Microsoft has informed users of Office on Windows Mobile that they will have to have a subscription to Office 365 if they actually want to use Microsoft’s new productivity tool Continuum as marketed.
*Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint with Continuum for phones will require an Office 365 subscription, but is available to try without Office 365 through March 31, 2016.
Now this does fall in line with their previous licensing of Office apps on screens greater than 8 inches BUT come on Microsoft, given the barren app landscape, let alone the low to next-to-none adoption of Windows Mobile handsets, shouldn’t you throw your Windows Mobile 10/Office Mobile road warriors a bone?
Comically the requirement for subscription functionality kicks in on April 1st 2016 – for now the functionality is available for free as a ‘trial’
This is a typical Microsoft marketing/strategy screw up – let’s think about the latest OneDrive debacle. Only now are Microsoft reacting to client uproar and only Enterprise users with subscription will keep unlimited storage. They have ‘apologized’ for the changes being implemented and offered up 15Gb to those who confirm via a certain portal site which is not widely published so probably most people ‘not in the know’ will be downgraded to 5Gb.
This people, is software a a service, subscription operating system for the masses with added on layers of services. This is why the upgrade to Windows 10 was free for Windows 7 and up installations – Microsoft wants to tap into as larger share of subscribers as possible. Yes, while this is just business and monetizing services is what companies do; you can help feel more than a little ripped off and jaded when services as promised or demoed get wound back in functionality and locked behind a subscription.
I think this will damage even further the uptake of Windows Mobile, not everyone is an Enterprise Office 365 user so losing the ability to work on the road or use your phone functionality in the office just got more expensive – and that is on top of paying full price for the off-contract never available to order Lumia 950/XL devices and their overpriced accessories.
More information available here on the Microsoft Office Blog