Microsoft is planning to bring the full version of its Office productivity suite in the Windows Store with help from its own Project Centennial bridge that allows the porting of Win32 software to universal apps.
A report from MSPU indicates that Microsoft is trying to launch full Office in the Store as it’s shifting focus from the Office Mobile apps for the operating system, which means that the company is also considering a potential demise of the existing Word and Excel versions available on PCs and phones.
While it’s not yet clear what this could mean for phones, such news can only be worrying for Windows 10 Mobile users, especially if Microsoft does decide to give up on Office Mobile apps. Porting Win32 Office to the Store could indeed make sense on PCs, but Microsoft needs to make sure that the final product is optimized for mobile as well and, above all, to offer it free of charge on devices with smaller screens.
The porting job would be made possible with help from Project Centennial, which includes Microsoft’s Desktop App Converter supposed to help bring Win32 apps on Windows 10 and adopt features available in the OS, such as live tiles, Cortana, and others. It’s not yet clear if Microsoft does want to introduce these features in the Windows Store version of the Office suite, though.
It appears that an official statement in this regard would be made after the debut of the Creators Update, which could make sense given the fact that Microsoft would also start working on a new Windows 10 OS update called Redstone 3.
The aforementioned source speculates that bringing full Office in the Windows Store is also part of Microsoft’s plan to make Windows 10 Cloud a compelling product. According to leaks, Windows 10 Cloud would be entirely restricted to apps from the Windows Store, so without Microsoft specifically whitelisting the full version of Office, it would be impossible for users to run the Win32 package.
But by bringing it to the Windows Store, the whole thing aligns with Windows 10 Cloud, while also serving as living proof that Win32 apps do have their own place in the Windows Store. Developers do not really rush to port their Win32 software to UWP, so the full Office project could allow Microsoft to once again be the pioneer of this transition.