Microsoft will prevent Chromebook users from using the Office apps for Android, and it will push the web experiences instead.
News of this change was first reported by Kevin Tofel at About Chromebooks.
“In an effort to provide the most optimized experience for Chrome OS/Chromebook customers, Microsoft apps (Office and Outlook) will be transitioned to web experiences (Office.com and Outlook.com) on September 18, 2021,” a Microsoft statement explains. “This transition brings Chrome OS/Chromebook customers access to additional and premium features. Customers will need to sign in with their personal Microsoft Account or account associated with their Microsoft 365 subscription.”
Tofel is concerned about this change because the Office web apps don’t offer some of the functionality found in the Android apps, including offline support. I can certainly understand that issue, but I see this change as a good thing: Today, Chromebook users face a lot of confusion in choosing between the Android and web versions of the Office apps, neither of which is a true superset of each other. By offering Chromebook users a single way forward, Microsoft is uncharacteristically simplifying matters.
Of course, this assumes that Microsoft updates the Office web apps to include missing functionality, the key bit being, wait for it, offline support. Anyway, there’s your deadline: September 18.