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Microsoft's Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 not a priority, but not dead

During its Ignite 2018 conference this week, Neowin reported that Microsoft is shifting its attention away from its Office Mobile apps for Windows 10, treating Android and iOS as the priority going forward. This caused speculation that the apps may be dead, but support still remains, albeit limited when compared to other versions of Office on the market.

In a statement to ZDNet, a Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that the Office Mobile apps have not been deprecated, but the company is prioritizing its development resources towards the iOS and Android apps, along with the Wind32 and web versions. From Microsoft:

The Office mobile apps for Windows have not been deprecated. But for mobile, we are currently prioritizing development for the iOS and Android versions of our apps; and on Windows, we are prioritizing Win32 and web versions of our apps.

The Office Mobile apps–which include the standard roster of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and others–are built for Windows tablets and mobile devices with a screen size of 10.1 inches or smaller. While these apps will continue to be available and supported (for now), it's unlikely we'll see much in the way of new features rolling out to them in the future. Given Microsoft was spotted toying with a new radial color picker in Word Mobile as soon as last week, it's a striking move, even if not entirely unexpected.

With Office Mobile no longer remaining a priority, Microsoft is likely to push everyone it can to use its desktop and web apps on PCs and tablets. And given the company's embrace of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) as of late, it will be interesting to see if it opts to package and list the web variants on the Microsoft Store at some point in the future.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

78 Comments
  • LOL. "Andromeda". Yeah, I knew that wouldn't survive for long.
  • Not necessarily. An Outlook PWA would be far more useful.
  • - deleted -
  • If you have a Chromebook. It should be native on Windows.
  • Hmm, if Office Mobile isn't a priority, that would mean Andromeda isn't a priority if it's not already dead.
  • not exactly, regular office should run on Andromeda without any issues
  • Office Mobile apps are for devices less than 10.1 inches or below.
  • What size is Andromeda?
  • Expected to be 5-7 inches per screen
  • I think you missed my point. It's a mythical device.
  • Office mobile app are FREE for devices 10.1" and below. They still work fine on larger screens. You just need an O365 subscription. I have them on my Surface Pro and will use them when I have the device in tablet mode with the keyboard detached.
  • Wrong. They are free on 10 or below, otherwise, they require Office 365.
  • Its not free on 950 series.
  • Yes. It is.
  • Free to download and view documents, if you want to create or edit them then you NEED an Office 365 subscription regardless of screen size!!!!
  • Iep. I was surprised to learn this recently. I renewed the subscription and my phone didn't realize it for a while and in that time I couldn't edit anything.
  • UWP is dead.
  • Unfortunately it looks more and more that way no matter what's reported here. Skype isn't on UWP either. Not embracing it themselves seems to be the evidence to its demise.
  • Yupsie. And Teams and the Insider hub is going PWA too instead of UWP. Deadsy
  • How is it dead when Windows Core will probably be the future and that OS will not use Win32 natively?
  • The problem is that with Microsoft we are always talking about the future.
  • Always future? Uncharted, Zelda, COD, BF, drone, arcade cabinet, ATM, surveillance camera, robotics, water meter, Azure cashier, vending machines, Singapore's smart city project, Australia's agriculture, ZPMC, Volkswagen, Nike, organ visualization with Hololens, etc are using MS's dev tools, middleware, business solutions or OS. Already happened? And with Mixer-MsStore, Mixer-Xbox, Mixer-XBL integration...
    1. Streamer can sell products from MsStore and get a cut from the sell.
    2. Devs can open XPA games API to Mixer. That is why "We are Jake" happened.
    3. Mixer can talk to user's game saves. Meaning? New-gen-fan-building, new business model and new typpa user interactions.
    I'm talking about "Legendary Axe!!! Who wants to trade" or "Drop a comment and I'll draw a lucky winner" during a streaming session kinda interaction. Already happened?
  • Err, So confusing is your statement.
  • "Core" is still years away. Plenty of time for them to kill it too.
  • Yeah? Like Andromeda was the future a few months ago?
  • tbh, not everything has to be native. Applications like Photoshop, 3d software, music related, IDE, game development related and games needs to run natively for the power.
    Office is better to go native / local in my line of work. We need Excel Script, we need it to be version controlled, we need it for server / game master data setting, etc. Applications like banking or news websites are better (or ok) to go with PWA,
    1) don't need much computation,
    2) no need much native features
    3) better security when you de-compile the app, the important codes will be on the server.
    * Game and PWA is a bad mix cause you will need to DL and load a whole game into the memory. Applications like ticket system, anything business related is prob better to go with web, not PWA.
    * And it's better to run it on your own local server.
    Why is that you asked? Multiple tabs is useful than JUST 1 tab. You can keep the "list view" and open ticket id 98 and 99 in separate tabs. You don't need to jump back and forth and wait for things to load. And you don't have to leave the ticket you are currently viewing, when you colleague want to discuss ticket 100 with you.
    Say, I'm on https://ticketSys?id=1043 and someone came over and "hey, can you check ticket 1133 for me?"
    I can then alt+d, ctrl+c, ctrl+n, alt+d, ctrl+v, end, ctrl+backspace, 1133, enter.If I want to jump between windows, I can use alt+tab OR, I can just win+left/right, put my windows side by side.
    And when I'm done, ctrl+w (and win+up to maximize my window if I want to).
    If I use ctrl+t instead of ctrl+n. I can use ctrl+(shift+)tab, ctrl+numKey to jump between tabs. Business applications works better with desktop browsers (smartphones normally have 1 view at a time, inconvenient tbh)
  • How so?
  • Yes... Microsoft aren't competing in the consumer space... Only in Enterprise... They had better hope that Chromebooks running Linux don't creep up and bite them...
  • One doesn't equal to the other
  • Maybe they start updating the app with new features if Andromeda comes to fruition and a sellable product?
  • So instead of building the app over that time so they have a great experience ready for the launch of Andromeda, they will stop updating it and leave it behind so they have an inferior experience for the launch? Makes sense in Microsoft world I guess.
  • This is Microsoft, so basically all that fluff is code for "dead".
  • But still keeps getting updates every week ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • So does Windows RT
  • Does Microsoft prioritize anything? lmao
  • Ads powered by AI.
  • Lol!!!
  • One thing I give Satya, he knows how to cut the clutter and reduce the redundancy. I like his approach. Enough wasting resources on dead horses. Satya is pragmatic and he is a thoughtful leader. If I were him, I would have sold that joke Skype already. Enough is enough
  • There is pragmatism and there is idiocy. This is sheer idiocy, as it undercuts any headway for Windows on mobile devices even devices like the Surface Go. They need devices like the Surface Go if they are going to create a fundation for Windows based iot devices as most iot devices are headless.
  • They come out of the web and then go back to the web.
  • Sigh... T_T
  • I have the mobile apps on all of my devices, laptop included. On occasion I will use the web version, but I have rarely used the mobile apps on my laptop since I have O365. Of course I use them all the time on my phone (android), and on my Kindle Fire. It's not a big deal as far as I'm concerned.
  • Writing is on the wall for future consumer devices and a inclusive Ms device ecosystem... Uwp is dead. Software for devices 10 inch and under is dead. Tablet mode is dead. Just get REAL familiar with iOS and Android and windows for niche uses like gaming and engineering... until iOS adds mouse and keyboard support at least and Google's attempts to kill fragmentation and get oems to do a much better job of updates with projects like treble coming fully online. They are both modern versions of what Ms could and wants to be executed properly.
  • I think you mean that iOS and Android are half-assed versions of what MS wanted and was/is in he process of achieving with UWP. The lack of user adoption doesn't negate the fact that MS's tech and vision is leagues ahead of iOS and Android.
  • LOL, good one :D
  • Lol that’s funny. You’re not wrong though. Microsoft has always had vision. It’s the execution where they are pathetic. Sooner or later Apple/Google or someone else will execute Microsoft’s vision.
  • Google brought "UWP" functionality several years ago. Their apps run across everything from phones, tablets, watches, TVs, laptops, and even cars. They have been doing this since Android 3.
  • Windows 10 is a half-assed version of what users wanted.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/9jq85x/the_windows_10_offica...
  • Nope. Ms's vision isn't years ahead or Google or apple at all. Ms isn't even with the now. Everything they've done at least for the last 10 years has been a kneejerk reaction to those companies one way or another bc they EXECUTE. And as far as "...was/is executed with uwp"...uwp is dead. Ms doesn't even use it.
  • Thats what they said about feature 2 branch. Look what happened
  • Too bad, I like UWP apps.
  • As long as they support the web apps version is all good. Better than nothing I guess.
  • I hope they expand the features. I love Office mobile and run it on my laptop and tablet and I find it great. Only occasionally I run into limitations where I have to open up the full version but that's not common. I just wish you could open multiple instances of each app
  • Ugh, bad news. I really like Word Mobile, though it's hard to say why exactly. Maybe because it's a simpler place to write, but then I'd have to admit it's still more or less exactly what's available in the web version.
  • Little personal rant :) Microsoft is moving slowly towards being a saas provider only. Currently windows only makes sense on pc. 1.) Windows on mobile? dead. No, there's never going to be an andromeda device and even if it would come, there is no eco system for it, and Microsoft is not going to create that either. actually, they are slowly killing off everything that would be useful on a device like that. 2.) windows on tablets? nope, nope, nope. Sorry Surface Go fans, but those devices make no sense at all without a keyboard and they're just small laptops. Tablet mode is a joke, touch optimized app ecosystem on windows is a joke and like people already mentioned in the comments, even MS is not focussing on mobile app experiences for their platform (let office mobile die slowly, don't create good lightweight uwp skype app, etc, etc) 3.) Windows and IoT? ha! even (slightly delusional) MS fan Jason Ward can see that IoT (and ambient computing) )is the new computing paradigm and that MS completely missed the boat and is trying to piggy back on Alexa. Basically, the Surface line is nothing else than pc's in different form factors. Microsoft won the PC market late 80's and early 90's and is still king of the pc hill. Google is king of the mobile hill with android, and Amazon is and will be king of the IoT (ambient computing) )hill. In the mean time will MS also miss the boat to chrome OS in terms of lightweight cloud computing for personal use. When in about 8 years the next computational shift takes place, we'll see if MS makes a chance again. but hey, I'm still very happy with Microsoft and Windows on my pc now. So Satya, keep your focus on good services on other platforms because that's still an option.
  • Windows Central should take your comment and post it as a headline story. But they won´t, as they still deny it: Windows on mobile is dead, Windows on tablets is dying and even Windows itself has no priority any more. It is so obvious: Microsoft didn´t tell Windows 10 Mobile is dead, they called it the "feature2 branch" but in reality it was the last step before ist death. Microsoft doesn´t tell Windows on tablets is dead, but they don´t develop their mobile app ecosystem any further, they don´t push Windows on ARM any more and where is Windows Core anyway? I strongly suspect they abandoned it already (hey Windows Central, time to do some investigations in this regard!). CShell, too, loses ist importance with no Windows tablet nor mobile devices, so I also suspect they don´t work on that anymore, too.
    And it even goes further: After the fall update of Windows Microsoft will withdraw a significant amount of developers from the Windows team. This means nothing else than that Windows loses its importance, development *will* slow down. Did I mention that I doubt Microsoft will finish Windows Core and CShell? Microsoft plans less developers, so they reduced their plans for the Windows development accordingly for sure.
    New Surface devices? We will see soon, but rumours already hint there won´t be any big changes, a new CPU, but that´s about it. They don´t seem to be developing the Surface line much any more. Not long ago there was this rumour that in the long run Microsoft wants to abandon the Surface line. Maybe there is truth in it. Better keep it in mind.
    Nadella said Windows 10 is the last Windows. I fear that in a few years we will see the deeper truth in it: It seems clear to me that Nadella is mostly interested in the Cloud business. Windows is not his priority. And I don´t see any fire in Microsofts plans for Windows. Actually it seems to me as if they put the Windows development into a "feature2 branch". And that is not good. Definitely.
  • @elrodeo most of what you write I agree with the exception of Android being King of the hill. iOS is still BY FAR the most profitable mobile operating system out there by a wide margin. While Android may have the edge in devices Apple has the edge where it counts, profit.
  • Oh dear. "Not a priority, but not dead." I've heard that many times before in the last 3-7 years.
    I'm getting the impression this new Microsoft model is a growing fast-paced short lived, ever costly reinvesting, servicing models with increasing half baked features. Am I still investing wisely in the microsoft ecosystem? I hope office 2019 microsoft store apps will not exceed the current office 365 subscription price. That would be a big blow. There are already so many subscriptions, cumulatively….And potentially already several million windows users.
  • Google is getting there and os's are becoming less and less important. I see everything being at the app level in a few years or ai and ml accessible.
    Ms's saving Grace is slow moving companies but that's going to eventually change and when it does, there goes Ms.
  • Heavily promoting cross Plattform development and saying "don't develop for each platform" - I wonder how this fits in the same picture...
  • All of you fanatical haters, WTF is wrong with you? I am so sick of hearing morons whine about every single thing Microsoft does and expected the worst, while boldly claiming You know what is going on behind the scenes and that You knows what actions are best. Give me break. Look, if you have so little faith, and so little satisfaction with Microsoft, MOVE THE FUDGE ON.
  • Already moved on thanks... To Android... It's great over here... :-)
  • You cannot deny the haters have been right all these years. Microsoft has almost had no success with all their consumer projects the past decade. I moved off their services when GMail came out and it was obvious they were going to miss the cloud boat. Even a decade later Microsoft is unable to put out competitive cloud service and is slowly resorting to just being the back end for others services. Microsoft has given no reason to be positive about their future, especially when it comes to consumer products.
  • Unmorphed, I'm so sorry not all of us Windows users are fanbois like you. Of course, if you're the future of Windows then I'm buying a Mac tomorrow. Fanbois are a sign of weakness. Vitriolic Apple haters exist in Android, Windows and Linux. It seems like jealousy? Personally, I have no great love for Windows. I'd happily jump to a Linux distro if it came with a Start menu that worked smoothly and ran Microsoft Office, Google Chrome and Notepad++ or any of the excellent Linux analogs.
  • How come Office 365 OneNote desktop app just ceased to exist. And OneNote UWP became prioritized?
  • it would help if you could use the web apps offline
  • RED LINE for Microsoft Surface Andy: October 2, 2018
  • 🤣
  • Well, then, MS, pls.give us back sharing / export to desktop programs from Edge rather than forcing apps on us that you've "deprecated"
  • It's only a matter of time now...
  • No one uses Windows as a tablet. Windows is a PC OS.
  • "Not a priority" :)) Like I've heard this reason before, for other products that ended up canned! Who on earth can ever believe what MS says? Their past speaks for itself.
  • I thought part of the benefit of the mobile Office apps was they had a shared code base. Shouldn't improvements to the iOS and Andrioid apps be fairly easily implemented on the Windows app too?
  • That's if they use Xamarin for it.
  • If I were Microsoft, I'd be all over Samsung's SDKs to piggy back off of their ecosystem. Just got a Note 9 (moving from iPhone 8 Plus). Mocrosoft should have a News Card for Bixby Home, S-Pen Gestures in Edge and other apps. They desperately need dedicated Photos and Movies & TV apps. (I think they already use S Pen in OneNote, but the entire Office Mobile can be better through that SDK). Same for edge panels. Panels for OneNote, OneDrive, Outlook, To-Do, and even the RD Client for connecting to recent PCs would be super useful. They need to get on that. This phone barely reloads Google Apps, and what is there is largely removable (complete uninstall) because they are downloaded after the device is set up - not built into the firmware. I think you're only stuck with like 6 Google Apps on this phone, and many of those can be disabled. Very nice base for those who are into the Microsoft ecosystem... And amazeballs battery life. Just make sure you set screen to "Basic" (i.e. sRGB Mode) immediately. Samsung needs to stop with that Adaptive Display default... ...
  • Samsung makes great flagship phones but they're irrelevant! "If I were Microsoft, I'd be all over Samsung's SDKs to piggy back off of their ecosystem." Samsung is a bit player compared to Apple in the mobile world and Samsung is the biggest Android fish by a long shot. If Microsoft wants the best bang for its buck iOS is the primary target. Apple is responsible for selling nearly all high end phones, not Android. If you want cheapskates target Android (I say that as a confirmed cheapskate :).
  • “As far as mobile devices go, Android and iOS are the priority for Office going forward.” No S Sherlock. Those are the only mobile devices on the planet. MS has no mobile devices nor a mobile OS. What else are they going to target? BlackBerry? “and on Windows, we are prioritizing Win32 and web versions of our apps.” And with that, UWP is officially dead.
  • I. Told. You. So. UWP is on life support? Win32 is the priority for Microsoft Office development? The touch version is considered legacy? I don't mind that news one bit! My mobile computing happens on Android. My productivity app use is now split 50-50 between Google Apps online and Microsoft Office on the desktop. Two years ago it was 25-75. Four years ago it was 25-75! It's in the last year that I've learned better how to use Google Apps and I foresee a continued decline in the use of Microsoft Office. And, tbh, I foresee my use of Microsoft Office declining because Google Apps are good enough to handle 95% of my needs. The big thing is that I'm still not comfortable with the whole Google Drive thing for organizing files. It's great for simple organization but I find that I prefer Dropbox for the organizing of my thousands of teaching documents that I use annually. What do I need Microsoft Office for? The occasional mail merge. Certain types of database queries that are quick to perform in Access but take a little longer in Google Sheets (which has a fairly robust SQL query engine). PowerPoint outline mode to edit text in presentations (does Google Sheets have outline mode? Hmm?). More advanced layout options in Word.