Microsoft to end support of its touch-first Office Mobile apps in January 2021


Credit: Microsoft

Last September, Microsoft officials admitted they were putting the mobile versions of the Microsoft Office applications for Windows on the back burner. Late last week, Microsoft announced the end of support date for those Office Mobile applications: January 12, 2021. After that date, Microsoft won’t provide any more security fixes, bug fixes or technical support for those applications.

Microsoft describes these apps — specifically Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote — as “the Office apps for phones using Windows 10 Mobile.” Windows 10 Mobile’s final end-of-support date is tomorrow, December 10, 2019. As Microsoft officials said a year ago, company officials decided to prioritize development for the iOS and Android versions of its Office apps and, on Windows, for Win32 and web versions of these apps. As a result, they said they planned to deprioritize the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), touch-first mobile variants.

However, these Office Mobile apps also can work on other Windows devices that are not Windows Phones. Some people use them on Windows tablets, Surface Hub, HoloLens and even the Surface Go because they can be downloaded and used for free. Office Mobile apps are free on devices with screen sizes of 10.1 inches or smaller. I am fairly sure that Microsoft is going to cease supporting these Office Mobile apps for Windows everywhere as of next year. (I asked the company for clarification, but no answer so far.)

At its Ignite conference last month, Microsoft reversed course with its Win32 version of OneNote. Instead of deprioritizing that OneNote 2016 desktop version, as had been planned previously, Microsoft officials said they’d continue to provide new feature updates for it.

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