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Microsoft continues mobile push with free Office for Android tablets

Software mammoth makes Word, Excel, PowerPoint available at no cost for rival platform users

Microsoft continues mobile push with free Office for Android tablets

Microsoft today announced that a number of Office products would be free to download for Android tablet users, Reuters reported.

The decision by Redmond to issue free versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint meshed with its ambitions to migrate as many mobile device users as possible to its software.

The software giant also released an iPhone- and iPad-compatible version of Microsoft Outlook and a test version of Outlook for Android.

Microsoft's place in the mobility arena is a humble one, as Google's Android and Apple's iOS dominate. Commentators frequently attribute Microsoft's modest standing to its weak app ecosystem.

CEO Satya Nadella has made clear, since taking over from Steve Ballmer last year, that Microsoft's future still lies in software and services but has heavily advocated a focus on mobile devices. In March 2014 he made the unthinkable move of announcing a version of Office for the iPad, the first instance of a major Microsoft software release for a platform other than Windows. Subsequent downloads by iOS users reportedly number 80m.

Microsoft's long game is simple. By wooing users with free versions of Office, it hopes those users will migrate to its cloud- and subscription-based Office 365, which starts at $7 per month.

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