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Microsoft Releases
Microsoft Releases 'Reinvented' Cloud-Based Office Suite

By Barry Levine
January 29, 2013 10:49AM

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Analyst Charles King said Microsoft was "being extremely aggressive in its pricing" for the Office 365 version, which can then be shared across five devices. He added that the adoption of Microsoft's new cloud-centric business model for Office is having "a pretty big impact" on how Microsoft does business, such as updating Office 365 every three months.
 

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Reinvention has become Microsoft's new slogan. On Tuesday, the software giant released its newest reinvention, the updated Office suite for consumers.

The cloud-based Office 365 Home Premium, under a new pricing model of $99.99 for an annual subscription, offers the latest version of the suite's productivity applications -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access -- and can be installed on as many as five devices by a licensed household.

In addition to Windows-based PCs, the new release supports Windows tablets and Macs, and integrates with the company's SkyDrive online storage and Skype's Net-based calling. Twenty gigabytes of storage on SkyDrive are available to Office 365 subscribers, as well as 60 free Skype calling minutes to any mobile or landline phone, or to a PC.

'Next Big Step'

CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement that the launch of the newest incarnation of Office "marks the next big step in Microsoft's transformation to a devices and services business." He added that the new release is "so much more than just another release of Office," because it is Office reinvented "as a consumer cloud service with all the full-featured Office applications people know and love."

For consumers, one of the benefits of the cloud is the delivery of many new features and services for Office to the cloud first, instead of home users having to wait for upgrades.

Alongside the unveiling of Home Premium, the company is releasing Office 365 University for college students and faculty, at $79.99 annually. The company is also launching a new, crowd-sourced Web site, Time to 365 at www.office.com/timeto365, where users and experts can share tips about the suite. The company said some of the tips on the site include ways to use Office applications for planning a child's birthday party or how to organize a grocery list with OneNote on a smartphone.

Office brings in more than half of Microsoft's overall profit, and the company has said that there are about a billion users worldwide in all markets. The Home Edition is one of a variety of efforts by Microsoft to counter the cloud-based apps being offered by Google and others, while supporting the growing trend of access to documents and, in many cases, apps from anywhere and from a variety of devices. Google Apps, by contrast, is free to home users and is available to businesses for $50 per user annually.

Windows 8 Look

The newest Office uses the Windows 8 look and supports touchscreens. Users can gain access to documents stored online even if their subscriptions have expired, and there's an updated version of Office Web Apps, which offers reduced-functionality editing of online documents through a Web browser. New features in this Office include auto-fill in Excel spreadsheets and additional notes in PowerPoint that only the presenter can see. The Office on Demand capability allows a customer to use a cloud-based version of an Office app on a PC if an installed 365 version is not available. (continued...)

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Neerja Bylsma:

Posted: 2013-02-02 @ 4:12pm PT
Yes they are doing and we use it, however there are many issues:
1) creating .pdf files is very problematic
2) MS will not help you set up security such that the clouds apps work
3) Cloud apps and security are currently clashing and this is causing users much heartache.

Mark:

Posted: 2013-02-01 @ 4:32am PT
This is definitely a unique assortment of apps in this Reinvented cloud-based Office suite but I would call it too high a cost. Being a GroupDocs user, I prefer my to view my docs in the browser and annotate my files on the go. And since I can access my Dropbox, Amazon and Windows Azure accounts through it, I find it to be a good deal.



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