That slow clap you hear spreading around the internet today could be due to the fact that Apple has finally added Microsoft Office to the Mac App Store. The package will include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote.
Shaan Pruden, senior director of worldwide developer relations at Apple, says that when the company overhauled the App Store last year, it added the ability to roll several apps into a subscription package with the idea of bringing Microsoft Office into the fold. That lack of bundling had been a stumbling block to an earlier partnership.
“One of the features that we brought specifically in working with Microsoft was the ability to subscribe to bundles, which is obviously something that they would need in order to bring Office 365 to the Mac App Store.”
That’s because Microsoft sells Office 365 subscriptions as a package of applications, and it didn’t want to alter the experience by forcing customers to download each one individually, Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365 explained.
Spataro said that up until now, customers could of course go directly to Microsoft or another retail outlet to subscribe to the same bundle, but what today’s announcement does is wrap the subscription process into an integrated Mac experience where installation and updates all happen in a way you expect with macOS.
“The apps themselves are updated through the App Store, and we’ve done a lot of great work between the two companies to make sure that the experience really feels good and feels like it’s fully integrated,” he said. That includes support for dark mode, photo continuity to easily insert photos into Office apps from Apple devices and app-specific toolbars for the Touch Bar.
A subscription will run you $69 for an individual or $99 for a household. The latter allows up to six household members to piggy back on the subscription, and each person gets one terabyte of storage to boot. What’s more, you can access your subscription across all of your Apple, Android and Windows devices and your files, settings and preferences will follow wherever you go.
Businesses can order Microsoft Office bundles through the App Store and then distribute them using the Apple Business Manager, a tool Apple developed last year to help IT manage the application distribution process. Once installed, users have the same ability to access their subscriptions complete with settings across devices.
While Apple and Microsoft have always had a complicated relationship, the two companies have been working together in one capacity or another for nearly three decades now. Neither company was willing to discuss the timeline it took to get to this point, or the financial arrangements between the two companies, but in the standard split for subscriptions, the company gets 70 percent of the price the first year with Apple getting 30 percent for hosting fees. That changes to an 85/15 split in subsequent years.
Apple noted that worldwide availability could take up to 24 hours depending on your location, but you’ve waited this long, you can wait one more day, right?
By Ron Miller