Chromebooks have an array of features and conveniences that make them the best productivity devices, one such feature was the ability to run Android apps on them which allowed us to access popular apps easily on our laptops. However, it looks like Microsoft is not too pleased with that being a possibility as starting September 18th, the Microsoft Office apps for Android will no longer work on Chrome OS.
This will include both the unified office app that launched last year and Outlook as well. Microsoft confirmed this news to About Chromebooks after some users began seeing end-of-support notices while using the apps. The goal is to move users to web-based experiences, namely Office.com and Outlook.com. These are free to use, but the feature set there is limited.
This does not come as that big of a shocker as we know Microsoft has a policy for the Office Mobile apps that requires you to have a Microsoft 365 subscription if you wish to edit files on screens larger than 10.1″. By loading the Office apps on a Chromebook, you’d either not be able to edit files, or you would basically be going around Microsoft’s policy.
In case you are paying for Microsoft 365, this may seem like a downgrade to you, what you can do is install the web experience as a progressive web app(PWA) and create files from there with relative ease.
However, opening an existing file just opens a new browser tab, so the experience is not centralized around the app. In addition to this, you cannot use these apps at all when you are offline, at least for now.
A few years ago, Microsoft also had Office “mobile” apps that would work across Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 for PCs, and for a while, you could freely edit documents that way.
Nowadays, though, Windows PCs ship with a unified Office app that directs users to web versions of each of the apps. That is exactly what is happening with ChromeOS now.
However, there is a difference, Windows PCs still ship with a Mail app that lets users add multiple mailboxes from different providers, similar to the Outlook app for Android.
Outlook.com supports only two accounts, and you can only add a Google account in addition to your Microsoft account.
Hopefully, this experience will be updated at some point to make email management easier across different accounts, Microsoft has been rumored to be replacing the Windows mail app with a web-based experience, too, and it would not be ideal if that experience had lesser features than the current app.
To clarify, Microsoft’s Office apps for Android will continue being supported, just not on Chrome OS. If you are using an Android phone or tablet, everything will continue working as normal. As a reminder, Microsoft claims that its apps will transition to a web experience on September 18th.
Source: XDA Developers