The Office for Android apps won’t be supported on Chromebook devices from mid-September. That admission was finally dragged out of a reluctant Microsoft.
That leaves Chromebook users with Office on the web and Outlook.com in the Chrome browser. See Two ways to use Microsoft Office on a Chromebook
Microsoft reluctantly admitted their plans after these messages started appearing in the Office ‘all in one’ app for Android.
AboutChromebooks asked Microsoft about this and got the official news with the all-important end date.
“In an effort to provide the most optimized experience for Chrome OS/Chromebook customers, Microsoft apps (Office and Outlook) will be transitioned to web experiences (Office.com and Outlook.com) on September 18, 2021.
This transition brings Chrome OS/Chromebook customers access to additional and premium features.
Customers will need to sign in with their personal Microsoft Account or account associated with their Microsoft 365 subscription. More information is available here.”
There are significant omissions from that short statement (what about OneNote?) so we’re left with ‘sources’ to assure customers that Office apps for Android smartphones will continue.
Of course, Microsoft’s intentions aren’t as pure as they make out. Dropping the Office apps for Chromebook is a significant reduction in functionality for customers, in particular offline access.
The main reason for the change, as usual, is Microsoft’s bottom line. Mostly it’s too expensive to support Office apps on the larger screen Chromebook devices which are rivalling Windows in some markets. Redmond might also believe that cancelling the Office apps might discourage Chromebook sales and push organizations to Windows machines.
Whatever the reasons, the way Microsoft has announced this is very poor and shows contempt for their Microsoft 365 paying customers. Instead of just announcing the change with some months’ notice, Microsoft went for a ‘drip’ approach and deliberately withholding their plans from the customers it would affect.
Firstly, the individual Office apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) started getting a warning message about no longer being supported. We reported on this back in early August.
At the time, it appeared they were moving towards only supporting the ‘all in one’ Office app (which wasn’t getting the same ‘end of support’ message). Microsoft would not respond to queries about the Chromebook message, leaving the future unknown.
It’s only in the last few days that the same message started appearing in the Office ‘all in one’ app too but there was still no announcement or end date from Microsoft. Only when specifically asked did the company come clean, almost.
The future of the OneDrive app for Chromebook is unclear.
There’s no warning message appearing, for now anyway. Microsoft’s terse statement makes no mention of OneDrive.
Most likely the OneDrive app for Android will still work on Chromebooks. But it would be polite and professional for Microsoft to make that clear to their millions of paying customers.