is expected to send most of its competitors back to the drawing boards.

MS Office for iphoneImage source:

What’s New?
The latest update would also allow iOS users to download standalone Word and use it. This is quite a desirable improvement from the earlier version where users needed to download the Office Mobile to use this application. Separate iOS apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are available on the Apple iTunes store along with an updated version of Office for iPad. This would however require you to have iOS device that runs on iOS 7.0 or higher. In this latest update Microsoft has done away with different apps for iPhone and the iPad. In the earlier version users had to download Office for iPhone and separate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for iPad. Though the apps would have the same features they would have slightly different user interface to improve user experience on two different devices.

Why the Move to Free Space?
The latest move has surprised both fans and critics alike. Earlier when Microsoft had introduced Microsoft Office Mobile app with an Office365 subscription rider, critics saw it as a move to sell the subscription of its new money spinner. Office Suite remains the flagship product from the stable and this was a last ditch effort by the company to gain some momentum from the smartphone/tablet market. This is ruled by iOS and Android with Windows OS having failed to create the magic that Microsoft had hoped for. This latest move is seen as testimony to the fact the subscription model hasn’t worked to Microsoft’s liking.

Android & Windows App Coming Soon
Microsoft also seems to be going aggressive on Google’s home territory as it also showcased the preview off its Office for Android tablet users. The preview is open to sign-ups and expected to hit Google Play early next year. A free version of MS Word would definitely see millions of downloads among the Android users who admire Microsoft Word for its features and performance and hate it for putting a price on the great experience! Microsoft also announced that the Office app for Windows 10 platform is already under development. It would be launched simultaneously with the launch of the new version of the OS.

It remains to be seen if the latest move changes the face of the office app market or fails to live up to expectations of the team at Redmond, Washington.