Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Office apps for Windows 10 have been sidelined by Microsoft with no new features planned.
Bad news for anyone still using a Windows Phone. The Windows 10/Mobile apps will continue to work but no more features are planned.
This ‘no more features’ decision appears to apply to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, OneDrive, Skype, Skype for Business, Sway, Office Lens and Yammer. But that’s not entirely clear. For example. there’s no desktop program equivalent for the Teams, Sway or Office Lens apps so it seems unlikely development would stop.
For Windows users, Microsoft is focusing on the ‘Win32’ programs (in other words, the standard Office programs we’ve been using for years) and Office Online (the browser versions of the core Office programs).
Mobile customers will continue to get new and updated features in the Apple and Android apps.
Development of the OneDrive app will continue. Microsoft has already announced the eventual death of OneNote desktop in favor of the OneNote app for Windows 10.
What a shocker – not!
The news might surprise anyone who believed Microsoft’s hype that their ‘modern’ or UWP apps were the way of the future which would replace traditional desktop programs.
It’s not a shock because Microsoft’s customers were not behaving the way the company expected.
Touch only interfaces for Office apps hasn’t taken off the way Microsoft hoped. People insist (rightly) in using a keyboard and mouse with Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. There’s a place for drawing and touch but only as a supplement to a physical keyboard not a replacement.
Similarly, Windows 10 apps purchased from the Microsoft Store have hardly taken the world by storm. The Fluent / Modern interface (it keeps changing name) is clumsy and inflexible compared with desktop Windows programs.
Microsoft had too many Office ‘balls’ in the air; PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android and Online (web interface).
On Windows 10, the focus is on the ‘traditional’ desktop programs which can be installed from your Office 365 account page. If you’re using Windows 10S (which only allows Win10 apps) install the desktop programs via the Microsoft Store.
Keep the Office mobile apps
If you have Windows 10 with Office 2016 then that’s all you’ll probably need.
However installing the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for Windows 10 is a useful backup. If your main Office programs misbehave, the Office Mobile apps can help.