Although some may be frustrated with the change, the Office web apps typically offer a better experience
Microsoft is dropping support for its Office apps on Chromebook in favour of the web versions of those apps. On the surface, it may sound like a bad change, but it seems to make a lot of sense for Google’s web-first operating system.
As reported by TechCrunch, Microsoft plans to discontinue support for Office apps on Chromebook on September 18th. Those apps include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook. Microsoft has offered those apps on Chromebook via the Google Play Store since 2017.
“In an effort to provide the most optimized experience for Chromebook customers, Microsoft apps (Office and Outlook) will be transitioned to web experiences (Office.com and Outlook.com) on September 18, 2021,” Microsoft confirmed to TechCrunch.
Additionally, Microsoft noted that moving to the web versions of its Office apps on Chromebooks will benefit customers by giving them access to additional premium features.
And while some may be inclined not to believe Microsoft, the company does have a point. Those who download Office apps from the Play Store end up with mobile apps designed for small, touch-screen devices. I’ve had my share of difficulties using Word on my phone. Putting the mobile app on a Chromebook, using it with a keyboard and mouse, and blowing it up to fit a larger screen doesn’t fix those issues — it exacerbates them.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Office web apps are actually really good and, in my experience, are a suitable replacement for the company’s desktop apps. Plus, Microsoft tends to test new features on the web apps first, so if you’re the type of person who likes to get new stuff before other people, that’s another plus to using the Office web apps.
TechCrunch also points out that the move is likely to help push people to sign up for Microsoft 365.
Of course, if you currently use any of the Office apps on your Chromebook and you want to continue doing so, they will still work after September 18th. However, the apps won’t receive any support or future updates. Additionally, if you launch one of the apps now, you’ll see a pop-up warning about the incoming end-of-support and encouraging you to try Office on the web instead.
Microsoft has documentation that walks users through the process of switching to Office on the web available here.