Irony can strike in the strangest of places. Just this morning I was discussing Office with my colleague Joe Wilcox, who pointed out an article he had written back in 2010 titled "Microsoft Office is obsolete, or soon will be". I argue the opposite, telling him that students and businesses are nowhere close to abandoning the Microsoft suite.
While I doubt Google is caving to my point of view, the company perhaps helps support it today. Jelte Liebrand, a Google Software Engineer, announces that "if you’re running Chrome Beta on Windows or Mac and install the Chrome Office Viewer (Beta) extension, you’ll be able to click a link to an Office file and open it directly in Chrome".
Today, after the closing bell, Microsoft revealed what might be the closest-watched quarterly results in 11 years. Fiscal third quarter, like the one in 2002, marks a time of record-low PC shipments, with blame falling on the newest operating system. In recent weeks, every idiot arm-chair pundit imaginable has taken to the web to proclaim Windows 8 a failure and prophesying Microsoft's doom. Not so fast. This company is still a money machine.
For fiscal Q3, ended March 31, Microsoft revenue reached $20.49 billion. Operating income: $7.61 billion and net income was $6.06 billion, or 72 cents a share.
I am simply stunned by the ridiculous number of "Microsoft will be dead in four years" stories, following Gartner's grim PC forecast three days ago. I offered brief analysis then and promised something later, and this is it. Yesterday, colleague Alan Buckingham posted first: "Microsoft is nowhere near death's door" -- and he absolutely is right.
Throw a rock, and you can't miss a doom-and-gloom armchair analysis. Among the many are "Gartner: Microsoft is dead, Windows has expired, Office has ceased to be" (Computerworld); "How long can Microsoft go on like this?" (InfoWorld); "Apple's ultimate victory over Microsoft" (Motley Fool); and "Gartner may be too scared to say it, but the PC is dead" (ReadWrite). For the most part, all these armchair pundits are mistaken. Hugely.
DiSTANT X has released Office Trial Extender 22.214.171.124, a new build of its tool for legally extending the trial period for Microsoft Office 2010or later to a maximum of 180 days. The new version adds support for the latest Office 2013 release, renames itself Office Trial Extender and ensures all its files are digitally signed.
The tool works by resetting your Office trial to 30 days, and can be used a maximum of five times, giving you a theoretical maximum trial period of 180 days -- with caveats, as we discuss below.
Microsoft Office has released the Office Configuration Analyzer Tool (OffCAT), a portable utility which can check all your installed Office applications, report on any problems, and provide links to possible solutions.
If you’ve ever tried to diagnose an Office problem yourself then you’ll know it can be difficult, just because there are so many factors to consider (Registry settings, add-ons, Office policies, installed updates and more). But OffCAT aims to help by quickly locating and highlighting any issues for you.
See, if enough people complain and bloggers and journalists write enough misinformed, sensational stories, image-conscious Microsoft goes into public relations damage control. That's the case with Office 2013, which gets new licensing terms that grant you the right to move the software to another PC.
Under the old agreement, Microsoft used activation technology to bind the productivity suite to one computer. The software couldn't be transferred. The restriction comes with another nick, which isn't changed: With this version, Microsoft takes away generous multi-PC rights available with older versions. Like I expressed in late January, "Microsoft really doesn't want you to buy Office 2013" but subscribe with Office 365 instead. Nothing is changed, there. Today's concession is all PR blush.
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.
The HTC Windows Phone 8X is a smartphone that you will either love or not want to touch even with a 10 foot pole. Part of the arguments for and against it stem from the operating system of choice, Microsoft's latest (and greatest) Windows Phone iteration. Sure, the device has good build quality and the software is fluid and responsive, but the app selection is currently lacking compared to rivals like Android and iOS. So where does one draw the line between success and failure?
I've been using the Windows Phone 8X for almost two weeks and the early impressions are still on the positive side. In my initial review I touched on a number of points that I found revealing for my brief time with it, but the real test is how the Windows Phone 8X fares over a longer period of time. My main and initial gripes concern the limited app selection and general usability issues of Windows Phone 8 when coming from the stock flavor of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The real question is this: Is it good enough?
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.
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.
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".
Late this afternoon, Microsoft answered a question oft-asked by investors this month: What's up with Windows 8? The new operating system, which launched October 26, was supposed to lift sagging PC sales and demonstrate the capability to successfully compete with so-called post-PC platforms like Android and iOS. Now we know more. Windows & Windows Live revenue passed Business, making the OS division most-valuable again.
For fiscal second quarter, ended December 31, Microsoft revenue was $21.46 billion, up 3 percent year over year. Operating income: $7.77 billion, a 3 percent decrease. Net income was $6.38 billion, or 76 cents a share.
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.
What's the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Windows 8? "Confusing", "difficult to use", "efficient", "tiles" or "US Department of Defense" might be among the possible answers. Whoa, what? Yes, the Department of Defense (DOD) has announced that, as part of a $617 million licensing deal, it will begin using the newest versions of Microsoft products, including the controversial operating system. Now think of all the possible jokes...
The announcement does not disclose the entire number of products that will be used, and only mentions Office 2013 (which the DOD says offers "enhanced security and content management tools"), SharePoint 2013, and Windows 8. The Department of Defense says that the beneficiaries of the deal will be the US Air Force, Army and DISA (Defence Information Systems Agency), and that the purchased package is already customized to meet its specific needs, with an ongoing focus towards mobile computing.