MICROSOFT HAS confirmed it is to retire its viewers for Office applications in April 2018.
The services, which allow users to read Excel and Powerpoint documents without buying the Office suite, were last updated for the 2007 edition, but are still available now from the Microsoft website.
Microsoft recommends the free versions of its Office apps as an alternative - for Windows 10, that's Excel Mobile and Powerpoint Mobile from the Universal app offerings. For iOS and Android, the mobile versions, from the relevant app store.
It, of course, suggests the option of Office 365 for a month with all the loveliness that offers, and that's fine - it's a suggestion, not an obligation.
But here's the crunch (isn't there always one?): "On Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 PCs, upload the file to OneDrive and view it for free using Excel or PowerPoint Online."
So once again, Microsoft is making it quietly a little bit more difficult not to be on Windows 10. OK, sure, it's not diabolical, we're talking about retiring some 10-year-old courtesy packages that will leave a few people who don't have Microsoft Office to make a decision.
But given that there are so many freeware options and alternatives out there, both on and offline, it seems bonkers to take away the option for anyone, given that they can solve the problem by using a third party solution.
Microsoft Word Viewer is due for retirement this month and the download page warns: "At that time, the Viewer will no longer be available for download and will no longer receive security updates."
Microsoft may have had one of its trademark changes of heart, however as there are only two days of November left.
The compatibility pack which makes the whole shebang work on older systems, adding support for the more advanced features of Office has already seemingly been removed from the site (or at least we got a 404 page when we tried to download it just now). µ
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