Microsoft stops development of touch-friendly Office apps for Windows

Word and Excel icons

Microsoft has confirmed that it is no longer developing the touch-friendly versions of Office apps for Windows

The Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, and PowerPoint Mobile apps found in the Microsoft Store first appeared for Windows 8.1, and development has continued with the release of Windows 10. But now this is changing, with Microsoft saying it wants to focus on the Win32, web, iOS and Android versions instead.

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While Windows versions of the touch-friendly editions of Office are not being killed off -- yet -- you shouldn't expect to find any new features added any time soon. Microsoft is ceasing development of the apps and focusing its attention elsewhere.

In a statement given to the Verge, Microsoft said:

We are currently prioritizing development for the iOS and Android versions of our apps; and on Windows, we are prioritizing Win32 and web versions of our apps.

The move is a little surprising given the fact that Microsoft has been trying to encourage other developers to produce UWP apps. But when it comes to Office, it is the desktop version that is far and away the most popular, so the reprioritization makes a lot of sense. Quite what this means for Surface Hub 2 remains to be seen, however. Unable to run desktop software, it could mean that a switch to focusing on a web-based version of Office is on the cards.

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