Perhaps you’ve been holding off on a tablet purchase until Windows 8 arrived. And perhaps you’re keen on having a go at Windows on ARM — what with the greatly improved battery life it’ll likely deliver compared to Intel or AMD tablets. If both those things are true, you’re in for a treat: Windows 8 on ARM will include Office 15 apps.
In Steven Sinofsky’s recent, 8,000-plus word blog post detailing Windows on ARM (WOA) he made several interesting revelations. For one, he stated that the Windows desktop is still a vital component of WOA, and that ARM users will still have access to the desktop and desktop apps. The apps, of course, will have to be ported to the ARM architecture, but it’s good to get additional confirmation that WOA isn’t limited to Metro-style apps.
Also worth knowing is that WOA is going to include the core Office 15 apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Sinofsky mentions that the aim is for WOA to be a “no-compromise product,” and Microsoft knows that Windows users will want access to the industry-leading productivity apps even on non-x86 desktops and laptops. That’s a pretty solid foursome of free apps.
Confused? You’ve got every reason to be. Microsoft does still make a truckload of cash off Office, so it’s a bit strange to hear that they’re throwing it in with WOA. Then again, this is the same company that has already given consumers the ad-supported (but still free-ish) Office Starter as well as free-to-use Office Web Apps. Why not give away some ARM apps, too?
But maybe Sinofsky meant that the Windows 8 Consumer Preview would include Office 15 as well, giving users a chance to test both at the same time. That could be the case, except that Windows on ARM won’t be made available for consumers to download or purchase — you’ll only be able to buy it pre-loaded on WOA hardware.
So what’s Microsoft playing at here? Are they giving away the apps and hoping to tie us in to subscriptions by introducing Dropbox-like storage plans for SkyDrive? It’s already been widely publicized that Windows 8 will feature heavy SkyDrive integration, so Microsoft could indeed be looking for ways to create a continuous revenue stream from Office users — instead of selling folks on an upgrade once every few years.
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