MICROSOFT HAS STARTED rolling out a 'tiled' Windows 10 app for its Office suite.
The new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app is essentially just a hub which offers links to your desktop or cloud versions of Office apps, but also keeps a tab of recent documents for quick access.
It replaces the previous "My Office" app which no-one was using with something else almost not quite as useless. There are no actual productivity apps included, though the tiled versions of Word, Powerpoint and Excel are still available, mostly as a hangover from Windows Mobile.
Other Office apps are either UWP-first or in some cases UWP only, with OneNote's desktop edition being retired in 2017.
The good news is that it's available even if you don't have an Office 365 subscription, though you can be sure that there'll be plenty of nagging if you don't.
It will be great, however, for anyone who just wants the free versions of Office 365 apps without the faffing or having to go into Microsoft Edge. It also adds fuel to the rumours that an all-in Microsoft 365 subscription is around the corner.
The idea of a 'hub' is nothing new; LibreOffice and Softmaker are amongst the alternative suites that have their own hub, and it's an interesting sign of the times that the big MS is now taking notes from its open source rivals.
If you are keen to try it, you can download it now from the Microsoft Store. If you aren't fussed, you'll be getting it anyway; it'll be downloaded automatically in the coming weeks and will be pre-installed by default in Windows 10's future builds, the next of which (19H1) is due in April.
Although it may seem like bloat, this actually represents a shift in focus for the venerable Office suite, embracing those who just want to be able to edit and read simple documents, without having to faff about with a subscription.
If Microsoft can get people into the habit of using it, it may also speed up adoption of the web versions of the suite, which Microsoft would really prefer was the only game in town, so much so that it has actually started dissing Office 2019 in its own advertising. μ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score