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Why is Microsoft’s giving away free Office for iPad, iPhone, and Android

The key here appears to be a strategic move by Microsoft to keep Office competition out of the mobile space.

There’s a play here to get consumers using OneDrive cloud storage and a Microsoft Account. Both of these can help Microsoft tempt consumers over to Office 365 for additional storage and the added benefit of Office for PC and Mac as part of a subscription.

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The key here appears to be a strategic move by Microsoft to keep Office competition out of the mobile space. It’s all too easy for competitors to build rival products and ship them for free on iPad, iPhone, and Android, offering premium features on top. Microsoft’s Office suite is dominant, which also means it’s ripe for disruption. If there’s a rival Office iPad app that’s free and easy to use, that could tempt consumers away from their preconceived reliance on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

The nightmare situation for Microsoft is that consumers realize soon that they don’t need Office to create their resume or personal documents, so why should they pay for it on a smartphone or tablet where they’re used to getting free apps.

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