The magic word – includes

Will Windows 8 really ‘include’ Office 15?

Some commentators have jumped to the conclusion that Windows 8 on ARM (WOA) will come with Office 15 applications based on a blog post that said

WOA includes desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.”.

We’ve been around Microsoft and Office long enough to know that you should not make any assumptions about such a sentence.  It’s intended to appear promising but is really vague. The key word ‘includes’ could mean almost anything and Microsoft knows that very well.

It could mean that Windows 8 on ARM is supplied with Office 15 applications in full, but that’s highly unlikely because it would reduce the money Microsoft can make from customers. Why give away something that people will pay for?

More likely ‘includes’ means something less than that. It might mean computer makers will be required to supply trial versions of Office 15 on ARM devices (which you can convert to full versions via the online Microsoft Store), or some variant of the Office Starter edition available for Office 2010 on some new computers, or Office Web Apps are available on the devices. At worst ‘includes’ could just mean that Office 15 for ARM is available for purchase,

We think it’s very likely there’ll be some type of trial or starter version of Office 15 for ARM, if only to assure customers that the new devices have a version of Microsoft Office that works.