Having been available through beta, enterprise releases and free upgrade offers, the latest collection of Office 2013 products from Microsoft becomes generally available this week with a launch party announced for Tuesday in New York.
Office For the Creative Type
Having been made available with confirmed pricing to business only last week, the Office Twitter feed has let the cat out of the bag with news of an official launch event. It'll take place at Bryant Park, New York, which is where this photo was taken (pack a thick coat if the frozen fountain is any indication).
With Office 2013 and Office 365 both competing for users, Microsoft has a mix of local and cloud offerings for document management and creation. The suite will also play nicely with your smartphone versions and on the web, and is more compatible with the needs of web developers and other roles.
For consumers, there's the latest Premium Home edition that can be installed on up to five machines, including Macs. Enterprises have budget upgrade routes per license, while Microsoft has been selling a "Buy Office 2010, get the next version free" offer for some time.
Coming on Strong
All of this activity means take-up should be brisk in smaller workplaces, as long as users take to the new look interface which has been designed to go with the Windows 8 aesthetic. With cloud storage via SkyDrive, and communications over Skype (with the gradual demise of Messenger, but enterprises will still have Lync) Microsoft is really selling a wide-ranging system rather than just a collection of productivity apps.
The launch will showcase all these features and more, and seems to have a big consumer focus. That may be since Office upgrades are generally set by slow enterprise cycles, and Microsoft will want to create a big splash. That's partly due to increased rivalry from Google Docs, Libre Office and many users happily running old versions back to Office 2003.