Google Offers Quickoffice for Free

Google has fired another shot in the online productivity wars. On Thursday, the technology giant announced that its Quickoffice suite of productivity apps for iOS and Android devices will now be free.

Quickoffice, acquired by Google a year ago, allows users to view, create or edit Microsoft Office Excel, Word and PowerPoint files on an iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet. Integrated new features in the free version include the ability to create .zip folders and view charts in Excel and PowerPoint files.

Prior to this announcement, the Quickoffice mobile apps were free only for Google Apps for Business customers, who paid $50 annually per user for the apps, but now the suite is available without charge from the Google Play store or in Apple's App Store to anyone with a Google Account. Quickoffice's previous price for non-Apps for Business subscribers was $14.99 for the iPhone or Android smartphone version, and $19.99 for Android or iOS tablets.

Challenge to Microsoft

Additionally, users who sign into their Google accounts from Quickoffice by September 26 will also receive an additional 10GB of Google Drive storage for the next two years. Existing Google Apps for Business users of Quickoffice will be able to update to the new app.

Google's move is a direct challenge to Microsoft, which has yet to release its ubiquitous Office suite for iPads or Android tablets. In addition to the free offer of Quickoffice, Google also provides Quickoffice as part of the Chrome OS used in its Chromebooks, and the Chrome browser in Windows and OS X can view Office documents.

Microsoft, of course, has long considered its Office suite to be its crown jewel, and releasing that jewel on rival tablet platforms -- especially when Microsoft is barely into single digits in mobile market share, while Android and Apple reign supreme --...

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