The year has almost passed and that makes it a great time for reflection. Of course, I have thought most about my family -- what we did in 2012 and our plans for 2013. I have thought of household repairs and projects planned for the coming year, goals I would like to attain, but I also considered what technology I used the most and the changes I made.
My colleagues and I plan personal tech retrospectives. I'm first up.
The original story was not very newsworthy at face value. An obscure, hard-to-pronounce city in Germany announced that its experiments with one time open source wonder OpenOffice had gone sour and they wanted their Microsoft Office back. Freiburg's city council released a draft resolution recently that covered numerous IT problems, but the one which raised more than a few eyebrows happened to be their frank disappointment with OpenOffice.
Among other things, the resolution had some pointed words about their OpenOffice experiences since 2007:
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.
Another Thanksgiving arrives here in the United States, and some people consider what they have to be grateful for. I celebrate by talking turkey, not just eating it, about the companies I cover. It's tradition, going back to 2006, that I present the things Microsoft should be grateful for.
Last year, 11 items made the list, keeping with the 2011 theme. For 2012, I reduce the list to eight; my hat tip of respect to Windows 8, which launched nearly a month ago. There are many more things Microsoft could be grateful for, but I chose some that might not readily come to mind. The list goes from least to most important.
Perhaps the new Office 2013 has been a bit overshadowed by the hype around the launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, but a new version of the Office suite is a big deal for both consumers and businesses. A public preview version was released several months ago and last month the software officially reached RTM.
Now Microsoft has pushed out the first trial version of Office 2013 to their TechNet web site. This trial is only for the Professional Plus version of the suite. The download includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. Customers will find some interesting new features like a new Start page for each app and also an Office Store. This latest Office suite also features integration with the SkyDrive cloud storage service and Office 365 as well.
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.
As my colleague Tim Conneally recently reported, Microsoft Surface with Windows RT does not allow users to take advantage of the total amount of advertised storage. On Reddit Ricardo Lopez, Test Manager for Surface RT, announced that customers can still take advantage of more than 20GB of free space, but the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation begs to differ.
Microsoft added a "Surface disk space FAQ" on its website in order to officially shed some light as to the amount of free internal storage that is left after the operating system and apps take their cut. As it turns out after all the math is done, there are dramatic changes. The 32GB Surface with Windows RT only has 16GB of free storage, while the 64GB version allows users to take advantage of 46GB, 30GB more than its less expensive brother.
The new smartphone operating system places a great deal of importance on being connected, and the new office suite is no different. Windows Phone 8 allows access to Office content whether it's on SkyDrive or Office 365. Featuring Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word, the Office Hub has a new design that touts fluidity and ease of use. It can also display attachments opened in Outlook Mobile and can use "Tap + Send" to share documents with NFC-capable and compatible devices.
Napier & Son was the most successful British manufacturer of aircraft engines in the 1920s and 30s with their 12-cylinder Napier Lion powering 163 different types of aircraft between 1918 and 1935. Over that 17 year period the Lion grew from 450 to 1350 horsepower and was, for awhile, the most powerful aircraft, boat and car engine in the world, holding world speed records in all three venues at the same time. And then the Napier Lion was suddenly gone -- a lesson from which Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer could benefit if he and his company don’t repeat it.
Napier perfected the Lion engine over those 17 years, improving it in every way until it was the best and most efficient engine of its class in the world. Then, seemingly overnight, the class changed as air forces and record setters alike suddenly needed more than the 1,350 horsepower a finely-tuned Lion could deliver. Napier’s Lion gave way to Rolls-Royce’s larger and innately more powerful Merlin and Griffon engines and Napier, for all intents and purposes, was gone.
Following an earlier tweet from Omar Shahine, Group Program Manager on SkyDrive at Microsoft, the Redmond, Wash.-based company announced the availability of the new Office Web Apps across Outlook and SkyDrive which sport a refreshed look and feel in line with Microsoft's modern design language deployed across its various services.
It also features expanded device support with touch-friendly editing from tablets, co-authoring and collaboration support across the Web apps, as well as more editing and formatting controls. The latest version promises general improvements to the Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Web apps.
When Microsoft released the Office 2013 gold code, the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation also announced that starting October 19 customers that purchase the currently available version of its office productivity suite will receive a "free upon availability" copy of the new version, and Microsoft has held up its end of the bargain.
What does it entail? It's a fairly straightforward process, as after purchasing and activating a qualifying Office 2010 version the customer can sign up for an email reminder to get notified of the time to redeem the offer and, after Microsoft makes Office 2013 available, the latest version will be ready for download. For a number of Office 2010 variants, the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation has also announced that customers will be able to get a three-month trial of Office 365 bundled together with the corresponding free version of Office 2013.
Microsoft is taking its subscription-based productivity suite Office 365 into the realm of higher education in the first quarter of 2013 with a new package called Office 365 University.
At just $1.67 per month, college students can get Office 365 for their entire four years of undergrad for just about $80. The subscription includes the usual Office Home and Student Gang: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, plus Outlook, Access, and Publisher which aren't available in the $119.99 desktop version (but are only available to Windows PC users.)
Eight days before Windows 8's big launch, Microsoft served up expected, dismal news about its successor, in the wake of disastrous third-quarter PC shipments. They sapped Windows division revenue and profit, keeping to a recent trend. There was never a question of negative impact, merely how bad -- as Wall Street analysts expected overall company revenues to decline. The question everyone should ask: Can Q4 be any better than this?
For fiscal first quarter 2013, ended September 30, Microsoft revenue fell 8 percent to $16.1 billion, year over year. Operating income: $5.31 billion, down 26 percent. Net income: $4.47 billion. Earning per share fell 22 percent to 53 cents. The results are impacted by a $1.36 billion, or 13 cents-a-share, deferral related to Windows 8 and Office 2013 launches.
Almost a month ago I wrote "Steve Ballmer hints at Microsoft Surface costing $300-$800" and he was (obviously) right on the money as the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation introduced Microsoft Surface with Windows RT for pre-order today with delivery on October 26. No, it doesn't start at $199, nor at $300 either, but it's close. HOWEVER, while I wrote this post, the pricing page disappeared from the Microsoft Store and now redirects to its home page.
The base 32GB model without the Black Touch Cover, which is Microsoft's name for the OEM keyboard, comes in at $499 and at the time of writing this post is the only model available for pre-order (whenever it resumes). The keyboard can be purchased separately for an additional $119.99 or $129.99 for the white or black model, respectively. The 32GB model with the Black Touch Cover included runs $599, while the larger 64GB Surface with the same add-on will set you back $699. Again, like Steve Ballmer hinted, price range is $300-$800, though it comes closer to the upper end.
Three months after offering a public preview, overnight, Microsoft announced that Office 2013 released to manufacturing. Development is complete. The timing isn't surprising, given the software is bundled with Windows RT, which will be available to purchase on new computing devices in two weeks.
However, Windows RT-based devices, and specifically the Surface RT, will come with a preview version of Office 2013 rather than the fully-developed final code, due to the time-frame between the device and the software suite launch.