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Office for Windows 10 will require Office 365 subscription on PCs, larger tablets

Gregg Keizer | July 16, 2015
Microsoft will soon strip the preview label off its Office for Windows 10 apps -- Excel, PowerPoint and Word -- and require an Office 365 subscription to use them on PCs, 2-in-1s and larger tablets running the new OS.

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Microsoft will soon strip the preview label off its Office for Windows 10 apps -- Excel, PowerPoint and Word -- and require an Office 365 subscription to use them on PCs, 2-in-1s and larger tablets running the new OS.

Gabriel Aul, engineering general manager for Microsoft's OS group and the mouthpiece for Windows 10, today outlined the final days of work on the touch-centric apps in a blog where he also announced another Windows 10 build for Insiders participants.

"There are a few changes to the apps coming up that are part of helping them get ready for their release with Windows 10," Aul wrote. "We will also remove 'Preview' from the app names and in about one week, you will need an Office 365 subscription to edit on Windows 10 PCs and larger tablets."

Earlier today, several blogs and media outlets had called Office for Windows 10 done. Apparently, that's not the case.

As Aul noted, Microsoft continued to mark the apps as "Preview" in the Windows 10 Store, Microsoft's official distribution mart for both classic and new-form Windows applications and apps. The latest versions, however, were not tagged with a preview label once they had been downloaded to a Windows 10 device running build 10166.

Instead, the new moniker of "Mobile" has been added to the apps' names, as in Word Mobile, Excel Mobile and PowerPoint Mobile. Aul said that the new names were to distinguish them from the same-named applications in the desktop suites for Windows and OS X.

Previously, Microsoft had said that it would ship Office for Windows 10 alongside the operating system itself. Windows 10 is slated to launch on July 29, with Insider testers getting first dibs and others having to wait until Microsoft authorizes their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs to start an upgrade. The simultaneous debuts are still the plan, another Microsoft spokesperson said in an email.

Microsoft issued previews of the touch-centric Excel, PowerPoint and Word more than five months ago.

But in Microsoft's new world order, nothing is ever really finished. So while the Preview label has disappeared from Excel, PowerPoint and Word, they will continue to be modified, enhanced and monkeyed with, both before July 29 and after.

The licensing terms for Office for Windows 10 have also been updated -- providing more clarity on how Microsoft will distribute the apps, and more importantly, make money from them -- but it was Aul who set the record straight.

In February, Microsoft declined to detail how it would handle Office for Windows 10 apps on PCs, 2-in-1s and tablets with larger screens -- Computerworld called that collection Office Large to differentiate it from the same-named apps for Windows smartphones and small-screen tablets, pegged as "Office Small" -- saying then, "We are trying out a few different scenarios and will share more licensing and pricing details at general availability."

 

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