Microsoft Office apps dropping support for devices running older versions of Android

Microsoft’s Office suite is synonymous with productivity in the computing world. With the world becoming increasingly mobile over the last decade, Microsoft has also moved with the times and offers robust productivity apps for smartphone and tablet users on the major mobile operating systems.

On Android, the company has even partnered with some device makers like Samsung to have its Office apps pre-installed.

That, coupled with several other factors working in Microsoft’s favour, has led to its apps seeing a lot of love in the Android world. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and OneDrive, for instance, have registered over half a billion installs from Google’s Play Store alone.

Something worth noting with Microsoft’s Office suite is that the company offers it both as a one-time purchase with a permanent license as well as a recurring subscription.

The latter is available under the Office 365 banner and allows users novelties such as the ability to collaborate and share online as well as access the full Office functionality on a browser much like what one would do with Google Docs but with the full power of Microsoft’s productivity software.

This brings with it a barrier for entry. In order to guarantee a consistent user experience, Microsoft is continually updating its products to meet updates being made to the various platforms it works on, including desktop browsers which get updated with new features every now and then.

Microsoft notes as much:

“Office 365 is designed to work with the latest browsers and versions of Office. If you use older browsers and versions of Office that are not in mainstream support: Microsoft won’t deliberately prevent you from connecting to the service, but the quality of your Office 365 experience may diminish over time. Microsoft won’t provide code fixes to resolve non-security related problems.”

On the mobile front, things have largely been different with users being able to run Microsoft’s mobile Office apps on pretty much any hardware that meets the minimum requirements (i.e. have at least 1GB memory). Starting July 1st, 2019, things will change a bit.

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“Starting on July 1, 2019, support will be limited to only the last 4 major versions of Android,” reads an update made to the system requirements page for Office on Microsoft’s website.

That effectively means that anyone who is using a device running Android 5.0, Lollipop or earlier versions like Android 4.4, KitKat, will be out of luck after the aforementioned date.

Still, this is a better arrangement than what our brothers and sisters on the other side of the fence have as, usually, only the latest two iOS versions are always supported.

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