Back in November we told you about Office 365 Video, although at the time it was only available for First Release customers. The service, if you recall, brings video sharing to the enterprise, allowing customers to manage and post, as well as making it available across all devices -- PC, tablet and phone. Microsoft also claims that it will be automatically optimized for each device.
Now the service is rolling out worldwide, so everyone can begin putting it to use for training videos, company messages and the like. Microsoft's Claire Tutill states that "Video is fast becoming one of the most powerful forms of communication, so this is a very exciting development for Office 365 users".
Microsoft has announced the official availability of the new Skype for Business client and Skype for Business Online, only a month after releasing the first product as a technical preview. Rolling out now, Skype for Business is set to quickly replace Lync, with all customers expected to be upgraded by the end of May 2015.
The client is rolling out as part of the April monthly upgrade for Office 2013, while its Online counterpart just started to make its way to Office 365 customers across the globe. However, customers who need "a little more time" to migrate over to Skype for Business Online are given the option to switch between it and Lync.
Microsoft has announced that mobile device management is now available in Office 365 for commercial customers. The feature is built into the office suite and allows administrators to control access to Office 365 data by Android, iOS and Windows Phone tablets and phones.
Security is very much at the heart of Office 365's mobile device management, and it includes a remote wipe feature. For businesses who have embraced the BYOD philosophy, this will bring peace of mind as it allows for the remote removal of Office and associated files even on personal devices.
Four years in the making, LibreOffice is working towards moving online. LibreOffice Online is due to spring from a partnership between IceWarp and Collabora with the aim of competing directly with Google Docs and Office 365. Upon launch, it will be the first cloud-based office suite to offer support for the Open Document Format (ODF) standard.
Based on HTML 5, there's not currently a launch date for LibreOffice Online but IceWarp and Collabora hope to drive competition and innovation by entering the market. The suite is already available for just about every mobile and desktop platform, so the move to the cloud was all but inevitable.
You've probably heard that size matters, and Microsoft agrees. If you're carrying about a mobile device that measures 10.1 inches or less, the chances are you're not using a "professional" device -- at least this is what Microsoft believes.
10.1 inches, 256.54 millimetres, 25.654 centimetres; this is the new dividing line between what is classed as a personal device, and which is professional. This is interesting to know, but what does it actually mean? For starters, if you fall into the "personal" category, you're entitled to a free copy of Office.
For businesses moving to a cloud-based office solution the biggest problem can be understanding and controlling the licensing costs involved.
Cloud transition specialist SoftWatch has a solution for this in the form of its analytics tool which provides in-depth information on how businesses are actually using desktop-based and web based applications as well as cloud storage and web conferencing.
I'm going to let you in on a secret. Ever hear of Microsoft Office? Of course you have. Well, learning it is essential for success in a business environment. I'm not just talking about word processing, but spreadsheets, presentations and more -- Microsoft's software is the best. Sure, the average student can get by with Google Docs on a Chromebook or Libreoffice, but guess what? Formal education ends eventually. Software that is "good enough" just won't cut it in the working world.
Today, all New York City Public School students and teachers gain access to this important software, as Microsoft Office 365 is being given to them for free. Yes, you are reading that right -- every teacher and student for free. This is a huge win for Microsoft, the students and the teachers. More importantly, however, it is a win for society, as future members of the workforce will be better prepared for success.
A couple of weeks ago we learned a little about what to expect from Office for Windows 10. Today Microsoft has made the universal apps for Office for Windows 10 available for download. In order to grab yourself the preview software, you need to be running Windows 10 Technical Preview build 9926 as the apps are being made available through the new Windows Store Beta.
For now, the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps that make up Office for Windows 10 are available for PCs, laptops and tablets running Windows 10 Technical Preview, but this will open up in due course to phones as well.
Microsoft has released its earnings report for Q2 FY2015 (that's Q4 CY2014 for everyone else), revealing figures that closely match analyst expectations. The software giant achieved $26.5 billion in revenue, with operating income coming in at $7.8 billion. Gross margin and diluted earnings per share were $16.3 billion and $0.71, respectively. However, in after-hours trading, Microsoft's shares dropped by $2, or 4.28 percent, to $45 per share.
Microsoft has delivered some good news through its earnings report concerning its Devices and Consumer part of the business. Surface revenue reached $1.1 billion at the end of the quarter, which translates to a healthy increase of 24 percent over Q2 FY2014. Lumia sales topped 10.5 million, which, again, is better than the same quarter from a year prior as well as the previous quarter, Q1 FY2015. And the list goes on.
Microsoft told us a lot about Windows 10 yesterday (it's free!), as well as the future direction of some other interesting projects such as HoloLens and the Spartan browser. We did get a brief glimpse at the touch-friendly versions of Office apps for Windows 10, but today Microsoft also reveals more about the next desktop release -- Office 2016.
In keeping with Microsoft's latest vision, the focus with Office moving forward is "mobile-first, cloud-first". We'll be able to try out Office for Windows 10 very soon as the universal apps are due for release for Windows 10 Technical Preview very soon, and the final version will be pre-installed -- for free -- on phones and small tablets. Some of this we knew yesterday, but talk of Office 2016 is new!
Dropbox is one of the most familiar, endearing and enduring names in the cloud, and it is continuing its expansion. The lastest addition to the fold is CloudOn, an Israeli startup with a focus on mobile productivity in the cloud that boasts 9 million users who use the service to edit Microsoft Office documents.
More accustomed to providing cloud storage, Dropbox's most recent acquisition sees the company expanding further into Europe. No details have been released about any money that may have exchanged hands, but news of the acquisition comes just days after Microsoft acquired Israeli company Equivio. So what does the acquisition of CloudOn mean?
It seems as though there have been quite a few acquisitions by the big names in tech recently, and the latest addition to Microsoft's portfolio is Equivio. The Israeli company specializes in text analytics, focusing mainly on helping other businesses with legal and compliance issues with data, counting the Department of Justice among its clients.
What Microsoft is particularly interested in is Equivio's machine learning technology and information governance tools, and aims to improve the eDiscover feature of Office 365. For any company managing large quantities of data, this will help to make life a good deal simpler, and help to eliminate the need for manually sifting through documents and emails.
Stanford University is known for turning out some of the big names in the tech business. It's where two guys thought up the idea for a little search engine called Google. However, that doesn't tie the school to the service and Stanford is proving that with its move to a Microsoft platform.
It's certainly not the first educational institute (or business) to adopt Office 365 and Exchange. This latest move is slated to take place in the summer of 2015, though the work has already begun.
Accessibility features in regular applications are now very much par for the course, but it's something of a different matter when it comes to online apps. While a growing number of websites have been designed to better meet the needs of people with sight or hearing problems.
The gradual move to the cloud means there are more and more online apps springing up, but many of them are slow to embrace accessibility options. Today Microsoft announces that Office Online -- the web-based version of its famous office suite -- has gained a number of key accessibility features designed to make it easier to use.
I'm not easily impressed. Lots of tech products see the light of day each year, but only a few I consider to be truly great. And by that I mean technology that I want to have in my life, that brings value, and, last but not least, that makes me feel good. The subjective factor is just as important, I believe, when it comes to the things that I have to look at and interact with on a daily basis. That's just the way it is, and I'm fine with it.
Because of this, a pretty long list can get really, really short in no time. My colleagues have already shared their favorite tech products of 2014 with you, and now the time has come for me to do the same. It's BetaNews tradition, after all. So, without further ado, here they are.