As Microsoft was still busy prepping its long awaited touch-friendly Office apps for Windows, the company last year allowed manufacturers to bundle a free one-year Office 365 subscription with Windows 8.1. This eventually attracted a lot of manufacturers to the Windows ecosystem, giving them free OS licensing across a range of devices.
The bundled Office 365 was apparently a sweet deal for just $69.99, as it allowed users to download the full Office 365 suite of apps on their respective devices, and also included 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage as a part of the package.
However, with the launch of the latest Windows 10 for desktops alongside the availability of Universal Office apps, Microsoft is now gradually phasing out the free Office 365 subscription across PCs, tablets and smartphones running Windows 10, barring the Surface 3. Primarily, the Windows maker introduced the Office 365 offer as it its forthcoming Office touch were still under works and far from release. And while Microsoft was making its Office Suite of apps free on other platforms, it made sense for the company to give some kind equivalent offering to its Windows customers.
The company won’t cease the Office 365 offer with immediate effect, as it’ll still come pre-loaded on small tablets and affordable notebooks running Windows 8.1. Though all devices that now come with Windows 10 pre-installed will no longer include a free one-year subscription of Office 365.
Therefore, from now onwards, devices sold with Windows 10 pre-installed, the latest Universal Office apps dubbed as ‘Office Mobile’ will replace Office 365 offer. And given the fact that the company needs to offer Windows 8.1 users free Office functionality, Office 365 offer will be continued on devices sold with Windows 8.1.
Put simply, if users want to avail the free Office 365 one-year subscription, just make sure you have Windows 8.1 onboard, and if they wish it can then be upgraded to Windows 10 for free later.
Which brings us to Surface 3 tablets. It also comes with the same one-year Office 365 subscription, however, the offer on the Surface 3 is apparently separate to the one Microsoft offers on small tablets and ultra-affordable laptops. Given the 10.8-inch screen size of Surface 3, its actually larger than 10.1-inch size limit to theoretically avail the offer.
However, the company hasn’t revealed any plans to chuck this separate offer from the Surface 3. Hence, it seems that the free offer will likely remain on the Surface 3 in the future.
While for users who have an existing Office 365 Personal subscription won’t be affected by the change. They can still continue to use whatever is left of their one-year subscription, which can be renewed. If they wish to upgrade, they can simply uninstall the app and switch to Universal apps instead, which we won’t advise as it is rather limited in its functionality.
Meanwhile, a recent report suggests that Microsoft is also prepping a successor to the Surface Pro 3, which according to reliable sources are expected to be unveiled in October. And with Windows 10 Mobile nearing release, the company will reportedly be launching two Lumia flagships the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL along with four more Lumia smartphones, and are expected to go on sale in November.