Monday, July 16, 2012
Posted by Saad Hashmi at 4:01 PM —
Today, Microsoft held an impromptu event in San Francisco, CA to announce its big new Office strategy.
First up the company has announced the Office 2013 Consumer Preview which is available now for any Windows 7 and Windows 8 user willing to give it a shot. The Preview is available to download from the official Office website. The biggest immediate change compared to past versions is the all-new Metro interface, which Microsoft claims is a powerful design that is ideal for touch, mouse & keyboard, and even stylus. Office 2013 will throw in new OneNote and Lync Metro-style apps for Windows 8 while Word, Excel, PowerPoint will operate from the desktop. Finally, Office Home and Student 2013 RT will come preloaded on Windows RT tablets (including Surface RT).
Another vital piece of news is the new Office in the Cloud strategy, which presents big new functionality across the Microsoft ecosystem. SkyDrive will now auto-save Office documents by default and sync across your devices connected via your Microsoft Account. Speaking of syncing, your preferences and settings will also stay in sync across your devices. A new People Card will give you access to your contacts "everywhere in Office" as well as SharePoint integration in the recently acquired Yammer social network.
To add to that, the most surprising announcement may have been Office On Demand. Simply put, On Demand is a new subscription-based plan that gives a user access to internet-streamed versions of Office 2013. Its billed as a Google Docs competitor, though a Windows PC is still required. A subscription will also allow users to use Office 2013 on up to five PCs, as well as receive bonuses like Skype world minutes and extra SkyDrive storage capacity. Finally Microsoft also promised to deliver mobile apps of Office 2013, but no platforms were confirmed (although Windows Phone 8 is kind of a given).
It's a lot to process and its a massive announcement no one could have seen coming. How do you feel about Microsoft's new announcements today.