Microsoft's Office dominance is under attack as cloud services, users working on tablets and even the replacement documents by emails all take their toll. What can Microsoft pull out of the hat to liven its ageing service?
Coming to a Desktop/Tablet/Phone Near You
The rise of other computing platforms and cloud services has seen the bastion of Office appear rather weaker in recent years. Yet, the billions of office workers using about 5% of Word and Excel's features will continue to help it to a healthy market position.
Even so, Microsoft has to keep up with the times and the next version is just as key as the Windows 8 launch, Surface tablets and Microsoft's other ventures into the future of computing. USA Today reckons we'll see a formal unveiling of the next MS Office version on Monday.
What's In the Box?
The next version of Office will be unveiled by Steve Ballmer on Monday, it will likely come with the near immediate launch of a public beta to test out all the features. We might see the version for Windows RT devices as well as the usual desktop editions. Mobile versions supporting Windows Phone 8 could also make an appearance as Microsoft tries to push it across the whole family of devices.
On the software side, what I'd love to see in the new version is documents that can be edited by live users in multiple locations, with control passing from person to person. Excel could do with a tool that monitors your actions and offers to replicate repetitive steps on your behalf, rather than hiding such features in the toolbars.
PowerPoint is massively due for an overhaul and should be able to make presentations fly. Sure, most businesses frown on snazzy slideshows, but anything has to be better than bullet after bullet after bullet. Finally everything needs to be savable in the cloud and easily accessible to authorized users, but Microsoft probably has all this in hand.
Finally if Windows 8 is being offered on a cheap upgrade path, hopefully the new Office will too. What do you want to see featured in the next version of Office?