The big day continues for Microsoft's Office 365 division. Earlier we learned that the service will be deployed in the state of Texas, adding 100,000 new government employees to the list of users. Now, Microsoft informs about an upcoming launch event, although few details are available.
In a very brief post, Kirk Gregersen, Office 365 general manager explains: "Virtual Launch Event on Wednesday, Feb. 27" to "celebrate the availability of a major new release coming to Office 365 for businesses".
In a stunning win for Microsoft, Texas will deploy Office 365 to more than 100,000 state employees.
Today's news comes on the heels of a recent win by the company when it nabbed the government of the city of Chicago. Now, in a joint statement, the two entities wanted to proclaim love for one another.
Microsoft has made no real secret that it prefers you to buy an annual license for software, as opposed to purchasing a non-expiring version. Office 2013/365 is the first real example of that, but will surely not be the last. Since the products' release, the company has pushed out PDF guides to help guide you along.
Now the push continues with a video version of those "Quick Start" guides. Earlier today the Office team announced the release of five videos in a new series that will give users a head-start on the new app suite.
Last week was the launch of the new Office 2013...ah Office 365...well, you get the message. Not everyone will make the move, but for those who do, they will find a product similar in many ways to Office 2010, but also different in other ways. For instance, the cloud is built-in via SkyDrive integration, there is a new Start screen and a bit more.
Thankfully, Microsoft is attempting to make the transition as simple as possible. You can head out to the local bookstore, or over to Amazon, and buy a guide -- there are doubtless plenty of good ones already available. But, if you want something free and easy to get then the company has made a series of "Quick Start Guides" available for you.
There are already Bing-powered apps for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox, and now Microsoft’s search platform has made some free apps for the software giant’s new Office 365 Home Premium suite (what, you thought Office 2013 was going to get some Bing love?)
At the moment there are five apps on offer -- Bing News Search for Office, Bing Finance (Beta) for Office, Bing Dictionary (English) for Office, Bing Maps for Office, and Bing Image Search for Office.
In case you have not yet had your fill of Microsoft Office news then here is one more tidbit for you. The productivity suite, which launched yesterday, is now available in the Windows Store, which is really the Windows 8 Store, since it is not available on any other platform. Before you get too excited, let me temper your enthusiasm.
Yes, we already knew there was not going to be a "Modern UI" version of the latest Office -- known collectively, and confusingly, as Office 2013/Office 365/Office 15. Still, the debut in the Windows Store strikes one as an especially lame attempt. You see, FINDING the app in the store, does not mean you can GET it in the store.
We spent a lot of time dissecting Microsoft's Office launch yesterday and one thing was clear. The software giant wants you to move away from the desktop and into the cloud with Office 365 Home Premium. Something which I for one do not think is a bad idea. To prove where its priorities lie, Microsoft has unveiled its very first video ad for the new suites and predictably it's all about Office 365.
The 30-second length of the clip indicates that it is likely headed for TV, although I personally have not seen it there yet. It does nothing to show customers the actual apps like Word, Excel, and the rest. Instead it focuses on more of the Metro Modern UI aspects, and the suite's ability to be available for users at all times, wherever they are.
This doesn't happen every day. Microsoft, which serves as both my daily computing platform and bane of my existence, does something I completely agree with. It is not the first time -- I am an unashamed Windows 8 lover. I also love Office, and the product has steadily improved and become easier to use with each iteration. But desktop software is quickly becoming old-school. I find myself using more and more web apps and storing more data in the cloud.
Today, Microsoft officially launched Office 2013...sort of. Yes, the software suite is out there, available to everyone, as we knew it would be. What we didn't realize was that the actual software suite would be downplayed. A lot.
They're here! Today Microsoft released new versions of the flagship productivity suite alongside cloud companions. But if you look closely, all the chatter is about Office 365. The software giant wants your head in the cloud, and tidy, easy-to-account subscription revenue with it. CEO Steve Ballmer and team endlessly blather about "reimagining" Windows, but Office gets the bigger makeover -- not just how people work, but how they pay to do it.
Subscription revenue is Microsoft's Holy Grail, and one sought since the mid 1990s, because it smooths out revenue and locks in customers. New Office releases come about once every three years. Office 2007 launched six years ago tomorrow and its successor in May 2010. The company can't depend on consistent sales, which tend to spike around new releases. Subscription -- how Microsoft sells Office 365 -- is smoother.
After teasers and tweets, it's really no secret that today is the big day when Microsoft launches Office 2013. The suite has already been available for TechNet users since mid-November, but in typical Microsoft fashion the consumers are the last to get their hands on the goodies.
Office 2013 Home and Student, Home and Business, and Professional, as well as Office 365, are currently available for purchase in different markets, including United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia, with pricing adjusted depending on the region.
Microsoft is announcing something Office-related tomorrow, January 29th. That much is clear given all of the evidence that popped up over the weekend and has continued to mount today. Still, the company likes to hold some secrets and stating something emphatically would be inappropriate reporting on my part. However, trying to connect the dots is a fun exercise that we certainly can do.
First, over the weekend a new website from Microsoft appeared with a teaser message -- "Coming January 29th. More time to do the things you want. #timeto365".
Even though Microsoft's lips have been sealed shut on the topic, launch of Office 2013 (and the new Office 365) is imminent. Speculation is fueled by the Office 2013 available on its Home Use Program (HUP) website, something which has customarily preceded most prior Office launches. If the show is about to begin, then all of these preparatory charades are quite the indicator.
Martin Brinkman provided a wonderful in-depth preview on Office 2013 this past summer, and the great majority of what he covered is still valid in the final bits. I've personally been using a MSDN copy of Office 2013 Pro Plus since about late October and am quite pleased with the product. Ever since Microsoft dabbled with x64 capability in Office 2010, in-house developers increased memory and security aspects that 64-bit provides and the result is a smoother, safer Office experience. Microsoft posted a long Technet article on the benefits of x64 Office 2013 this last summer.
Despite recent stories of Google's big plans to take Microsoft's IT business away, the race is far from over. Today Microsoft announced a fairly big win for Office 365 and, no doubt, privately high-fived over this perceived slap in its rival's face. While Google Apps continues to progress, the city of Chicago prefers to stick with the old guard and its new cloud solution.
Michael Donlan, the Vice President of U.S. State and Local Government at Microsoft, announced today, along with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, that the two sides have reached an agreement that will allow the city to "consolidate its three disparate email systems into one Microsoft Office 365 environment in an effort to improve collaboration, enhance security, and provide both mobile and desktop access for anytime, anywhere productivity".
Microsoft would like everyone on the planet to adopt Office 365 and in doing so, move to subscription pricing. Customers get access to their stuff anytime, anywhere and on anything, while Microsoft sees consistent revenue stream and everyone using the newest features. But that's not happening soon. So for the majority of businesses presumably continuing with what the company describes as "on-premises versions", Office 2013 desktop and server software is now available for purchase.
Office 2013, Exchange Server 2013, Lync Server 2013, SharePoint Server 2013, Project 2013 and Visio 2013 are immediately available to volume-license subscribers. Everyone else must wait. "Broad availability of the new Office through retail and online channels is planned for the first quarter of 2013", Microsoft's Sanjay Manchanda says. The company released a trial version to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.
I simply can't stop laughing about the newest mobile Office rumors. This is better than stand-up comedy because the punchline is just so unbelievable there are seconds of silence before the bellowing roar. Microsoft's idea of a -- imagine my forefingers raised to make mock quotation marks -- mobile Office app is essentially a document viewer. Oh yeah, like I really need one of those, or you.
Yet the rumors make sense, because the approach is oh-so-predictable Microsoft and absolutely what executives should plan. Real Office on either platform is a bad idea. Yeah, just go ahead, make full-blown Office for Android and iOS and feed yourself to the post-PC dogs, leaving behind some mindless, decaying creature from The Walking Dead or your favorite Resident Evil game (or movie). The company's objective is bigger, and actually quite believable: Establish a beachhead for Microsoft account-linked cloud services on competing platforms.