Microsoft yesterday previewed the new version of its popular Office suite, introducing a product that aims to combine the best of traditional strengths with the new trends in computing, namely cloud and social services.
Speaking at a press conference in San Francisco, chief executive Steve Ballmer stated that Office 2013 would deliver unmatched productivity and flexibility, both for consumers and enterprise users. The new version will be offered as a cloud-based service and will truly shine in combination with Windows 8, Ballmer noted. Microsoft will release details about pricing and availability in the autumn.
One of the most striking features of Office 2013 is its integration with touch, which will make it suitable for use on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Its cloud integration will make it possible to access content across multiple devices. Office 2013 is also heavy on social integration, incorporating social network Yammer and Skype.
Some of the cool new features include Inking, which allows users to create handwritten texts by means of a stylus. OneNote and Lync are new Windows 8 applications designed specifically for tablet users.
While prospective buyers will have to wait until the autumn for further details, Ballmer offered information on the three new subscription services for Office 365 - the cloud-based version of the software package. Office 365 Home Premium targets families and consumers and comes with 20GB of storage space on SkyDrive plus 60 minutes worth of Skype calls per month. As its name suggests, Office 365 Small Business Premium is designed for small enterprises and also includes business-grade e-mail, shared calendars, website tools and HD web-conferencing. Office 365 ProPlus targets enterprise customers looking for advanced business capabilities and cloud flexibility.
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