Microsoft has introduced a major update for Office Web Apps, meant to improve collaboration on documents. At the same time, the latest update also allows the service to better compete against its arch-rival, Google Docs.
The Excel, PowerPoint and Word cloud apps are getting real-time co-authoring, a feature that has been available for quite some time in Google Docs. Put simply, this means that users can perform simultaneous edits, with the said cloud apps also informing folks whenever someone else is altering a certain part of the document. The real-time co-authoring is augmented by the ability to see text and formatting changes in files as they are being made.
It may be hard to believe, but OneNote was released in November 2003. To many mature users of Microsoft's Office suite, it still feels like a "new" addition. Sadly, many people do not use the note-taking, collaboration solution, likely from a lack of education on the software. I am only a few years removed from college and never observed a single student leveraging OneNote in the classroom; they all used Word. This is unfortunate as it is a great cross-platform solution -- Windows, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone are now all supported.
To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, Microsoft is launching the One Notable Decade campaign. This should hopefully raise awareness of the powerful software. Today, Microsoft shares some examples of how OneNote helps people be successful in their lives.
With Android handsets and iPhones taking the lion's share of the smartphone market, Windows Phone is quite often overlooked by most consumers in their purchasing decisions. The popularity, or lack thereof, of devices running Microsoft's mobile OS likely plays an important part but it also detracts folks from getting the smartphone that may be right for them. Ask yourselves how many of your acquaintances have been in this position.
Many do not even take Windows Phone into consideration and the ones that do easily find a couple of reasons to dismiss the platform and jump on the Android or iPhone bandwagon. Yes, Windows Phone may not be the right answer for everyone but it might be for more people than naysayers think. And I have got 10 good reasons why consumers should give Windows Phone a chance.
Children are the future and they all deserve a great education. However, as the world trends towards being digital and paperless, students are not always fully empowered with the right tools. Sadly, this largely comes down to cost -- while a student can download LibreOffice or use Google Docs for free, they are just no match for the perennial Microsoft Office.
Don't believe me? According to a new study by IDC, "the only software package called out within the top 20 skills across all occupations is Microsoft Office, explicitly required in 15 percent of high-growth, high-salary positions. Microsoft Office is No. 3 on the list of skills most required, and Microsoft PowerPoint and Word are No. 11 and No. 13 most required skills".
Steve Ballmer's departure from Microsoft will be a series of epitaphs written over the coming months. Many arm-chair pundits and analysts will scrutinize his 13-year tenure as chief executive, and you can expect him to be the scapegoat for all things wrong with Microsoft. Most assuredly, Ballmer could have done many things better, but he also contended with forces out of his control: government oversight for anti-competitive practices conducted under predecessor Bill Gates' leadership; maturing PC software market; and rise of the Internet as the new computing hub, among others.
For all Microsoft's CEO might have done wrong, he was right about something dismissed by many -- and I among them: Google. Ballmer started treating the search and information company as a competitive threat about a decade ago. Google as Microsoft competitor seemed simply nuts in 2003. How could search threaten Windows, particularly when anyone could type a new web address to change providers? Ballmer was obsessed, chasing every Google maneuver, often to a fault. Execution could have been better, but his perception was right.
Microsoft is going on the offensive trying to demonstrate that Office 365 is better than Google Apps. A series of tweets sent out via the Why Microsoft Twitter account link to articles on the Why Microsoft website in which Office is compared to Google's offering in various scenarios. This latest campaign appears to be not just an exercise in advertising Office 365, but in actively putting down Google Apps.
A series of infographics draw comparisons between using the two tools in different professions. Things kicked off with a look at the life of a sales rep but there are other scenarios including the daily activities of a teacher and Microsoft is also keen to point out how different a company it is to IBM.
Big news came from Apple and Microsoft this week. Microsoft seemingly had a change of heart; having previously said that Windows 8.1 RTM would not be made available before its official launch date, the company announced that it would be released to people with TechNet and MSDN subscriptions.
The same group of people also gained access to the pre-release version of Skype. Microsoft was clearly in a very giving mood this week as the company also announced that it was giving free copies of Office 365 to non-profit organizations.
Okay, it was an easy joke, I confess, but thanks to recent Surface sales, the concept is perhaps not too far from the truth. One division at Microsoft which delivers a large part of corporate revenue is Office. The latest version, Office 2013/365, blurs the lines between desktop and web app, and is powering an increasing number of large businesses and government offices.
Now, hot on the heels of caving to developers yesterday by releasing Windows 8.1 to TechNet and MSDN subscribers, the software giant announces yet another altruistic gesture, this time donating Office 365 to non-profit organizations. "Today we are donating to nonprofits and NGOs access to Microsoft’s best-in-class cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools, enabling them to spend fewer resources and time on IT and focus on their missions addressing global issues, such as disease eradication, education and literacy, and environmental sustainability,” says Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International.
If you've ever felt like you needed an easier way to manage your Office 365 installation then you're not alone. Tech Data Corporation and MessageOps have had the same thought and joined forces to offer an easy to use cloud management platform called 365 Command.
The tool offers a fast, accurate and cost-efficient way for solution providers to manage their Office 365 clients. Bharath Natarajan, director of product marketing, TDCloud and software services at Tech Data says, "Available through Tech Data's award-winning Solutions Store, powered by StreamOne, 365 Command will bring profitable success to solution providers' cloud businesses, creating a continual revenue and profit stream".
For those in the States, the mad dash to compliance is unquestionably on. After years of taking a "wait and see" approach to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations surrounding medical office technology, healthcare providers (and related covered entities) are scrambling to get their systems and procedures in order. Big Brother has officially set a September 23, 2013 deadline for most new rules that put into place heightened protocols for how patient information (PI) is shared as well as how notifications about breaches need to be handled, among other things.
Naturally, a lot of my consulting clients in the healthcare industry are reaching out for professional help on how to get their IT systems in line as these deadlines approach. One of the biggest facets of the new HIPAA laws, which affects companies like mine that provide hands-on IT consulting, is that for the first time ever we are being considered "covered entities" in the same boat as the healthcare outlets themselves.
Microsoft is on something of a roll with advertisements at the moment. After taking a swipe at iPads and Google, the latest round of ads, this time for Office 365, takes a slightly different approach -- tugging on the heartstrings of parents about to wave offspring off to university.
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.