In 2016 you'll have to pay up to keep editing Office files when using Continuum on Windows 10 Mobile

Windows 10 Mobile users who download and use the free Word, Excel and PowerPoint Office apps will have to pay for editing privileges if those apps are used in Continuum mode. The company says that will go into effect starting on April 1, 2016.

In a post on Microsoft's official Office blog, the company stated:

"Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint with Continuum for phones will require an Office 365 subscription, but is available to try without Office 365 through March 31, 2016."

In other words, if you own a Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL and connect the optional Display Dock to use the phone like a PC on a big screen monitor, you won't be able to edit documents on Word, Excel or PowerPoint without a paid Office 365 subscription starting on April 1. While this may seem odd, it is also reflective of Microsoft's current policy that editing on Office apps with screens larger than 8 inches will need a paid Office 365 subscription.

Source: Microsoft (opens in new tab); Via: Neowin

401 Comments
  • I don't get it, W10M on mobile already refuses to edit documents without a 365 subscription.
  • Reset your phone maybe, I am able to fully edit in each of the apps.
  • Works fine for me.   No surprise on this new requirement either.
  • I hope it includes a new version that supports excel macros. Then it would seem worth the cost.
  • Logout and again login with your ms account inside the office apps.
  • Thanks I reinstalled the app and it worked! I wish we could use it for free forever though. Then we can have at least one advantage for using an OS made by MS (considering many MS apps apparently run better on iOS and Android), and it would be a nice way to compensate for the app gap. I know the app gap isn't MS's fault, but we need every advantage we can get, and clearly there aren't that many.
  • You can use it for free forever...on Mobile natively. Continuum increases your screen size so their rule of being free under 8.9 inches or whatever , still remains true
  • If your business or university uses O365, you should be able to keep using it even after you leave the establishment. At least, that's been my experience.
  • Still, that's stupid. If you have it on your phone and it works fine, connecting to an external screen shouldn't matter. Yet another example of Microsoft shooting themselves in the foot. This should be no charge on Windows Phone, charge on iPhone and Android. Then again, they've pretty well killed Windows Phone anyway, so this won't affect many people.
  • Not a right step. Why would ppl then go for continum .. We are running on mobile it should be free?
  • Me too. Microsoft just lost a sale. I was going to get a phone running Continuum in the new year because I have always been interested in the idea of having a phone that could dock with a monitor to give a full PC experience. Now I will be keeping my 735 and running the mobile version of Office by Miracast even though the experience is not as good. I am not going to pay to subscribe to office 365 when I have the full version of Office 10 professional on my laptop and Office 11 for Mac on my desktop. Both of these have more features than I will probably ever need in an office suite. I have no intention of moving to a subscription model. If Microsoft want to monetise these apps they should charge a reasonable amount for the app such as the £6.99 Apple charged for its iWork apps before it gave them away with new phones and iPads.
    Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Apps are dumb down version of full software
  • In your opinion. To me there is no difference between an app and a program. They may not have all the features but they are still powerful programs. For instance Pages on the iPad can insert pictures, tables, text boxes, columns, 3D and interactive graphs etc. Not too many years ago, even desktop PCs didn't have all these features. Posted via the Windows Central app
  • Me too! I was so annoyed about that. If that's actually the case, I think anyone who buys a Lumia (especially a high end) deserves at least a year of free 365.
  • I agree,I bought my kids a £50 windows tablet that came with a year of O365 and my £450 phone doesn't include it?!?
  • Smaller Windows 8.1 tablets generally came with an Office 365 subscription, as did some WP8.1 phones (some variants of the 640 and 640 XL for example). Windows 10 tablets generally don't come with an Office 365 subscription. So the direction is away from Office 365 being included with devices.
  • I saw that today when I was showing continuum to a coworker.
  • Edit on big screen with continuum. When done, unplug from dock, and save. :) I wonder if that would work.
  • @AccentAE86. Well, you've just set the cat amongst the pigeons lol...
  • I'm willing to bet editing is disabled once the adaptive UI goes beyond 8.1in. I guess one could always buy a 7in display if they exists
  • You didn't get edit curser on document on continnum mode how can you modify on big screen, you can edit on phone but when you switche edit it will be locked, but via miracast it will be done : )
  • You can't. Ever try Office Online? You'll be presented a read only document at first and need to click on edit icon to edit the document on the web. It's similar to that.
  • I had to subscribe from day 1 on my 950XL in order to edit....
  • If I'm waiting in front of a computer and my stuff is synched to OneDrive, why wouldn't I just use the free Word web app to edit?
  • Disconnect your Outlook account from all Office apps, restart your device and reconnect your Outlook account. That fixed it for me.
  • Reinstall the apps. It works, no need to pay
  • Dont you have to do that now - even on the phone? When I first got my phone, there was a fluke with getting logged in and Word wouldnt let me create a document. It said I needed a subscription to create docs.
  • Reinstall the apps. It's a common issue
  • I got it fixed, but that message led me to believe it was a requirement to have a subscription. I have a subscription, so I assumed thats why it started working.
  • The $650+ we're paying for the device aren't enough :-/
  • Agree
  • I mean how much do you want for free? If you pay a few hundred grand for a home, should the utilities be free? It's a paid system already for everyone else, why should you be special because you bought a phone?
  • Because that money for the phone is going directly to the company providing the service. When you buy a house the electricity/gas company doesn't get any of that money. It's not unreasonable for someone to want a little bit extra for their investment. Of course Microsoft aren't obliged to provide said benefit, but it would be a better incentive for potential buyers, and also if they just give a year for free then one people are accustomed they are more inclined to keep the service going.
  • Actually it is pretty unreasonable. How many other products are the same? When you buy a PC with Windows you don't get permanent use of Office 365, you still have to pay for the sub. You buy the phone, you can use the mobile app for free, if you want to use the desktop version, you have to pay. When you buy an Xbox, you don't get a lifetime sub to LIVE. Your investment is the product that you purchased, never was it advertised that you would get a free sub to Office, so why would you just assume that's added?
  • Your argument falls flat in that often when you buy a computer you get windows for free, which technically is a separate service (yes, it is required, but someone could purchase an OS seperately). Also I assumed nothing, I pointed out why people might wish the service is provided when they have bought an expensive device from the same company, I didn't say they have to provide it, simply made an observation as to why they could and also the potential for increased income in doing so.
  • Windows is MOST DEFINITELY included in the price of a brand new device. OEMs of Windows based devices pay Microsoft good money to bulk license Windows. They install the software on hundreds of thousands of devices each year. They aren't just suddenly going to deduct that per-license amount when selling you a PC, tablet or phone. Would you do it if you were in their shoes? No, because you'd lose money that way. You may not realise it upon checking out, but Windows is definitely included in the price
  • Ok, wrong choice of words, drop the *free* and my point still stands. You are getting an extra service included when you purchase a computer. Oh, and while not in the case of windows but I'm the case of Office I would 100% advertise one year free Continuum access to 365. After that people will pay their subscription and likely be more inclined to do so. It's a very common marketing technique.
  • Ok so you buy a phone and you get up to 6 months free use of the service. 
  • Except it was never advertised as that, how are people not getting this?
  • No. Windows is always included in the price of a new computer. You can get a machine without an OS on it and you will have to pay less.
  • Does that mean that Its free on Tablets of upto 10 inches... But if its connected to External display, The Modern Office Apps will refuse you to edit the files?? Thats bullshit and MS is ******* on WIndows Fans... Will they also stop People to AirPlay their screen to bigger screens when using apps??
  • So if you buy one Microsoft product, you should get another product or service for free? What kind of logic is that?
  • Didn't they throw the bone of free Office365 Personal with low-end Tablets with Win8.1?? Why not do the same here especially when they have non-existent share in mobile.... I don't think they actually want to succeed in mobile. They are pushing people towards iOS/Android so that they have 1 less platform to support...
  • Completely agree that, at least as long as Windows mobile remains completely unloved, it would be a very nice bone to throw to their loyal customers to let them use things like Office for free on their device. Right now, Microsoft needs to be kissing Windows Phone users butts.
  • LOL the self entitlement is real
  • I hope you're taking about MS' self entitlement. The 950 phones are hundreds of dollars. Quite literally the only feature they have that competitors don't is Continuum, and the features they do have are buggy and lacking. That means that pretty much anyone that bought the phone bought it for Continuum, and pretty much the only thing that's really useful about Continuum is that it's a way to quickly turn your phone into a productive work station. Now, without any notice, MS are going to start to charge extra for what was the main selling point in the first place. I happen to have a 365 subscription through work, but if I didn't, this would really, really hurt my experience. I think a class action suit might be in order.
  • No, I mean YOUR self entitlement. Do you really thing MS has any obligation to "kiss your ****" News flash, they are making a ton of money off the office program, and many of their other programs. If they shut down Windows Phone and got out of the mobile game, it's not going to kill them. So there is NO need for them to kiss your ****. And a class action suit? for what?
  • Of course they have no obligation to do any such thing. That said, I, of course, have no obligation as a user of their products to say nice things about them.  Since they aren't going to treat my satisfaction like a priority, I'm not going to mince any words about the lack of quality of their products.  And their mobile products are, unequivocally, awful. And I explained what a class action for.  They offered a phone with the primary selling-point of being able to use your device to work in Office with a mouse, keyboard, and big screen.  And now, out of the blue, they have decided to charge extra for what was a core feature.  That's bait and switch.  Imagine if I sold you a car which I advertised as one of the safest on the market and then, a few weeks after you brought it home and drove it around, told you that the windshield wipers would only keep working if you bought a subscription to my "Wiper 365" plan.  You'd be pretty ****** and probably entitled to compensation. Lastly, Office may be the golden goose, but the world is quickly going mobile.  The entire Universal app system depends on there being a universe outside of PCs.  Thus, success in mobile is absolutely essential to the future of the company.  They will not succeed unless they throw Windows Mobile users some bones.  Why would anyone use their products if they offer no compelling advantages over their competitors'?  They wouldn't and, guess what, they don't! A poster below said it just right: MS knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.  Happy customers are what has made Apple the biggest tech company in the world.  Nadella seems to know this: he has said he wants people to love using Windows.  Well, Windows is pretty garbage, right now, especially on mobile.  One way he can make people feel a little better about their MS purchases is to stop nickel and diming them.
  • The problem is they didn't specify that when the phone released. My wife will be livid. That should have been 100% clear before purchasing the phone.
  • I do not know the usecase of your wife but for any non-professional user office online should be more than enough when using continuum. If she is using it professionally, well it should be ok to invest some money in it. And the app description actually always said that it was free only for phone screens and small tablets, just saying...
  • Actually it is free for DEVICES with a screen up to 10". What you do with Continuum is using Office from your phone not from, again, a DEVICE with a screen bigger than 10" ; personally I do not care because I have Office 32 bit and I have no interest in Continuum but stretching the logic of "what matters is the screen" it could also mean that if you use a multiple monitors system you should have the same number of OS licenses.
  • I think that in continuum mode all the functionalities of the PC mode are enabled so that's why, it is not a dumbed down version of the product.
  • No what matters is the software that is being used. On a device with a screen less than 10" you are getting the mobile version of the app, which is free, when you enable continuum, you are getting PC functionality, which is the paid version of the app. I don't get why people can't understand this.
  • Honest question from a non-950 user. Is the version that is used the full PC version? Like, does it have all the macro functionality that are stripped out of the mobile version?
  • @Axmantim, that was a poor analogy. Utility companies do not get a slice of the home sale pie. That would be just absurd.
  • So, should the real state agent give you free utilities? This is absurd. What did you people not complain that MS didn't give you office for free when they provided (sold or through OEMs) you with the OS.
  • I agree considering its not free on ios/Android why not charge your users who use containeum
  • Because Google and Apple's respective office suites are free on their devices. Considering how small a market share Windows Phone/Mobile has, one would have thought MS would do all they could to increase it, even if the Office subscription was only free for a limited period. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Office on your phone is free. To use office on big screen itch continuum you have to pay? Doesn't make sense bruh?
  • Editing priviledges are already free through Word Online. I don't understand the point Microsoft is trying to make here.
  • Even if you buy the most expensive computer/laptop you have to pay.
  • The device is separate from the software. They charge for desktop Office. Its not a free product. Is it free on a Surface?
  • Um actually, a real desktop version of Office 2013 is completely free on the Surface RT/2. And you can attach a monitor, keyboard and mouse to it and still use it for free.
    Paying a subscription for using some half-assed mobile version doesn't sound that attractive now, does it?
  • RT is dead Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It was only free on the now long dead Windows RT line. On the Surface Pro line it has always been paid.
  • It's free to use on your phone.
  • If use it in Continuum you are essentially use the desktop experience which you have to pay anyway so office 365 all the way.
  • But with a few less options.
  • Yes. This will really make a difference for MS' sales.
  • You don't get it free with the Surface Book either, and you pay a LOT more for a Surface Book. The price of the phone is for the hardware, not extra software. 
  • MS had done a promotion bundle with L640 + 1-yr O365 sub. And the price was cheap enough. Should MS want to leverage Continuum, I think it's good to do the same bundle with L950/XL. Maybe MS changes the strategy with 'trial' for free Continuum experience until March. But then, MS should tell this beforehand. Some people might feel deceived.
  • Wrong analogy my friends... I buy a blender, I buy fruits... But I don't pay every time I want to make juice in my kitchen? Simply put: this pure greed M$! We've paid a lotta money for both a phone and a display dock, why should we pay for making documents... In my kitchen :)
  • In your kitchen yes but you have to buy still the fruits. Get it? :) your analogy said it all. Microsoft is a Software company. If you buy the Acer Jade with Continuum what has Microsoft from it?! Don't look at Microsoft as it owns you something if you buy a Lumia. Just think of it that there are others that will have Continuum too and Office is a service and not a function in the OS, its not like its the start screen or the settings, its a seperate service. Pay for it if you want to use it on a bigger screen.
  • Good thing I have a subscription but I'll probably use this maybe once or twice in my phone's life.
  • Soooo... I might have got this wrong, but if I mirror my screen, instead of put it in continuum mode, I can still edit for free?
  • Let's wait for it until 1 April. MS loves keep people hanging & makes awkward surprises.
  • Mirror and continuum are two different things...continuum allows you to use desktop version of that mobile app,(universal apps) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yeah I understand that... That's why I said it... Effectively you have two different modes of connecting to an external screen; mirroring and continuum. If I understand it correctly, you would have to subscribe to use Office in continuum, whereas switch to mirroring mode and Office reverts to being free again, even on the very same large-screen tv/monitor... Kind of makes a mockery of the whole greater than 10-inch pay threshold don't you think?
  • Isn't office on the web free to use or am I wrong?
  • Exactly. Microsoft should let you use the version that does not contain all the features, but allows editing an creating basic documents, as a free app forever. If you want the full version, then yes you can subscribe to the 365 version. With Google and Apple both offering free versions of their own office suites, this is going to kill continuum before it even gets started. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Exactly. I can use Word for free on my phone and PC so buying a sub for occasional continuum use is ridiculous.
  • OneDrive fiasco. 2.0...
  • LOL comment fiasco 2.0 . This is only logical be happy that it is free on mobile for editing too.
  • So a small windows tablet for 50€ can get a free year subscribtion to a office 365 and a 650€ phone can't ? Dont even get me started!
  • What's there to get started on? Promotions aren't on every device and there isn't much allure for a low powered windows tablet. I didn't buy my phone so I could use it for office, and anyone that did, should really be paying for 365 anyway. So many people want something for nothing and it's really sad.
  • Disagree. I was going to buy one of these phones purely for continuum. Most people upgrade their phones on a two year cycle, would it have hurt MS to allow these users to use the cut down version of Office for this period of time, knowing that they would probably stay with Windows phones whilst this feature was available. I can't understand why MS can't see the value in attracting customers to the mobile phone. Steve Jobs understood it when he said Apple actually had iOS on an iPad before the iPhone, but he put the iPad on hold because he realised the future would be in mobile phones. A mobile phone costs more than a PC and almost as much as a Surface tablet, but probably costs much less to manufacture. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I agree, it's a bad idea. Windows phone is already at like 3%. What would it hurt? Being that Office is available now on other mobile platforms, that could be a good differentiator if only for a year or two.
  • It would make more sense for them to make this feature free to help promoting their phones...oh wait they are not trying to promote their phones. Nevermind.
  • i understand they wanna charge for using Office on a bigger screen, but it'd be nice if they gave like a one-time-buy Office version for mobile.
    and it'd be even nicer if that came bundled with a Display Dock.
    now that gives customers satisfaction and MS the money.
  • +735 Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Right on!
  • Well, I know that they have to make money, but this news