Unveiled earlier today, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer announced the customer preview of the new Microsoft Office, also known as Office 15 or Office 2013. Coming to Windows 8 and Windows RT later this fall, as well as being compatible to Windows 7, the next release features an intuitive design that works beautifully with touch, stylus, mouse or keyboard across new Windows devices, including tablets. The new Office is social and unlocks modern scenarios in reading, note-taking, meetings and communications and will be delivered to subscribers through a cloud service that is always up to date.
Office responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. Swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations. Author new content and access features with the touch of a finger. The new Office allows to use a stylus to create content, take notes and access features. Handwrite email responses and convert them automatically to text. Use your stylus as a laser pointer when presenting. Color your content and erase your mistakes with ease.
New Windows 8 applications includes OneNote and Lync which represent the first new Windows 8 style applications for Office. These applications are designed to deliver touch-first experiences on a tablet. A new radial menu in OneNote makes it easy to access features with your finger.
Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, will be included on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Microsoft Surface.
But the new Office isn't only running locally but it's also in the Cloud. For instance is Office saving documents to SkyDrive by default, so your content is always available across your tablet, PC and phone. Your documents are also available offline and sync when you reconnect. Once signed in to Office, roaming is synchronizing personalized settings, including your most recently used files, templates and even your custom dictionary. It's roaming with you across virtually all of your devices. Office even remembers where you last left off and brings you right back to that spot in a single click.
With a subscription, users can access Office even when you are away from your PC by streaming full-featured applications to an Internet-connected Windows-based PC. The new Office is available as a cloud-based subscription service. As subscribers, consumers automatically get future upgrades in addition to exciting cloud services including Skype world minutes and extra SkyDrive storage. Subscribers receive multiple installs for everyone in the family and across their devices.
Last but not least is the new Office social. It comes with Yammer, which was recently purchased by Microsoft. Yammer delivers a secure, private social network for businesses. Yammer offers integration with SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics. The new Office allows to follow people, teams, documents and sites in SharePoint. View and embed pictures, videos and Office content in your activity feeds to stay current and update your colleagues. The People Card is an integrated view of contacts everywhere in Office. It includes presence information complete with pictures, status updates, contact information and activity feeds from Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
The new Office comes with Skype. When you subscribe, you get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month. Integrate Skype contacts into Lync and call or instant message anyone on Skype.
While the full Office 2013 lineup of offerings and pricing plans will be announced in the fall, Ballmer discussed three new Office 365 subscription services. When available, each new subscription offer will include the new 2013 editions of the Office applications - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. In addition, subscribers will receive future rights to version upgrades as well as per-use rights across up to five PCs or Macs and mobile devices.
The three new editions will be the following:
- Office 365 Home Premium - designed for families and consumers. This service also includes an additional 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month.
- Office 365 Small Business Premium - designed for small businesses. This service also includes business-grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD web conferencing.
- Office 365 ProPlus - designed for enterprise customers who want advanced business capabilities and the flexibility to deploy and manage in the cloud.
To make it clear, because Microsoft was a little bit unsharp in its presentation. Office 2013, the Office which installs from a CD-ROM, USB stick or download, as we know it today, will have the typical one-time front-up payment. Office 365 which Microsoft announced as "Software as Service" will have monthly fee, includes extra benefits for SkyDrive and Skype but also comes with Office 2013 installation.
While Microsoft is still working to get the final bits together, it has now released a customer preview which is available free of charge.
Cheers ~ Arne