Microsoft Office Is Now Free on iOS and Android Mobile Devices

What a difference a year -- and a new CEO -- makes at Microsoft. In a huge strategic reversal, Microsoft Office is now free for iOS and Android mobile devices.

Office is a huge part of Microsoft's consumer and enterprise businesses, so the move is surprising. But Microsoft clearly wants to keep customers devoted to Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. "We’re continuing to help people use Office everywhere so they can do more and achieve more," Microsoft wrote in a blog post Thursday.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has pushed hard to make the company mobile-friendly, which is a departure from his predecessor Steve Ballmer. Microsoft didn't launch an Office suite for iPhone until June 2013, and the company unveiled Office for iPad in March 2014. But before Thursday's announcement, the iPad and iPhone versions required a paid Office 365 subscription. The all-new Office for Android is currently in "preview" mode, Microsoft said, and it requires registration.

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- Julianne Pepitone