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article imageMicrosoft Office launches on Google Chromebooks

By James Walker     Nov 27, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft's launched its suite of Office apps on Google Chromebooks. It will help make Chrome OS a viable platform for people attracted to its cloud-first concept but reliant on Microsoft productivity apps. They were previously limited to some devices.
Office has been usable on a few select Chromebooks since Google launched the Play Store on Chrome OS last year. In bringing Android apps onto Chromebooks, it appeared as though Microsoft Office would be usable on the platform without resorting to the web apps. In practice, the suite only worked on a few devices, and then only for some users.
Microsoft has finally released Office more widely, according to unconfirmed reports from users today. Although there's been no official announcement, research by Chrome Unboxed suggests the wait is now over for Chromebook users wanting to use Office. Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook are showing in the Play Store as available to install.
Although Office is no longer the go-to productivity suite it once was, the apps are still widely used by individuals and businesses when it's time to write a lengthy document or put together a spreadsheet. Although Google would rather Chrome OS users rely on its own G Suite apps, not having Office available would always restrict the appeal of Chromebooks and prevent them emerging as versatile productivity devices.
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Expanding Office to all Chromebooks is also of benefit to Microsoft. Naturally, it would prefer people keep using its ideal combination of Office and Windows. However, in a few niche markets, Chrome OS has gained an exceptionally strong following, surpassing Windows in market share.
The platform has performed particularly well in education, a sector Microsoft has long targeted as a major consumer of Office products. Having Office available as an on-device app could convince Chromebook education users to stick with the Microsoft software after they move away from Windows. This scenario works out as a win-win for Google and Microsoft, increasing adoption of both Chrome OS and Office.
Even with the availability of Office, Chrome OS faces broader productivity problems though. Aside from select markets like education, general uptake of Chromebooks is still low. There haven't been any notable new devices in recent months and the rumours of a 2-in-1 convertible device have yet to result in an actual launch. Google's plans for Chrome OS are still unclear, making it an unlikely choice for enterprise investment or professional use.
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