Office Mobile on Continuum for phones will require an Office 365 subscription from April 2016

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With Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft introduced a new feature dubbed as Continuum which allows users to turn their phones into a pocket PC. With Continuum, users can use their phone to get a desktop-like experience on apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Edge by connecting their phone to a monitor, keyboard and mouse via the Display Dock. Continuum is, indeed, a very nice feature on Windows 10 Mobile and the Office apps are undoubtedly one of the biggest facilities of Continuum for phones.

Currently, Office apps don’t require an Office 365 susbcription when used in Continuum, Now, as it turns out, Microsoft will soon require users to have an Office 365 subscription to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint with Continuum for phones starting April, 2016. In a new blog post today, Kirk Koenigsbauer the Corporate Vice President for the Office team stated:

Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint with Continuum for phones will require an Office 365 subscription, but is available to try without Office 365 through March 31, 2016.

Of course, this isn’t a good idea and Microsoft could shoot Windows Mobile in the foot if the company starts requiring users to have an Office 365 subscription while editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint with Continuum for phones. The  move is difficult to justify given that the software lacks a lot of features compared to the full desktop version, such as macros and VB for Applications, and that the environment itself, which for example does not allow snapping apps, limits how useful the Office apps on Continuum for phones ultimately are.  In addition it undermines Microsoft’s stated plans to bring Continuum to mid-range handsets in lower-income markets, as getting productive work done on a low-cost solution is one of the main selling points for Continuum for phones in such regions.

Hopefully, Microsoft will come to its senses before April, 2016.

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