Sweetening the pot

Continuum

Microsoft has a free offer it hopes will incentivize smartphone shoppers to jump on the Windows 10 Mobile platform. That offer is a year of Office 365 Professional, the cloud version of Microsoft’s popular productivity suite.

If you purchase a Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL handset by June 30, 2016, you’ll have until July 30, 2016, to claim your free year (or while supplies last). The offer also extends to current Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL owners who purchased their device on or after November 30, 2015.

One of the perks of being an Office 365 Personal subscriber is that you get 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. That’s not quite as generous as the unlimited allotment Microsoft to offer, but it’s something.

“Here’s how it works – Open the Lumia Offers app on your qualifying Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL or download it from the Windows Store. Choose ‘1-year Office 365’ from the ‘available offers’ list. Enter your email and tap ‘continue’ for instructions to claim your subscription. From there, enjoy access to your favorite Office apps and 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage, valid for one year,” Microsoft says.

The Personal edition allows you to install Office on a single PC or Mac, plus a single tablet and a single smartphone (one each, in other words). Normally it runs $7 per month, or you can pay a reduced rate of $70 for a one-year sub, which breaks down to just over $5.83 per month.

Microsoft’s been trying hard to pitch the benefits of a unifying operating system, that OS being Windows 10. To see its vision through, Microsoft needs to get more users on its smartphone platform — currently only 2.8 percent of smartphones in the U.S. are running a Windows OS, versus more than 96 percent combined for Android and iOS, according to recent data by comScore.

For those who go all-in with Windows 10 across multiple devices, one of the neat things is seamless operation from one gadget to another. Microsoft’s Continuum feature combined with its Display Dock is especially intriguing, as it allows Windows 10 Mobile phones like the Lumia 950 and 950 XL to act as a PC by scaling apps from the mobile display to a monitor or TV. For some, the combination could negate the need to bring a laptop on the road during business trips.

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