Microsoft is streamlining Office availability on Google's Android platform. The company says it will end support of Office apps on smartphones and tablets on older Android versions. Specifically, support will end for devices running KitKat (version 4.4) and Lollipop (version 5.0).
Office app support had already been stopped on Android devices older than KitKat (Jellybean and below).
Microsoft says the change will come into effect from July this year. Users still with those devices can still use the Office apps, but they won't get any new feature update or any security patches. Users on those legacy Android builds without the Office suite will not be able to download apps from the Play Store.
It's no surprise to see Microsoft cut off support for older Android builds, considering there have been five new versions since. Office is still fully available on the following Android versions:
- Android Marshmallow (version 6.0)
- Nougat (version 7.0)
- Oreo (version 8.0)
- Pie (version 9.0)
- And Android Q (version 10.0), which will launch later this year
While it is not surprise, it is worth noting Microsoft is cutting off millions of users. Android is so fragmented that KitKat and Lollipop are still on over 22% of all Android devices. Considering there are over a billion Android devices in the wild, around 200 million people will be cut off from Office apps.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this decision is Microsoft has yet to cut Office support on Windows 10 Mobile. The company's failed mobile platform is no longer supported, but Office apps on Windows 10 Mobile are still receiving updates.