back to article No fondleslabs please, says Microsoft as Office 365 hits Android

Microsoft has made a version of its Office software available to Android users - as long as they are not using a tablet. Subscribers to Office 365 can download the app for free using Google Play and then spreadsheet away to their heart's content. All that's required, apart from the subscription, is Android 4.0 and a mobile …


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  1. Dave W

    US Only

    Currently only available in US, with no official UK release date. It would have been nice if this was made a little clearer on the article.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, how do you define what is and isn't a tablet?

    How big does a smart phone have to be before it is judged a tablet? 7"?

    And why this strange distinction anyway?

    1. miknik

      How is the tablet block implemented?

      Is it just the standard "device not supported" thing in Google Play or something more sophisticated?

      What happens if you download it from Google Play on your phone, then extract the .apk with Titanium or whatever and try to install that .apk directly on to your tablet?

  3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Please buy our Windows 8 and Windows RT stuff. We'll restrict access to the devices you actually use until you do! If you were able to use Office on an Android tablet (which often have a proper keyboard and mouse) that would be a disaster. Just buy our tablets, eh? Please?

    1. Belardi

      uh.... no!

    2. Mephistro Silver badge

      Deja vu, all over again!

      So, they sacrificed their desktop OS in order to push people towards their tablets, and seeing that it wasn't enough, they are now sacrificing Office. They just left open the door for competition to enter the tablet market. Add that to all the good will that Office 365 is collecting everywhere ;-). The LibreOffice guys must be rubbing their hands non stop since they knew of this.

      We should make a betting pool on what is the next MS product they'r gonna totally screw and make irrelevant while they try to carve a niche for themselves in the cloud, fondleslabs, phones and the rest. My bet is on the Windows Server, because... Oh, wait! That one is already taken!


      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Deja vu, all over again!

        Actually, I use Office 365 on my Android tablet just fine already. It's all down to the browser you use...

      2. Mark .

        Re: Deja vu, all over again!

        Not this again. Windows 8 works just fine on my non-touch laptop.

        I appreciate they've changed the start menu, and as always there will be people who don't like the new version. But if that's the case, criticise the new version - it's got nothing to do with "only made for touch". Indeed, several things in the start screen now make use of the right mouse button; and accessing the start screen in the first place is done by hovering the mouse over the hotspot - don't see how either of those are done on a touchscreen, which presumably must have different input methods implemented for it (I do wonder if the critics have only used a Windows 8 on a touchscreen, and conclude it's unusable on a laptop because they've only used the touch optimised controls, without realising it works with keyboard and mouse too).

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Deja vu, all over again!

          Bullshit Mark. Windows 8 was ONLY Made for touch.

          There is some legacy keyboard/mouse code left in, but Windows 8 was designed ENTIRELY for touch. It's more than just Metro. It's "search as the default interface" and the minimization of a hierarchical structure for application discovery, settings interaction and more. Everything about it assumes you are probing your slab with fat fingers instead of a precision pointing device and and honest-to-god keyboard.

          Windows 8 is a swinging sack of rotting dicks presented to productivity (keyboard+mouse) users as though it were the greatest dessert dish of all time. It's terrible. It's insulting. It gets in the way of doing real work. Worst of all, Windows 8 is about telling the computer user how they are going to use the computer instead of recognizing that it's my fucking computer and it is going to do what I fucking tell it to.

          Windows 8 - and the milled minions of Redmond - emphatically do not know better than I do about how I should use my computer to get work done. Removing choice and herding us towards a means that works for their thinking patterns and particular combinations of neuroses are a dangerous precedent to set.

          Windows 8 has very obviously deprecated every single non-touch input method...and the market reacted clearly. Suck it up. Learn from it. And do better next time.

    3. Mark .

      But is there a non-web version of Office 365 for Windows 8 and RT though? I thought Office 365 was online only - so Android and ios tablets can access it, the same way Windows tablets do?

      The article says "Windows Phone, iPhone and Android phones" - Windows Phone, not RT, so it seems this is something only for phones (rightly or wrongly) on all platforms. And as such, this is no different to any other website that offers an "app" for small-screen devices. If you're on a tablet, use a web-browser, just like laptops don't get the "apps" for the website either. We could ask the same of Google, why do they provide for iphone+Android+web-browser for many services?

      It's true that the full blown Office isn't available for ios or Android tablets yet, but I thought they're working on them. For years MS have made their software available for OS X. I don't think this is really an Apple-style "let's make things only work with our own hardware".

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        "It's true that the full blown Office isn't available for ios or Android tablets yet, but I thought they're working on them. For years MS have made their software available for OS X. I don't think this is really an Apple-style "let's make things only work with our own hardware"."

        Bullshit. "You can use Office 365 on an Android phone but not a tablet." Fuck right the hell off with your "this isn't market protectionism." Yes it is. So blatantly it's got a 200 foot neon sign blinking at passing airplanes.

        Microsoft is not in the business of providing it's software on popular non-Microsoft platforms unless it's back is against the wall. It is in the process of extracting maximum money from it's failing monopolies before it eventually abandons them (or relegates them to "severely reduced resource input" level.) Right now that means "preventing people with Android tablets, netbooks and desktops from using Office 365 downloadable" because that would obliterate their Windows 8 and Windows RT sales.

        In fact, the instant I figured out how to get the web app working properly (both for Google Apps and Office 365) on Android I sold over 500 Android desktops and over 300 netbook/tablets which would otherwise have been Windows 8 and/or Windows RT.

        The non-redmondian-buttsnorkling public does not want Windows 8. That covers most of the planet in case you missed the part where Microsoft actually spent more on marketing their tangible evidence of failure to obtain clue than they managed to get in revenue from their surface efforts...and surface is unquestionable the most palatable Windows 8/Windows RT offering on the market!

        Microsoft do not give any fucks about ideas, opinions or even purchasing habits of those who live outside the Redmondian echo chamber. They get "metrics" and opinions from their closest buddies and pals and design to them. The more they work away furiously at their little isolated self-reinforcing circle jerk the less what they build is applicable to anyone outside their echo chamber.

        That's okay in the short term because they are simply so massive that they can get away with screwing people over and over and over and over again. At least until the alternatives pick up some steam. Then you start seeing what I'm seeing way out here on the pointy end: people getting rid of their last Microsoft endpoint and throwing parties, exclaiming "free at last, free at last, free at last!".

        For a company you hold in such high regard perhaps you should ask yourself why it is that the hoi polloi view them not as enablers but as manacles.

        Maybe if you can wrap your mind around the answer to that you will begin to understand what Microsoft needs to do to win. "Keep telling people how they should use their computers and consistently removing choice over the loud and consistent objections of their user base" is not that path. Providing what people want, when people want it on the platforms they want it is.

  4. MrMur

    And not releasing for tablets because that might eat into the Surface sales?

    Nothing to worry about on that front, MS.

  5. FredBloggsY

    Pity they couldn't find someone who's actually used a spreadsheet to talk about how good they are on smartphones. Can't wait to see Apple's rival on an iWatch.

    Next advance will be photo editing on a single-digit LED display, no doubt.

  6. Fihart

    "We are thrilled......"

    "We are thrilled that Office Mobile for Android phones is available in the US today."

    Why, did you not expect it to be ?

    Well, to let you into a little secret, the rest of the world isn't at all thrilled about the subscription model of Office 365.

    In fact we may come to regard it as the final nail in the coffin of the real thrill that was the personal computer and the optimism and generosity of spirit of its early inventors and adopters.

    Damn you Microsoft -- and all your Works.

  7. Gorio

    "Office 365 subscribers get Office Mobile for Android phones" but not phablets.

    Well I guess Microsoft have answered the question "Is the Samsung Note 2 a phone or a tablet" as I get the infamous message "This application is incompatible with your advice" when I try to download it for my Note 2.

    1. Gorio

      Re: "Office 365 subscribers get Office Mobile for Android phones" but not phablets.

      Oops "device" not "advice".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    with near 70% of the tablet market

    Android tablet support won't be too far behind.

    Yes, Android has broken the Apple stonghold, and iOS is now a bit player.

  9. Robert Moore


    So they will let you edit Office documents on your phone, but not on your tablet, running the same OS.

    Microsoft fails again, and pisses off potential customers.

    1. Mark .

      Re: Why

      Does the Office 365 website not work on your tablet? Honest question. This new announcement is specifically for the new apps for phones (even for Windows, it's WP not RT).

  10. John Robson Silver badge

    Because I want to use my small screen

    for editting documents.

    Is their tablet racketeering not up to speed yet?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The kind of person who would use Office on a mobile phone

    is the same kind of person who builds model ships inside bottles. A rather limited market, I suspect.

    1. RaidOne

      Re: The kind of person who would use Office on a mobile phone

      I build 1/48 model airplanes. A cockpit can easily have 50 parts, plastic and photo-etch, many around 1 mm^2. Of course I work using magnifying glasses and tweezers.

      I am using Polaris Office one way only, that is I sync an Excel spreadsheet from my desktop to my Android phone and I read it there. I would not edit it or anything on the phone, just read the information, like an email address. And this only when I cannot use my 12" laptop.

      Working would be too painful on a phone, even on a tablet - I tried. I have both an Android 10" tablet a Windows 8 (full, not RT) 12" tablet.

      That's why Microsoft does not have a big competitive advantage in making Office, be it normal or 365, available only on Surface or Windows 8 tablet.

    2. wdmot

      Re: The kind of person who would use Office on a mobile phone

      What an insult to people who build model ships inside bottles!

      But you're right about it being a limited market.

    3. Mark .

      Re: The kind of person who would use Office on a mobile phone

      I use OneNote on my Android phone - whilst actually creating and doing most of the work is more easily done on a laptop (and I wouldn't want to do that on a phone *or* tablet), being able to view and make simple edits on my phone is great. This isn't work stuff either, it's things like todo lists or planning for a holiday - if I think of something to add when I'm out, or need to look at something to buy. The small screen is no more of a hassle than using say a web browser or typing emails on a phone.

      I can see it being useful for more straightforward documents too (Google Drive works good, but only plain text). Viewing a spreadsheet or making simple additions might be useful too - again, I don't think anyone's expected to do substantial edits on a phone.

  12. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    So it works (for the usual definition of software "working as designed" no doubt) on Android, but not for a fondle slab. Do they really think this will make anyone buy WinRT instead?

    Maybe, just maybe, they will finally learn that your best business plan is to give customers what they are willing to pay for on the customer's terms.

  13. Kevin Johnston

    Excuse me?

    I mean, I know that phones are getting ever larger screens but just who the hell uses a sub-5" screen to work on a spreadsheet?

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Excuse me?

      It's Office, but you can't really use it.

      Just as Win 8 is Windows, but you can't really use it.

      And Win RT is also Windows, but you can't really use it either.

      Is there a pattern here?

      Let's see if the next version of Windows Server only runs on the Surface, or the Xbox 1 only works online...

      Oh, wait.

  14. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    RT 2

    Bundling (cut down, non-commercial) Office drove the price of RT tablets so high that they never sold. The only reason Lumia's losses are not so damaging is because Nokia hardly sell any. If Nokia have to pay a license for pre-installed Office, they will have to discontinue Lumia to stay in business.

    I guessed Office for Android was on its way. I did not expect it so soon. Ballmer really is restructuring Microsoft. Next guesses:

    Winphone 9 = Android on Nokia

    No Office on Android tablets -> Office on Android tablets pretending to be a phone -> Office on any Android device

    Windows desktop/laptop license cost to double every year

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: RT 2

      "Nokia hardly sell any"

      Actually they have sold about 30 million Lumias - and sales are growing at over 30% a quarter....

      1. Mark .

        Re: RT 2

        Yep, it's the usual metrics where "30 million" is "hardly any" when it's Nokia or MS, but "one million" is a runaway revolutionary success when it's Apple.

  15. frank ly Silver badge

    re. Redmond mouthpiece ...

    Surely, you mean 'Microsoft spokesperson ...'

  16. Quinnicus

    What is wrong with you Microsoft...

    You have been going from SNAFU to FUBAR for the last year or two.

    1. Lyle Dietz

      Re: What is wrong with you Microsoft...


  17. M Gale

    So basically...

    ...artificial fragmentation introduced on a platform where in most cases, one app will run on any screen size.

    Then they can say that Android is fragmented, whilst completely ignoring the far worse state of Windows vs Windows RT vs Windows Phone?

    Maybe it's a plan!

  18. Raphael

    I will stick to to Kingsoft Office.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge


      "will now be able to access, view, and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents"

      I already can, on my Nexus 7 too. And it's free/cheap for a variety of apps that can open office docs.

      Maybe this will work better for round trip, but so far I have not been desperate enough to need to edit something on my phone/tablet. It is handy to be able to read one though, but don't need 365 to do it.

      What next? With Microsoft Skype people will now be able to make calls on their Android phones...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents ..

    Office 365 subscribers will now be able to access, view, and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents with Windows Phone, iPhone and Android phones"

    I don't know how we all ever managed in the days before Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents .. Medieval helpdesk ...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    1. It will only really be usable on a tablet device; and we are using Android tablets because we don't want a Surface.

    2. It needs to be really usable given what it is!

    3. Why is anyone even stupid enough to pay for Office 365; given subscription for this is defacto slavery?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick question....

    ....I know it may get in the way of the foaming mouthed fantards....but has anyone actually tried installing it on a tablet?

    Just asking....

  22. Arachnoid


    Edit a Powerpoint document on a mobile phone ...........Hee,hee Ive never laughed so much

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Office for Linux: world ends

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