Ina Fried

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Microsoft Brings Office to Android, but With Strings Attached

Microsoft on Wednesday followed through on its promise to bring Office to Android.

The app, much like the one for the iPhone, brings the ability to view, edit and create Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents — but only for those who subscribe to Office 365.

Unlike with the iOS app, customers will have to already have an Office 365 subscription, while Apple customers can buy from within the app. (Presumably, that was something Apple had mandated in the long discussions that predated the app’s availability.)

Microsoft plans to bring Office for Android to 33 languages and 117 markets, but initially it is only available in the U.S. Additional technical details are on Microsoft’s website.

The fact that it has taken this long for iPhone and Android versions of Office — as well as the restrictions — indicate the competing factions and goals within Microsoft.

The Office unit clearly needs its products to be available where the customers are, while the Windows and Windows Phone teams have benefited from having a corner on the market when it comes to Office on phones and tablets.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus