www.office.com/setup – Discussions about the status of Microsoft’s Office Mobile apps began populating the tech ether shortly after Neowin editor Rich Woods took to Twitter to delcare them all but dead.
In Woods’ defense, his information came straight from the source, he had a disussion with the Office team immediately after a session at the company’s tech conference, Ignite 2018, revealing that the company saw the Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 as legacy software.
Leading credence to Woods earlier discussion, a Microsoft spokesperson has given an official statement to The Verge about the fate of Office Mobile apps for the Windows 10 platform.
“We are currently prioritizing development for the iOS and Android versions of our apps; and on Windows, we are prioritizing Win32 and web versions of our apps.”
Just like that, the Office Mobile experiement is on ice. Despite the relatively neweness of the Windows 10 Mobile apps, they were developed during a time when the company’s mobile strategy was in flux. With no new strategy for mobile, Microsoft has retretrenched itself in the desktop while looking toward a more browser based app strategy powered by the cloud.
While the Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 were arguably more touch friendly than the current Office 2019 or web versions, it seems telemetry is proving that people much prefer using the standard apps when on Windows 10.
As web standards continue to evolve and produce more powerful API structures, developing PWA’s makes more sense for Microsoft’s longer-term strategy. Also, Office on the web is arguably more feature rich than its UWP-powered Office Mobile counterparts.
The news about Microsoft prioritizing Office Mobile apps for iOS and Android over its best development example for UWP’s does call into question what the company plans to do about the bill of goods it sold on its UWP platform?
Perhaps, with the release of HoloLens 2, a full featured software release of the Surface Hub 2’s systems, or an update to Windows Mixed Reality platform, we may seem some updates to the Windows 10 Mobile apps, or find out if it’s all PWA from here on out.