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Most Chromebooks Will Still Require an Office Subscription to Use Microsoft’s Android Apps

Microsoft has revealed that Chromebook users with tablets over 11" will have to pay a full Office subscription to get access to the Android apps.

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Over the past couple of years, has given and iOS users free access to the Office Suite. Now that can run Android apps, you may expect the same to apply. Unfortunately, that's only partly true.

Chromebooks that are over 10.1″ will have to pay a full subscription for Office. Small devices such as the ASUS Chromebook Flip will be able to use the apps free of charge. “On devices larger than 10.1 inches, an subscription is required to unlock the ability to create, edit, or print documents.” said a Microsoft spokesperson to 9to5Google.

Microsoft Policy

This may seem a bit harsh on Microsoft's part, and some will probably argue that Microsoft is punishing users. However, that isn't actually the case. The changes are part of a larger policy that has been in place for several years.

It all comes down to where you draw the line between ‘mobile' and ‘PC'. One way is to define anything with a keyboard as a computer, but in cases like touchscreens that wouldn't be accurate. Instead, Microsoft opted for a screen size limitation of 10.1 inches.

This applies to devices such as 's 12.9″ iPad Pro and also bigger Android tablets. It's worth noting that bigger devices get the advantage of a desktop version, which is generally better anyway. You can also use Microsoft's web version of Office, which offers much of the same functionality.

The bottom line is that Microsoft's free Office version isn't all that great anyway. It offers limited functionality can often be replaced by Google Docs. More advanced users will likely want an Office subscription anyway, so Chromebook users aren't missing out on much.

However, it's still understandable for users to be upset. The mobile Office apps are great for making minor edits while still retaining formatting. Though you can do this online, it's quite cumbersome and annoying.

It would be great to see Microsoft revise their policy on this, but unfortunately, I can't see that happening anytime soon.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.

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