To date, Windows phone users have benefited from free access to the full functionality of the Office Mobile apps, while users on other platforms required an Office 365 subscription for editing functionality. That’s not changing in Windows 10 Mobile … Unless you use Continuum.
In a blog post that “reveals” that Office Mobile is now pre-installed on your new Windows 10 phone, as if that weren’t always the case with previous Windows phone versions, and on upgrades to Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft also threw out this little tidbit. Literally as a footnote.
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Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint with Continuum for phones will require an Office 365 subscription, but is available to try without Office 365 through March 31, 2016.
In other words, editing documents in Word, Excel and PowerPoint is still a free benefit of Windows 10 Mobile … when you use those apps on your phone. But if you tether than phone to a larger display, as you might with a Miracast dongle or Microsoft’s Continuum-based Wireless Display Dock, then you will need an Office 365 subscription.
This requirement is also true of the Office Mobile apps on Windows 10, iPhone, iPad, and Android. That is, you need an Office 365 subscription to edit documents with Office Mobile on those devices.
Frankly, I’m not a fan of this requirement, though I understand the thinking. My argument is that Continuum doesn’t have enough benefit to put it over the top as-is, and that letting users edit Office documents might be enough, in some cases, to justify the functionality. That is, anyone who actually pays for a new Lumia or other Windows 10 Mobile handset and a Continuum solution (which will usually be made by Microsoft too) is already all-in on the platform. Why require Office 365? (Especially when that crowd is likely to use Office 365 already anyway.) This makes no sense to me.
Anyway. Enjoy free Office document editing with Office Mobile, Windows 10 Mobile, and Continuum through the end of March. Hopefully, Microsoft will change its mind by then.