The Internet is in a tizzy now that editing documents in Office for iOS and Android is free for non-businesses. Remember when Microsoft finally made Windows Phone free for OEMs? We all thought, it’s about time, by which of course means it’s too late. The fact that people are surprised by this particular move means it’s not too late.
It’s actually not that crazy of a move. 90% of Office’s revenue comes from businesses (if memory serves me correctly), so there’s not much cannibalization at risk. Further, Microsoft was never been able to monetize Office on the web or on mobile.
People don’t get Office 365 just so they can edit documents on their iPads; they get Office 365 for the PC and iPad compatibility is just a bonus. Creating and editing Office documents on mobile remains a niche activity; and arguably one that average consumers aren’t currently willing to pay for.
Think of Office on mobile devices as an extension of Office on the web — something free for light users but not a replacement for heavy users, who still prefer PCs with large screens and keyboards to do work.