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Microsoft Extends Office 2013 Localization, Aims For Productivity Suite Dominance

Still no official date for the full release of Office 2013, but Microsoft has really been building up a head of steam. Last month, it announced it was making it available to business users in volume with home users to follow this quarter. And now, it has just announced that it has localized it into three more languages, with interface packs for 13 more.

Microsoft Office Suite

On top of this, the range of languages supported in Office 365 and Office Mobile has been greatly extend and for users that need to create content in two, or even more languages, it is offering users access to Office proofing tools wherever they are working.

If you work in a monolingual enterprise where everyone is using English this may not be such a big deal. But clearly, with this release, Microsoft is targeting a much wider audience than just Anglophones and, with this extended localization, is pushing into developing regions that have been profitable for enterprises in all kinds of IT ways.

In effect, what Microsoft is doing here, is offering Office to the whole world — a case of One Suite to Rule Them All (no, it's not an original paraphrase, Nuxeo used it during last Fall’s Nuxeo World where it coined the paraphrase One Platform To Rule Them All).

Office in Malay.jpg
PowerPOint in Malay

In the highly competitive world of productivity suites, one really has to react quickly and when needed Microsoft can do that. We also saw last month, for example, that the announcement it was making Office available to business users was made a matter of hours before IBM finally announced the release of its cloud-based office suite, SmartCloudDocs.

Extended Localization

So what have we got here then? According to the post on the Office blog by Julian Parish, Senior Product Planner in Office International and responsible for coordinating language and market strategy across Office products and services, the new localized languages are Indonesian, Malay and Vietnamese.

Again, if you are an Anglophone, probably not obvious ones, but think of the market potential and largely in markets that have been under-exploited so far.

…We are continuously reviewing the languages we support. As the economies in emerging markets grow further and more people come online around the world, we need to take Office into new languages. In fact, in the past ten years, we have increased the number of localized Office languages by over 50 percent. In the new Office we are therefore investing in two major ways,” he said.

And here we have a key Microsoft strategy with emerging markets — watch them until such a point as it looks like the right number of people in those markets can afford the products then localize and launch there.

Localized Office Capabilities

Full localization means that that the User Interface (UI) and User Assistance (UA) content will be available in these languages across Office — including Lync — and as a Language Pack for SharePoint Server 2013. They will also be available not just to enterprises who are getting them as part of the Microsoft Multilingual User Interface or MUI packs, but also to home consumers over the course of 2013.

The other part of this localization announcement is the thirteen completely new languages as Language Interface Packs to the new Office. These provide interfaces in the thirteen languages for the most frequently used Office Client applications: Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word.

Office 2013  LIP Languages.jpg
Office 2013 LIP languages

They run on Windows 7 and Windows 8 and will be available over the course of the year as free downloads. The same languages can also be used as Office Web Applications in conjunction with Microsoft SkyDrive.

Microsoft is also making Office Mobile available in more languages to accompany the release of Windows Phone 8 so that altogether, it will support 51 different languages.

 
 
 
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