It may be just a coincidence, but probably not. The very week IBM decides to launch its new Cloud Docs productivity suite, Microsoft decides to make the new version of Office 2013 available to business users.
It’s not exactly news that Microsoft is investing a lot in the future of Office, but what is news is that business users can finally get their hands on it.
While IBM’s Cloud Docs has quite a lot of punch to it, Microsoft has been doing productivity suites since, well, forever -- and it will be hard for anyone to compete, especially in the same week of a new release. We’re not saying that it’s deliberate, but from a business perspective there aren't going to be a lot of businesses that will go for Cloud Docs if a new Office Suite is available.
Office 2013 For Business Users
The release was announced this week on the official Office blog in a post by Sanjay Manchanda, who describes himself as a member of the Office team. Manchanda said that business customers could get the full Office experience through Microsoft Volume Licensing -- by the full Office experience he means on-premises versions of Office 2013, Exchange Server 2013, Lync Server 2013, SharePoint Server 2013, Project 2013 and Visio 2013.
But there appears to be more than what we have already seen in the Customer Preview versions, released in July and the RTM milestone, released in October.
Office of the Future
The result, Manchanda says, is a number of modifications:
- The new Office works with touch, stylus, mouse or keyboard. It also works on a whole range of devices
- Provides real time news feeds for people, documents and discussions as well as high-definition video conferencing’s and shared notebooks.
- Comes with data loss prevention, compliance management, built-in malware protection and can be deployed on premises or in the cloud.
- Coupled with the new cloud services that will be available next year -- although there is still no indication as to when that might be -- users will be able to save documents into SkyDrive.
For home users who are hoping for access to Office, it won’t be available until the New Year. Microsoft has said first quarter, so it could be well into the year before it becomes available.
The Home and Student version of Office 2013 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote and is priced at US$ 140. For US$ 220, the Home & Business edition adds Outlook, and at US$ 400 the Office 2013 Professional package adds Publisher and Access as well.