Is Microsoft moving Chromebook owners to its Office web apps over Android?

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What you need to know

  • The Microsoft Office Android apps are redirecting some Chromebook owners to the Office web apps.
  • Only a subset of Chromebook users are being redirected at this time.
  • Android apps don't always provide a smooth experience on Chromebooks, so Microsoft may prefer that people use Office on the web.

Microsoft Office now redirects some people with Chromebooks to the Office web apps. As reported by WindowsUnited, when some users attempt to open an Android version of an Office app on a Chromebook, they're redirected to the web version of the same app. Only some people with Chromebooks are being redirected at this time. It's unclear if Microsoft plans to migrate everyone over or if this is just in testing.

The best Chromebooks allow people to access the Microsoft Office suite in two ways. On Chromebooks that support Android apps, people can download any of Microsoft's Office apps through the Google Play Store. Alternatively, any Chromebook can access Office through the web.

Android apps on Chromebooks don't always provide a smooth experience. They can also use more system resources than web apps. If Microsoft is happy with its Office web apps, it may prefer to push people onto the web rather than let people have a suboptimal experience with Android apps.

Source: WindowsUnited (Image credit: Source: WindowsUnited)

When redirected, the Office app says that the web apps deliver the best and most up-to-date experience for Office.

Richard Devine explains in our guide on how to use Office on Chromebooks that the web apps are "just as good as the Android apps." They also come with the benefit of not taking up any space on your device.

Have you been redirected to the Office web apps? Let us know in the comments.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • Do the web apps work offline if installed as PWAs? And can they open local files without uploading them to the cloud?
  • That's a bit shady if MS is doing this on purpose. But it's not hard to imagine that this is more incompetence than malice. After all, Office documents listed in Timeline still send me to the browser, not the native Office app ... ON WINDOWS 10. Still. FFS.
  • @Andrew G1 .. yeah.... and Microsoft wonders why people don't use Timeline much. Reminds me of when trying to attach a document on Wp8.0 would direct you to the Photohub... yet Microsoft stubbornly refused to provide a file explorer until much later (it drove me nuts with amount of work arounds I had to do when working on the go) - same with the Action Center lol. It got better with WM10 but still advanced settings were still lacking.