I'm a proud New Yorker -- I love my state. However, it has been a bit embarrassing lately with the scandalous Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer dominating the local and national news. Today, Governor Cuomo and Microsoft announce some much needed positive news -- New York State has selected Office 365 for its 120,000 employees. This is good news, as it will reportedly save New Yorkers $3 million per year!
"Our agreement with Microsoft [...] will make collaboration among state agencies easier and increase productivity, in addition to saving approximately $3 million annually for taxpayers. This agreement shows the progress we are making in our efforts to make state government more resourceful while delivering results for New Yorkers", says Governor Cuomo.
Microsoft Office 365, and its business social platform Yammer, have been steadily finding their way into corporations and government offices in a battle with Google Apps. Now the software giant takes wing across the Atlantic with its latest conquest -- the friendly skies of the United Kingdom.
Today the company announces a deal that brings the applications to International Airline Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling.
Office 365 has become a bit of a strange concept -- there is the original web-based version, as well as the newer desktop Home Premium iteration that functions as standard Office 2013, though with added benefits. Now the software maker is introducing Message Center to its web version of the suite.
The latest update is described by Microsoft's Jake Zborowski as "a new admin feature for communications. Message Center will help inform Office 365 admins about new features and actions they need to take to keep their Office 365 service running smoothly".
Microsoft is slowly attempting to wean customers away from software and over to the services side of things. Office 2013 was a small first step, debuting in both Office 2013 and Office 365 Home Premium formats -- purchase and subscription options. Office 365 was previously a web service, and still exists in that form, with enhancements coming at a steady pace. Today this is illustrated with the latest release to the Access web app.
Jeff Conrad announces "it used to be a 3-year wait for new features in Office. However, because we are increasing the speed of our ship cycles, we are proud to announce that as of now, Cascading Controls are available to all of our Access 2013 Office 365 customers". The new update adds cascading controls -- essentially a drop-down list for all of your controls, including project name, company, contact information, data and more.
Microsoft's CEO is serious about reinventing the tech giant as a "devices and services" company -- the recent reorganization is for real. Today's launch of Office for Android can mean nothing else; okay, he wants to preserve revenues for the most profitable division, but the two objectives are intertwined.
Office for Android is a gutsy, risky move. Bets are on the table, and Ballmer puts his biggest stakes on one number. Google chief exec Larry Page sits opposite. Who wins the gamble? Is it winner takes all? Or will both take home booty? The answers are likely a fiscal year of earnings -- perhaps half-a-gin more -- away.
Two months ago, Microsoft released a version of Office for iPhone. While it was eagerly anticipated by many wishful Apple users, Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers was met with some dissatisfaction due to apparent limitations. Despite these shortcomings, many Android users were still saddened to be left out of the party. Today they can finally try it for themselves as Microsoft announces Office Mobile for Android phones.
While this is great news, the app has inevitable limitations. According to Microsoft, "...you will not be able to download and install Office Mobile for Android phones on an Android tablet from the Google Play store. If you have an Android tablet, we recommend using the Office Web Apps which provide the best Office experience on a tablet". In other words, Office for Android will not run on larger screen devices -- just like Office for iPhone is not available for iPad. However, unlike iOS, Android can side-load applications. If someone was to leak the .apk file, there is a good chance it could be made to run on a tablet.
It is 2013, not 1968, and we are talking Microsoft instead of Dionne Warwick, but Office 365 has still found its way to the California town. In the arms race against Google Docs/Apps, Microsoft takes another step towards the front with its latest announcement of a city government adopting its software.
"The City of San José has selected Microsoft Office 365, Windows Azure and StorSimple to expand productivity of its more than 5,000 city employees, reduce operational costs, and deliver improved services to over 984,000 residents in the Capital of Silicon Valley" the software maker announces.
While the jury remains in deliberation over Windows 8, and its upcoming successor, Office is still a workhorse in the Microsoft stable of software. Even the attempt to turn it into a subscription model did little to phase customers. Businesses on the other hand are even more acceptable to these options and now Microsoft has announced expanded markets for its latest Office 365.
Microsoft's Andy O'Donald announces "Office 365 is expanding commercial availability in 38 new markets, 3 new languages, and 5 new currencies". This brings the total to 127 markets worldwide.
Perpetual release cycles. Windows 8.1. The unified Windows ecosystem. If there are any key takeaways to remember from Microsoft's cornerstone keynote at the Build 2013 conference, these three items would sum it up quite well. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reminded thousands of developers on stage last week that the company isn't getting left in the dust and it has a solid plan going forward.
While most of the tech world was keenly focused solely on Build 2013 as the gateway to the first official peek at Windows 8.1, Ballmer's keynote had a few other important messages to deliver. The Windows update, formerly known as "Blue", may have stole the show but Microsoft had a grander agenda to piggyback at the developer conference.
If you're an avid SkyDrive or Office 365 user who happens to leverage Office Web Apps, Microsoft let loose information on a round of updates that will be hitting the browser based suite quite "soon" according to an official Office 365 blog video.
The posting was part of Microsoft's informal "Garage Series" set of video-blogs aimed at IT professionals who support Office. I happened to stumble upon this week-old entry and was quite surprised at what Microsoft has in store -- namely, hitting Google Docs where Office Web Apps haven't been able to thus far: rich real time co-authoring and collaboration.
A couple of days ago, Microsoft quietly launched Office for iPhone. To the ire of many, it requires an Office 365 subscription. The internet is abuzz with chatter that this is simply a way to gain 365 subscriptions. While I do agree this is a way to increase subscriber numbers, it is not the full picture -- it is also the best way to fight piracy. This is the future of mobile app purchasing.
I applaud Microsoft for taking this approach. On iOS, piracy is far too convenient on a jailbroken device, thanks to apps that help the user download them. On Android, a phone does not even need root to install pirated .apk files. And so, how could Microsoft release its flagship software potentially for free for jailbroken iOS users and all Android users? Microsoft Office is too important to show up as an .apk for free in a Google (or Bing) search.
Yesterday, despite "credible" rumors suggesting a full-on iOS approach, Microsoft released Office for iPhone but left iPad users stranded. The company also planted a little trojan horse -- the app is free but it is not free to use, requiring an Office 365 subscription, which runs for $99.99 per year, to take advantage of Excel, PowerPoint and Word.
But, based on my own experience with Office on Windows Phone, the suite is not really in its own element on a small display. iPhone users are most likely to run the app just to perform quick edits and (in the most-optimistic scenario) create very short and basic documents, presentations or spreadsheets. Office would really shine on bigger screens, however Microsoft doesn't want iPad users to actually use it. I've asked the software giant to explain the iPhone-only design and here is the company's response.
As you’ll know by now, Microsoft today announced the launch of Office Mobile for Office 365, an iOS app which allows users to access, view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents -- provided you have an Office 365 subscription.
We took it for a spin and despite the limitations, were actually pleasantly surprised. There’s plenty of functionality in the app to explore. The app can view Office documents stored on SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro, or SharePoint, for instance, as well as documents which arrive as email attachments. It syncs with your other Office 365 devices, too, so documents you’ve read elsewhere will appear on your phone’s Recent Documents panel, and when you open one it’ll resume at whatever point you left off.
Seven months ago, when rumors burned hot, I explained why "Microsoft Office for Android and iOS is a Trojan Horse" -- that any mobile suite would be all about the cloud service. Sure enough, today Microsoft released the strangely named "Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers" to the App Store.
Office 365 is the productivity suite's future. Microsoft now claims to be a "devices and services" company. Smartphones are devices, Office 365 is a service and required for the iOS app. What more reasoning is needed? The Redmond, Wash.-based company provides more functionality than I predicted, but does so strictly in mobile context that doesn't diminish the PC product. That said, what Microsoft gives to iOS should be withheld from Android.
The much talked about iOS version of Microsoft Office finally arrives in the App Store today. While that sounds like great news for anyone hoping to at last be able to (officially) use Word, Excel or PowerPoint on the iPad, you may wish to curb your enthusiasm, as there are some serious limitations with this release.
It's only available in the US for starters (coming to other territories "soon"), and you need to be an Office 365 subscriber to use it. Also it's only optimized for the small screen.