Microsoft Office apps now available on all Chromebooks, boosting their business appeal

After testing the services primarily on the newest PixelBook, Microsoft Office apps are appearing in the Play Store for multiple Chromebooks.

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Microsoft Office may be fully rolling out to all Chromebooks, as the apps were recently spotted in the Google Play Store for Chromebooks, Chrome Unboxed reported Wednesday.

Although Microsoft hasn't made an official launch announcement, Chrome Unboxed found the apps on Samsung's Chromebook Pro, Acer's Chromebook 15, and Acer's C771. Microsoft has been testing the Chromebook apps for the past year, with the features mainly limited to the newest PixelBook, according to The Verge.

Devices smaller than 10.1 inches will be able to download the apps for free, but larger devices require an Office 365 subscription. The new apps appear to be the same as the ones available for Android tablets, according to The Verge.

SEE: BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy (Tech Pro Research)

For business users with an Office 365 subscription and a Chromebook, the additions may help get more work done simply because the familiar Office options are available. Users won't need to use a different app on their Chromebook and their other devices if they use Microsoft Office. This may amount to more productivity and fewer apps and devices needed to get work done.

The web versions of the Office apps have been available for Chromebooks since 2014. Robby Payne, the author of the initial Chrome Unboxed piece, wrote that he hasn't used Word or Excel on his PixelBook since downloading the apps last month, but it could be big deal for others.

"But, for many of you out there, this oversight has long been a stumbling block to using a Chromebook on a more regular basis and this is all pretty big news," Payne wrote.

Requiring an Office 365 subscription may also boost the number of subscriptions for Microsoft. However, a lot of Chromebook usage comes from schools, which probably already have a subscription if they need one, The Verge noted.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. After focusing tests on the newest PixelBook, it seems like Microsoft Office apps are rolling out to all Chromebooks.
  2. Chrome Unboxed spotted Microsoft Office apps in the Google Play Store for Samsung's Chromebook Pro, Acer's Chromebook 15, and Acer's C771.
  3. The addition of the apps could let business users access the popular products regardless of device, potentially increasing their productivity while decreasing the number of apps or devices they need to work on the go.
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