When I left IT little more than a year ago, my company still rocked Office 2007. Of course, computers were still running Windows XP and web browsers had only recently migrated from Internet Explorer 6 to IE 7. Now, with the addition of SP2 to Office 2010 business may be ready to make the move onto this platform.
"Today, we released Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 set of products. SP2 provides key updates and fixes across our servers, services and applications including security, stability, and performance enhancements and provides better compatibility with Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10, Office 2013, and SharePoint 2013", says Microsoft's Chris Schneider.
The Apache Software Foundation has announced the release of Apache OpenOffice 4.0, a major update with plenty of interesting new features and enhancements.
The most obvious interface addition is the sidebar, a Lotus Symphony-sourced panel which provides quick access to options most relevant to the current editing task (setting fonts, text style and alignment in a text box, tweaking brightness, colors and contrast for an image, and more).
When Microsoft released Office for iPhone, the sentiment among users was mixed. Some customers complained that it could be signaling defeat for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, while others praised it as a good business move -- it was a mixed bag of emotions. The biggest backlash was the Office 365 subscription requirement which left paying standard Office users (non-subscription) out in the cold. Today, Microsoft continues its trend of supporting the mobile operating system, as it releases Outlook Web App (OWA) for iOS.
Unlike Office for iPhone, Outlook Web App supports the iPad as well. Slate support is essential as many business users are trading their laptops for the Apple tablet to get work done. Unfortunately, the Office 365 subscription requirement also applies here. This is very frustrating, as many large businesses and enterprise users without 365 subscriptions would hugely benefit from this particular app. These customers will be forced to use Webmail in a browser or use a 3rd party app such as the much maligned Good for Enterprise.
Office has not yet found its way to the Windows 8 Start screen, but Microsoft did at least give a bit of a preview when a Modern UI version of OneNote was released. While no promises can yet be made about what is to follow, the software maker now rolls out a significant update to the lone app.
The OneNote team proclaims "today we're releasing another update to OneNote for the Windows Store that adds two things. First, you can now sign in with your Office 365 account so that you can easily open your work notes. Second, we've made it easier to dismiss the keyboard on your touch device".
Microsoft released the 256 GB Surface Pro in Japan almost a month ago and, since then, it left potential buyers puzzled as to when the new model arrives outside of the land of the rising sun. Well, the date is today, as Microsoft just expanded the availability of the latest Surface Pro version to include new major markets. There's a catch though.
Microsoft tells me that "there will be limited availability of a 256GB version of Surface Pro in the U.S. exclusively through the commercial channel and the authorized Surface resellers". This model runs for $1,199, making it $200 more expensive than the 128 GB Surface Pro which goes for $999. And, at least at the moment, the former cannot be purchased from Microsoft Store or any retail shop.
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.
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.
Hong Kong-based developer Kingsoft Software has released KingSoft Office Suite Free 2013, a brand new version of its sleek free alternative to Microsoft Office. Version 22.214.171.12456 makes its bow with a redesigned user interface with choice of three skins, plus improves support for the latest Office formats. There’s better support for foreign characters as well as date and number formats too, while users can now undo changes even after saving documents.
The suite consists of three tools -- Writer, Spreadsheets and Presentation -- all of which gain specific new features and improvements. All three sport a ribbon-based user interface with one key advantage over Office’s own: the ability to view and switch between multiple documents in a single tabbed window.
Just over three months after its release, Microsoft is celebrating a million sales of Office 365 Home Premium. Going a long way to prove detractors of software subscriptions wrong, Microsoft's latest version of its office suite has managed to maintain average sales of more than one unit per second.
With a subscription costing $99.99 per year, Microsoft has clearly pocketed a healthy profit with this release, but the fact that the software can be installed on up to five machines may actually mean that sales figures are perhaps not as high as they could have been.
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 126.96.36.199, 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.