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Microsoft says no more Office Android app support on Chrome OS

Chromebook
Chromebook (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Many Chrome OS users utilize Microsoft Office Android apps.
  • Microsoft is taking those apps out of the equation.
  • The company asks that Chromebook-bound Office fans use the web versions of its apps instead.

If you're a Chromebook-equipped fan of the Office Android apps and enjoy your offline Excelling and Wording, bad news: Microsoft's pulling the plug on these options. The company decreed that Chromebook users will have to roll with the web versions of Office and Outlook if they want to keep enjoying the products.

The news came about as the result of an About Chromebooks reader pinging the site's Kevin C. Tofel about a notification they received while trying to use Office apps on their Chromebook. Tofel followed up with Microsoft and then received the update that's spurred this article. In a statement to About Chromebooks, Microsoft said the following:

"In an effort to provide the most optimized experience for Chrome OS/Chromebook customers, Microsoft apps (Office and Outlook) will be transitioned to web experiences (Office.com and Outlook.com) on September 18, 2021. This transition brings Chrome OS/Chromebook customers access to additional and premium features. Customers will need to sign in with their personal Microsoft Account or account associated with their Microsoft 365 subscription. More information is available here."

You may be thinking, "an end to Office for Android?" Well, no worries there, at least for now, according to sources who spoke with Tofel. This change seems to affect Chrome OS users exclusively, meaning all those who love using the Office and Outlook apps on their Android phones can continue to do so.

For those who need a quality offline Office solution on their Chromebook, this change could be a sizeable problem, although details are limited and big-picture ramifications of the app shakeup remain unclear.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

24 Comments
  • The point of ChromeOS is that it is always connected to the internet, therefore, offline and native apps are not the priority for devices which run it. Windows, Linux, and macOS are designed to work offline with the best experience whilst online. ChromeOS is not. Get a Chromebook, get used to having to be online or suffer a heavily degraded experience. Get a Windows/Linux/macOS device and your offline experience will be degraded but not like on a ChromeOS device.
  • I agree, so what's the big deal! Chromebooks are supposedly to be used as always connected anyway? I can see the odd times when they aren't connected, could be a problem, but with the all of the Wi-Fi coverage now a days, and the ability to tether there shouldn't be to many problems.
  • Being offline is rare in 2021 and that certainly isn't changing going forward. I wouldn't be hanging my hat on that hook.
  • If they are pulling their apps for android tablets as well due to support, I suppose that's fair, but if it's purposely blocking only chromeos due to fear of competition that's ... unwise.
  • They aren't dropping the Android apps from Android, phone, or tablet. I half expect the same thing to happen for iOS apps on MacOS. Difference is only they do make Office for Mac, just not for Chrome. But then, as has been noted, Chrome OS is intended to be used on line, at which point Office web is an option. ChromeOS has gathered a considerable amount of offline capability over time, partly because those who live in the San Francisco Bay area got a clue what a large portion of the population has to put up with for connectivity. Those here who believe everyone has access to affordable, reliable, high speed connectivity all the time, need to get out more.
  • ChromeOS has been their biggest competition in recent years, so this is intended to push back, while still steering companies toward O365 services.
  • I can't see Alphabet being angry when they have promoted their own web apps over Android apps on Chrome OS.
  • "Microsoft has decided it's time for a change of pace." More like: "Hey, Google! It's me, Microsoft! Go .... yourself!" (Back to school edition) I hope Google doesn't retaliate by making things hard for Android on W11. But I don't have much hope.
  • Huh? MS isn't using the Play store and I stead is using other stores. Am I missing something?
  • Playing dirty, Microsoft.. I see you. 👌🏾
  • Dirty? I doubt Google cares about this and Microsoft wouldn't have done it if the Office Android apps were popular. Personally, I wouldn't be buying a Chromebook if I needed Office. I would switch to one to get away from how awful Office is. 2005 era software trying to pose as modern is a terrible user experience. Wish my company would get away from Office and move everything online. This is my first time using Teams, and it seemed great at first (except for the horrendous design language, how did they ever think this looked good?). Until you try to use it with Office and it quickly shows how far behind Office is. It is powerful, but overkill and not at all flexible for modern useage.
  • "Wish my company would get away from Office and move everything online." To what?
  • Honestly I don't think anyone really listens to you anymore. Clearly you have some personal vendetta against Microsoft or something because literally every comment I see from you on this site is just there to poo-poo Microsoft doing anything at all and promote your precious Google crap. It might really annoy you to realize that not everyone likes Google. Some people like keeping their personal information out of the adsosphere that Google has built for themselves, or don't want to support their viciously anti-competitive behavior over the last couple of years (beaten only by Apple of all people). People like options. And most people already know about the Google options and they simply don't care. These are facts. Trying to get everyone to switch to something you like instead of what works best for them is the very definition of a fanboy with a huge bias.
  • This is not a big deal. Chrome books are used mainly in schools, by kids. Maybe a few in homes. Neither of those markets are big Office users. Rest assured that if Microsoft’s main customers - businesses - were using Android Office on Chrome, this would not have happened.
  • Maybe school has changed in the last 20 years, but Office was pretty much a requirement for assignments when I was in school. Whether it be Word, Excel, Powerpoint, even Publisher.
  • Most all grade schools in the US are on Chromebooks. Very little management needed and they are very cheap with cheap software.
  • In College and Grad schools yes. Here we're talking about K12 and under primarily, they have no need for full functionality of the Office Suite.
  • But isn't this what Google already does with its Docs? As far as I know, it's a web-only experience for Google's own programs.
  • LOL as if Android Office apps were any good to begin with. It's one of the biggest reasons why corporations don't use Android and ChromeOS PC devices. Everyone in Google's PC ecosystem already uses Google Docs, not Web Office.
  • If that were true, that would be a real strike against being in the Google ecosystem: Google Docs is not even feature comparable to Word from the Windows 3.1 days, same with their spreadsheet compared to Excel. Fortunately, the MS apps are dominant among office apps even among Android users.
  • Clearly you have not been in school systems and office environments lately that use Android Tablets and Chromebooks. EVERYONE uses Google Docs because of how bad Office 365 runs. People who use Office? have an actual Laptop/Windows Tablet or the Apple iPad, which has functioning Office apps unlike Android. Take it from a guy who switched his tablets multiple times from Surface to Android to iPad because of his reliance on Excel.
  • No, everyone uses Google Docs because Chromebooks are cheap entry points for a range of incomes and it is easy management. It's not because Docs is so feature rich. Kids don't use the features, and what they use (comments, version correction) are available on both.
  • This is really interesting are they abandoning Android too. It might be a really interesting October 6😁
  • No real indication they are doing that. Be interesting to see what happens on the DUO 2. Without Office of some sort it would be a little (lot) less Microsoft ;) It has the PlayStore now, but what if it showed up with the Amazon app store? That's what Win 11 will have. The Microsoft, Google, Amazon dynamic is very interesting.