New version of Microsoft Office for the Mac is on the way, but will it help the bottom line much?

After a long wait, a new Mac version of Microsoft Office is on the way.   There is a free downloadable preview version available from Microsoft, with the official release scheduled for some time in the second half of 2015.

Faced with increasing competition from Google Docs and other lightweight replacements for Office, Microsoft made Office free for mobile devices, and is heavily promoting the online service Office 365.  There are obvious advantages to a cloud based product with subscription pricing, but I wonder if this won’t end up further facilitating the move away from the laptop/desktop Office (certainly as a paid product, anyway).  After you’re comfortable with cloud based productivity, why keep paying for Microsoft Office (at least for the average consumer)?  Google and Apple have switched completely to free application software, but that’s still a key source of revenue for Microsoft.  Perhaps this is all part of a plan, but I’m still not sure how Microsoft will adapt to a world of free software.

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