SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft introduced the customer preview release of its Office 2013 productivity suite that introduces the concept of Office as a service, noting that all of its features can be accessed via SkyDrive, its cloud storage service.
"This is the first round of Office that was designed from the get-go for Office to be a service," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, at a launch event July 16 in San Francisco.
The new Office 2013, along with the cloud-based version of the suite which is called Office 365, are due out at about the same time that the new Windows 8 operating system becomes available in October. The updated application suite, also known as Office 15, integrates standard Office apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook with cloud-based services from companies that Microsoft has recently acquired, including the voice and video calling service Skype, the enterprise social media platform Yammer and Perspective Pixel, a maker of technology for large-screen, touch-enabled displays.
For the first time, Office will also include OneNote for taking notes at meetings and Lync, Microsoft's unified communications platform. The suite will also work with SharePoint for document sharing.
The new Office will also work with the Windows 8 x86 processor architecture and Windows RT, an ARM processor architecture as well as on Windows Phone 8 smartphones. As such, a user can access the various Office features on a desktop or laptop using a mouse and keyboard or use a touch screen interface on a tablet or smartphone. People who run Windows 8 on a tablet will be given a stylus that can be used as a pen to annotate documents, to take notes, or mark up a document being edited by a team. The feature is called Inking.
Ballmer emphasized that the Office user experience will not be diminished on the tablet or smartphone versus the desktop computer.
"You give up nothing of the rich capabilities of Microsoft Office when you embrace the Windows 8 ARM device. That's not the junior version. That s the full Office available to you with full capability on this next generation of device," he said.
This article was originally published on 07-17-2012