While most people are probably buying Chromebooks to use Google's suite of online services, having a fully-offline capable copy of Office is a handy thing to have in the tool chest. Before now, users have been relegated to Google Docs and other Google apps - as well as a handful of Android apps and/or Chrome apps for all their document needs.
These apps are the Android version of Office, which are fairly full-featured, though those who use desktop versions might have a bit of adjusting to do. However, the outlet reports that Office apps would randomly appear and disappear from the Play Store for various Chromebooks. But we understand the Office Android apps will only be free to users with specific devices, while others will need to subscribe to Office 365 to take advantage of the apps. However in 2017, Google promised all launches of Chromebook in 2017 will support Google Play. The only device that seems to consistently have access to working Office apps was Google's own Pixelbook. The Samsung Chromebook Pro, for example, has a 12.3-inch display, which puts it in the paid bracket. (A list of which select devices are able to run Google Play is available here). You need an Office 365 subscription to actually save and edit a document, but if you're paying the $7-per-month fee, you can now fire up the apps on a Chromebook. This is a remarkable and very surprising move as both the companies Google and Microsoft, offer competing products relating to office productivity software. Chromebook owners assumed that the mobile version of Office (which has since been split into separate apps) would work on all Chrome OS devices.
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Microsoft hasn't (yet) provided a comment on the news of the apps' arrival.