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Microsoft kicks off preview of Office for Windows 10

Gregg Keizer | Feb. 5, 2015
Windows users finally get a chance to try out touch apps -- three-and-a-half years after Microsoft touted them.

Those licensing terms may not be set in stone, but they're what Microsoft has applied to the Office apps on the iPhone, iPad, and Android smartphones and tablets. Using them on the Windows apps would mesh with Microsoft's goal of enticing consumers to subscribe to the rent-not-own Office 365 and its requirement of a business-grade subscription for any commercial usage on mobile.

But Microsoft could give Windows devices an advantage.

Rob Helm, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, wondered today how Microsoft will license the not-yet-available Office for Windows 10 apps that will be bundled with smartphones and smaller tablets. Currently, Microsoft allows the included-with-Windows-Phone Office Mobile app to be used for business, and could duplicate that with the individual Windows 10 apps destined to supplant Office Mobile.

Or Microsoft could revert to the licensing scheme it applied to the Surface RT (subsequently renamed Surface) and Surface 2 tablets, which came with an odd-ball edition of Office. Those apps could be used only for non-commercial purposes; business customers were required to pay extra.

Touch-based Office apps for Windows have been on Microsoft's to-do list since at least September 2011, when then-CEO Steve Ballmer hinted that the company was working on "Metro-izing" Office. In the fall of 2013, Ballmer -- by that time on his way out -- promised a touch-centric Office for Windows, and set the release order as Windows first, iPad second. Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, flipped the order when he introduced Office for iPad 11 months ago. Since then, Windows users have been waiting for word on something similar for them.


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