Technologizer posts about Microsoft Office

As ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reports, Microsoft has announced that it’s begun a technical preview of Office 15, the next version of its suite. That means that work is progressing on the product, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to guess that the company hopes to have it out this year. But the news doesn’t bring any official details whatsoever:

Microsoft officials are not commenting on the features in any part of Office 15; on the planned release-to-manufacturing (RTM) or general availability date; or on whether the technical preview will include a version of Office that will work on Windows 8 on ARM. (I asked about all of these.) Update: Also, for those asking, we also have no idea on platform-support specifics — such as whether this preview also encompasses the rumored Office for iPad; and whether it includes a separate non-touch-centric Office 15 update for those not using tablets/touch-enabled laptops.

I hope that Microsoft is working on an ambitious touch-centric version of Office for Windows 8. It would be odd if it wasn’t. But I’m not sure what the implications will be–is it even possible to create a touch version of Excel that will please a spreadsheet jockey?–and look forward to hearing what Microsoft has to say when it’s ready to talk.

Posted by Harry at 12:57 pm

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Boy, Microsoft is taking Apple’s iOS seriously these days. Today, it announced SkyDrive for the iPhone and Kinectimals for iPhone and iPad. Yesterday, it unveiled OneNote for the iPad and said it would soon bring its Lync integrated-messaging app to Apple devices.
 
All this activity doesn’t prove that Microsoft Office for iOS is on its way. But it does suggest it’s not a pipe dream, doesn’t it?

Posted by Harry at 5:04 pm

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What Price Office for the iPad? Who Knows!

By  |  Posted at 1:31 pm on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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The Daily story by Matt Hickey on a possible iPad version of Microsoft Office which I mentioned yesterday is continuing to make news. And one part of the story that has folks excited is the notion that the Office apps might go for $10 apiece:

The thing is, The Daily’s story doesn’t claim to have any inside information that even hints at the $10 price point, let alone confirms it. The article is a gumbo of scuttlebutt and supposition–and downright incoherent in spots–but here are the relevant paragraphs:

In addition to an iPad-ready version, a new edition of Office is expected for OS X Lion sometime next year. The current version of the desktop package, Office 2011, officially supports iOS versions up to Snow Leopard. A Lion version, likely available via the Mac App Store, is widely expected. Windows, too, is due for an update, with Office 2012 currently in beta form.

It’s assumed that both of these would work with Office 365 as well as mobile versions, such as Windows Phone’s Office Hub. Because it would be compatible with these full suites rather than as stand-alone apps, the pricing will most likely be significantly lower than existing Office products. In fact, it’s likely the cost will be around the $10 price point that Apple has established for its Pages, Numbers and Keynote products.

If you fully understand these two paragraphs, you’re a lot smarter than I am. Putting aside the fact that it says Snow Leopard is a version of iOS rather than OS X, it makes reference to the next Mac and Windows versions of Office. Then it says “it’s assumed” (by whom?) that “both of these” will “work with” Office 365 and Windows Phone.

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Matt Hickey of The Daily is reporting that Microsoft is working on a version of Office for the iPad. His story isn’t the most compelling piece of writing and reporting I’ve ever read–he calls OS X “iOS” at one point and seems overly confident that some of his assumptions are likely true, such as the apps costing about $10 apiece.
 
I hope the rumor–which has existed as a bit of idle speculation for a long time–is true. It would be a smart, self-confident move on Microsoft’s part to reach out to all those iPad users rather than deny them a useful product in hopes of forcing them to buy Windows tablets. And even though there are scads of iPad productivity apps already, I haven’t found one I’d kill for: a word processor with an excellent user interface, a sophisticated word-count feature, support for hyperlinking, and built-in Dropbox capability. If Microsoft were to release a version of Word that did all that, I’d pay a lot more than ten bucks…

Posted by Harry at 12:36 pm

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At AllBusiness.com, I blogged about the ongoing war between Office and Google Apps–as seen in recent Microsoft blog posts and this week’s Google Atmosphere conference–and why I’m not taking sides.

Posted by Harry at 1:38 am

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My friend Jeremy Toeman says that it’s imperative that Microsoft come up with a great version of Office that uses Windows 8′s new Metro interface. He’s right, of course–without one, there’s little reason for any business to consider an upgrade, and a really good one could be a major selling point. And I’ll eat a Windows 8 tablet if Microsoft doesn’t have a pretty ambitious one ready by the time Windows 8 PCs go on sale.

I will quibble with one point in Jeremy’s post: He says that early demos of Windows Vista were “awesome.” I remember spending what seemed like eons running early versions of Vista and being briefed by Microsoft on them, and being consistently underwhelmed. I expressed some guardedVista skepticism well before the OS shipped, but to this day I wish I’d been even more skeptical even earlier. Then I could say “I told you so…”

Posted by Harry at 1:08 am

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I’m pleased to say that I’m going to be writing a column every other week for the folks at AllBusiness.com. It’s about small-business technology, and the first installment–a look at Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps–is up now.

Posted by Harry at 2:22 pm

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Microsoft has officially shipped Office 365, its new offering that’s less of a product and more of a customizable set of building blocks that lets businesses assemble productivity suites that include both desktop software and Web-hosted components, and then pay for them month by month rather than in one big chunk. InfoWorld’s Woody Leonhard compared it to Google Apps and gave Office the edge. But I’m struck by how different the visions presented by Microsoft and Google are. Microsoft has no particular desire to encourage companies to ditch desktop software, but knows that the cloud is important. Google would love it if companies abandoned desktop software, but acknowledges that even most companies that see a world beyond Office aren’t ready to quit it cold turkey. More thoughts on this in a project I’ll tell you about in a little bit….

Posted by Harry at 9:03 pm

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Office 365 Public Beta: A Web-Based Way to “Go Microsoft”

By  |  Posted at 10:58 am on Monday, April 18, 2011

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Last October, Microsoft announced Office 365, a new product (replacing something called the Business Productivity Office Suite, or BPOS) that ties together an array of offerings into one Web-hosted service. Today, it’s launching a public beta, which you can sign up for at Office365.com. It’s letting folks into the service in batches, so expect a bit of a wait until you can try it out; the final version should go live later this year.

Office 365 enters the market as the instant archrival of Google’s Google Apps, but the two services are anything but exact counterparts. Philosophically, they’re at odds: Google Apps is based on the idea that you’ll do most or all of your work using Web-based apps, resorting to a traditional suite such as Microsoft Office either not at all or only in a pinch. (Google continues to acknowledge that many businesses aren’t ready to dump Office by introducing features designed to make Apps and Office work better together.)

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Microsoft Brings OneNote to the iPhone. Is the Rest of Office Next?

By  |  Posted at 10:31 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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Microsoft apps for Apple’s iPhone aren’t new–there are already ones for Live Messenger and Bing, for instance–but it’s still noteworthy when the world’s biggest software company releases software for the phone made by its most venerable archrival. And today Microsoft is releasing a version of its OneNote note-taking app for the iPhone–the first time that any Microsoft Office program has arrived on iOS.

OneNote for iPhone syncs with OneNote’s other incarnations on Windows, on the Web, and on Windows Phone 7. (It does so using Microsoft’s SkyDrive online storage service, and you need a Live ID to use the app.) It’s easy to use and has basic note-taking features, including the ability to add photos and checklist items. It does feel more like a complement to OneNote’s other versions than a fully autonomous app–I don’t see any way to create a new notebook, for instance–and it certainly doesn’t compete with the 800-pound gorilla of note-taking, EverNote, in terms of features and supported platforms. But OneNote users who have iPhones should be pleased to have access to their jottings on the go, and it’s good to see the app arrive on the single most important smartphone platform. (Microsoft says it plans to update the software as time goes on.)

The most intriguing thing about OneNote for the iPhone is the fact that it brings a little bit of Microsoft Office to iOS for the first time. There have been rumors in the past that Microsoft was considering releasing a version of Office for the iPhone and/or iPad, but this is the first tangible proof that the company doesn’t think it’s self-destructive to put part of Office on an Apple mobile device rather than preserve it for Windows Phone 7, which includes mobile versions of OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook as standard equipment.

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Via ZDnet’s  Ed Bott, interesting news: Microsoft has ended “Office Genuine Advantage,” a bit of copy protection which required you to show your copy of Office was legit before you could get certain downloads.

Posted by Harry at 8:30 pm

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Office for the Mac: The Same, Only Different

By  |  Posted at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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Microsoft’s Office 2011 for the Mac goes on sale today–the first version to support Office’s Ribbon interface, the first one in years with Outlook, and one that’s priced to move. The company provided me with a pre-release copy a few weeks ago, and when I’ve been using a Mac I’ve been running Office and mostly enjoying the experience. That wasn’t a given: I mostly avoided its predecessor, Office 2008, which was slow and not only lacked the Ribbon but had a floating-palette interface I actively disliked. (I was known to run a virtualized copy of Windows on Macs mostly so I could use Windows Office.)

For some people, the fact that Microsoft–a company who has been known to deride Apple’s customers as trendy spendthrifts–still makes Office for the Mac is apparently hard to reconcile. Microsoft’s press site has a story that seems designed both to reassure Apple fans that Microsoft loves them and Microsoft fans that it doesn’t love Apple fans that much.

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Microsoft Office 365: One-Stop Shopping for Desktop and Web Productivity

By  |  Posted at 10:04 am on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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At an event in San Francisco this morning, Microsoft announced something called Office 365. It’s less of a new product or service and more of an attempt to make it easy for businesses of all sizes to offload IT infrastructure and acquire the Microsoft productivity applications and services they want on a pay-as-they-go basis. (It’s the successor to an existing offering called the Business Productivity Office Suite.)

Office 365′s components include Outlook and a hosted version of the Exchange server, a hosted version of the Lync unified communications server, hosted Sharepoint, the Office Web Apps, and the full-blown Office Pro Plus suite in its traditional desktop form. New Web-based tools will aim to make it easy to sign up for 365 and manage its various bits and pieces in one place. The company is beta-testing the service now and plans to fully roll it out next year.

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Microsoft Smears OpenOffice in Video

By  |  Posted at 10:46 am on Thursday, October 14, 2010

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Microsoft must really be feeling some pressure from OpenOffice, because it recently published a YouTube video that spreads a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt about the free open-source word processor.

Using case studies and press releases that have previously been published on Microsoft’s website, the video quotes OpenOffice users who had problems with compatibility, performance and tech support. The overall gist is that OpenOffice may be free, but it isn’t worth the trouble.

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I’m still not wild about Microsoft’s new Web-based versions of its Office apps, but they’re getting new features at a decent clip. You can now embed PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets in any Web page.

Posted by Harry at 3:14 pm

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The Business Insider’s Dan Frommer says it’s in Microsoft’s own best interest to release a version of Office for the iPad. I agree. It would also be in the spirit of the company’s enthusiastic, early support for the Mac.

Posted by Harry at 7:35 am

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