Monday, March 18, 2013

Microsoft released Office 2013

Microsoft has opened the New Year with a bang. 
It has launched a new Office suite and this is great news for all those who have been teased enough by the Time To365 campaign on Twitter, the past few days.

Gotham City – Launch Pad
As Microsoft launched, Office 2013 in New York City’s Bryant Park on January 29, it was initially available as a RTM version in October 2012, with a downloadable preview version also present.
The re-designed and improved Office suite is said to contain features suited for supporting cloud computing and services, touchscreens and the buzzing, social networking space. 
The best part is, it can run on Windows RT based devices even though it was designed primarily for the Windows 8 platform.
Subscribing to Office
Microsoft has also used Office 2013 to introduce a new subscription-based Office 365 Home Premium version. 
This version is easily downloadable and can be installed locally. 
Users will be paying about $100 a year for the Home Premium version of Office 365 and $150 for the Small Business Premium version. 
This also signals the chance of policy from the earlier pay once for installing in one machine concept.
The $100 subscription is being offered as a bundle. 
This involves running Office 2013 in five computers, including Macs and 60 minutes of free calls on Microsoft Skype and up to 20 GB of extra cloud space on SkyDrive.
The Home Premium tag will ensure access to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher and their installation on up to five computers. 
The Small Business Premium edition would include access to InfoPath and Lync, in addition to the Home Premium privileges.
The boxed version for retail sale is to cost $140 for the Home and Student edition, $220 for Office Home & Business and $400 for the Office Professional edition.
Improved Office Suite
The new Office 2013 is loaded with more cloud based features than the older versions. 
This includes an option to save files directly to its SkyDrive cloud service.
Microsoft has been working real hard to equip Office with various features to keep its 1 billion users happy. 
These include a plan to constantly update Office periodically with newer features. 
This means that Office 2013 will be constantly updated with features instead of waiting for the next updated version of Office, as was the case earlier.
Support for Third Party Apps
Microsoft is also trying to improve the apps available for Office, by creating an app store for enabling developers to share their innovations. 
The ability of apps to incorporate real time data could come in handy and can eventually be shared with all Office users and improve overall usability.

Next-Gen Connectivity

The most promising aspect of the Office 2013 has to be the connectivity part. 
The new office suite enables constant connection to the cloud through the SkyDrive service of Microsoft. 
This eases sharing and collaborating with others to a great extent. It even will indicate if the shared document is being edited and the person can be reached via Microsoft Skype or IM, all this without leaving the application!
Office 2013 will also enable Excel tables with real time live data, constantly updated PowerPoint slide templates, and of course, Word Docs containing videos from You Tube.
Lack of Support
Given the fact that consumers are constantly looking at diverse products, the chances of Microsoft losing market share to rivals is bright. The Google Apps suite is one such example.
With competitors closely following up with innovative and low cost business software offerings, it is high time Microsoft chose to think about extending Office applications across platforms. 
This should start with work towards making Office suite of applications available for Apple iOS and Google Android powered devices. Integrating support in Office for its recent acquisitions, Yammer and Skype, could also augur well for the Windows maker by providing a constant source of revenue.
The ever increasing popularity of Android and Apple iOS powered devices, should make Microsoft rethink its strategy towards enabling Office for other platforms. Its Numero Uno position, courtesy Windows OS, is always under threat.

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