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Microsoft get pushy selling Office Add-ins

Microsoft Office Add-ins are about to get a bit more ‘pushy’ with the addition of a fixed ‘Get Add-ins’ item to the File menu.  Part of Microsoft’s continuing and somewhat desperate effort to get commissions from third-party software makers.

Microsoft has been pushing Office add-ins for years, hoping to get commissions from selling Office third-party extras instead of letting vendors sell direct.  It’s the same strategy in Windows with the Microsoft Store.  Redmond has been jealous of Apple’s App Store and their juicy 30% commission (mostly) on each sale but Windows/Office users seem happy to get whatever extras they need without Microsoft’s ‘help’.

Get Add-ins on the File menu

Coming to Microsoft 365 is a more prominent “Get Add-ins” item on the File menu.

The existing Add-ins button on the Home tab can be removed from the ribbon. The File menu can’t be changed or moved down from its prominent position, above even the document ‘Info’ option. 

Another example of Microsoft putting its greed ahead of their customer’s needs.

Of course, Microsoft doesn’t say any of that.  According to them, it’s a “more easy-to-access entry point for Office Add-ins” for an “an upgraded experience”.

Install Office Add-ins

The basic Office add-ins features remain. Click on an add-in to install right away without the Office app restarting. The add-in should appear on the screen, in a side-pane or on a ribbon.

The Add-in’s are shown (“targeted expert help”) based on these criteria:

  • Add-in quality: We prioritize add-ins with high-quality user experience and content, as measured by add-in rating, add-in user reviews, first-run experience (FRE), free trial feature, and so on.  
  • User engagement: We give prominence to popular and well-received add-ins to facilitate easy discovery and access, based on your recent and historical data. We evaluate monthly usage, number of downloads, admin deployment numbers, retention rate, and so on. 
  • Security and performance: We encourage developers to prioritize regular updates for their add-ins to ensure app security, optimize performance, and enhance the overall user experience.  
  • Compliance: Add-ins must adhere to Microsoft Add-in Store policies and guidelines and ensure that safety, privacy, and content standards are met. 

Presumably the cost of the add-in (free vs paid with commission to Microsoft) is also a factor.

The ‘Get Add-ins’ menu item is now in the online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  They are coming to the Windows apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Office for Mac users are only excused this marketing intrusion because there’s no ‘File’ menu!

Do you use any Office add-ins?

We’d be fascinated to hear from Office Watch readers about any Office add-ins they use, like or dislike.  Tell us via the Feedback page.

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