Windows 10 and Office Mobile apps signal the end of most free Office 365 offers

Windows 10 begins a new era of working with Microsoft's Office apps (Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote) on tablets and touchscreen notebook. It also means that Microsoft will soon no longer offer a free one-year subscription to its Office 365 service for those kinds of devices, according to a new report.

Microsoft launched the universal Office Apps, built specifically for touchscreens, for Windows 10 tablets alongside the release of the OS itself on July 29. As Neowin reports while these free apps don't have all the features of their Office desktop counterparts, they do have most of the features that users will need to create and edit documents for free.

As a result, most Windows 10 small screen tablets and notebooks won't come with a free year of Office 365. The offer will still be available for those kinds of devices sold with Windows 8.1 pre-installed, but it's likely those products will be slowly going away in favor of ones with Windows 10. There will be one small exception; the Surface 3 tablet, which is now sold with Windows 10 pre-installed by Microsoft, will still come with a free year of Office 365 Personal.

Neowin got an official, if somewhat vague, response from a Microsoft spokesperson about their plans to phase out the free Office 365 office on some devices:

"As part of our company strategy to reinvent productivity, we want to enable productivity for people on every device, whether Windows, Android or iOS. So we've made Office available on all of these platforms and across desktop PCs, tablets and phones. As we've disclosed previously, many Windows devices 10.1" and smaller will come with Office Mobile. Customers can purchase an Office 365 subscription to use fully installed Office desktop and mobile applications and get access to Office 2016 and the latest new features as they become available."

If you are set on getting a new tablet or notebook with the free Office 365 offer, your best bet is to get one now with Windows 8.1 pre-installed, and then when you have signed up for the free year, you can then safely update that device to Windows 10.

Source: Neowin

John Callaham