Microsoft introduced the new Office on Monday, revealing what has been termed the “largest overhaul” to date of the company’s profitable workplace software suite.
As expected, the new Office suite will rely heavily on cloud computing. Saving documents will automatically use the cloud and save online by default. It will also include Skype and a number of touchscreen-compatible features that will make it ideal for using with a tablet. It’s all part of Office 365.
“The Office that we’ll talk about and show you today is the first round of Office that’s designed from the get-go to be a service,” CEO Steve Ballmer said. “This is the most ambitious release of Microsoft Office that we’ve ever done.”
This will be the 15th version of Office for Microsoft, a suite of applications used by over one billion people worldwide. The last update came with Office 2010, an overhaul that brought online capabilities into the fold. With Office 365, the online portion is more “evolved” than ever and users will have to get used to the trend of the cloud – even when it’s not as convenient as advertised, such as in situations with data cap restrictions and usage issues. Obviously moving everything to the cloud is cheaper for the companies that stand to profit most, so more and more things will be moving that direction and the world of the tangible will soon be a thing of the past.
Plunging into the cloud may be all well and good for the corporations behind the push, but what does it mean for the rest of us? How secure is it? And what are some of the associated legal and taxation-related issues? Perhaps we need to have some more tangible answers to those questions before we start saving everything to the nebulous cloud.
Office 365 will use Microsoft’s Skydrive service for default storage. Users can also share documents on Facebook and publish them as blog posts with an “easier, sleeker” interface.
Microsoft is banking heavily on Windows 8 and subsequently on all Office 365 will bring to the proverbial table. “The Windows 8 launch is right around the corner, and we have a lot to do…In a sense, it feels to us a lot like 1995,” said Ballmer.