Microsoft has been slowly ditching native apps with Progressive
Web Apps in the Windows Store. In 2019,
Microsoft replaced the native Windows app “My Office” with
“Office”, which is essentially a web app that allows anyone
to access Office.com without opening a browser.
Microsoft is now working
on a new version of the Office app that will replace the app
currently available and act as a central hub for Word,
PowerPoint, and Excel. The new Office app aims to provide a
more useful way for users to search, upload and view Office
documents for free.
Though the Office hub has always been a web app, this new
version will be based on the latest web technology (presumably
WebView 2). As a result, the brand-new Office app for Windows
10 will offer improved performance, reliability, and more.
In addition to performance improvements, Microsoft is also
introducing a new feature that will allow users to open more
than one instance of the web app at the same time.
Microsoft is not changing the interface of the new web app, but
there’ll be a few noticable improvements. For example,
Microsoft is introducing a new cleaner app header and the
navigation button is being retained for tablet users.
As per a statement from the company, the new Office app will
begin rolling out in early June and it would become available
for everyone by the end of the month.
“Users without Win32 [traditional paid Office apps] installed
will be able to view files directly in the Office App for
Desktop, and be able to compare documents [by launching
multiple instances of the app],” the company said in a new
message posted on Microsoft 365 Admin Portal.
For those unaware, the Office app is based on Office.com and it
is free to use with some limitations. It also comes
preinstalled with Windows 10 November 2019 Update or newer, and
users don’t need an Office 365 subscription to use it.
If you don’t have it installed for some reasons, you can always
install it from the Microsoft Store manually.