Microsoft Office is now working on all Chromebooks with Play Store support

For Microsoft Office, this means Chromebook users get the Android tablet version of Word, Excel, Outlook, and Powerpoint. Until now, the Office apps for Chromebooks were mainly limited to Google's latest PixelBook device.

A year ago when Android app support arrived on the Acer Chromebook R11 and Asus Chromebook Flip in the form of beta access to the Google Play Store, it was widely believed that all Play Store-supported Chromebooks would also be able to run Android apps. In practice, the suite only worked on a few devices, and then only for some users. Until recently, Microsoft's Office apps only showed up in the Play Store for certain Chromebooks, but now they are live for all Chromebooks with the Play Store. Microsoft has made its office suite available for a range of platforms over the years, but Chromebook support has been notable by its absence.

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Office apps on Android/Chrome are not as capable as the desktop Windows apps, but they include all the basics plus a good selection of advanced features most people will never touch. As it now seems that all Chromebooks with Play Store access can now download Microsoft's productivity suite, it may be that consumer adoption of Chromebooks will increase as their productivity feature set improves. Now the most commonly used document app suite of all time makes for a Chrome OS environment to be reckoned with. Chromebooks have also been massively popular in schools, where many districts continue to use Office products. Anything larger than 10.1-inches and the subscription fee kicks in. Having Office available as an on-device app could convince Chromebook education users to stick with the Microsoft software after they move away from Windows. The Samsung Chromebook Pro, for example, has a 12.3-inch display, which puts it in the paid bracket.

  • Douglas Reid