Office News & Analysis
| Wednesday Aug 20, 2014
If Steve Ballmer’s decision to step down from the board of Microsoft was sudden, it wasn’t a surprise.
Once Satya Nadella stepped in as CEO and started changing Microsoft from a devices and services company to one focused on productivity and platforms, Ballmer had to go. "Cloud first, mobile first," became the new mantra.
In an open letter to Nadella, Ballmer explained that he thinks it would be impractical for him to stay on the board. Ballmer's commitment to Microsoft is clear. “I bleed Microsoft — have for 34 years and I always will,” he said in the letter. Microsoft, though, doesn’t really care. It's already ancient history.
| Wednesday Aug 6, 2014
Question: When is an update not an update? Answer: When Microsoft says so.
If that seems a bit cryptic, consider this. Microsoft is releasing a number of updates to its Windows 8.1 operating system and Windows Server 2012 R2, but you’re not supposed to call them updates.
The thinking is simple. From here on, Microsoft will no longer be holding onto improvements and waiting for a major upgrade to release those updates, as it did in April with Windows 8.1. Instead, improvements will be released as they become available.
| Monday Aug 4, 2014
Microsoft Office is part of the iPad arsenal and 35 million users have downloaded since it was launched in March. Now Microsoft has issued several updates, which it describes as the features users request most often.
The upgrades — improvements for the Word, PowerPoint and Excel applications — are designed to enhance the user experience.
| Thursday Jul 31, 2014
Microsoft has just announced major upgrades for OneNote for Mac and iOS. They're interesting upgrades and point to a future where Microsoft works on cross-platform development, offering everyone access to everything.
It’s a great vision. And while Microsoft is making progress, it is still far from reality. While upgrades and access to OneNote will be a major plus for users, there’s still nothing for Office for Mac.
| Tuesday Jul 29, 2014
Google is making it even easier to move from Microsoft Office to Google Docs.
At last month’s Google I/O conference, Google gave Office users the ability to edit documents in Docs, which was one of the sticking points for those considering a jump to Google.
We didn’t think it could do much more to make Docs attractive, but it has. Like last month’s QuickOffice integration, this enhancement is small but significant. The upgrade comes in the shape of tracking changes.
| Thursday Jul 17, 2014
Microsoft announced a few weeks ago that it was going to provide transparency around its Office 365 business. — and also said it would be shaking up the price plans. It did just that at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) and the good news is that prices are going down August 1.
Before popping the champagne corks though. read on. The cheaper edition will be available to new midsize business customers next month. But existing customers will have to wait to the beginning of October 2015 before the full impact of the changes kick-in. So much for rewarding customer loyalty.
| Tuesday Jul 15, 2014
Much of what's going to be announced this week at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Washington, DC, is already known.
Satya Nadella underlined Microsoft’s commitment to cloud and mobile computing almost as soon as he took over the reins as CEO, so his message to partners yesterday about pushing cloud computing was not unexpected.
Microsoft is a cloud company and partners need to get on board. The whole focus of Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner's keynote, for example, was cloud, mobile and more cloud. The cloud isn’t the future, he said, it’s the present.
| Tuesday Jul 8, 2014
Microsoft is pushing Yammer ... again. The focus now is on small and midsize businesses (SMBs).
Microsoft underlined its enterprise ambitions for Yammer in November by making it available with all Office 365 enterprise plans. Now it's also added Yammer to Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plans.
| Wednesday Jul 2, 2014
Two weeks ago Microsoft promised a whole new approach to roadmaps and future releases when it announced that it would be posting regular, publicly accessible updates to the Office 365 roadmap. Transparency is the new black at Microsoft, it seems.
Today it has taken one step further and has made a public call for beta testers of it is new Office products. Not exactly what you want to be doing over the summer, you might think, but there is a couple of interesting new products in the offing that you could end up testing.
| Tuesday Jul 1, 2014
Edward Snowden has done more for electronic security than anyone else. Singlehandedly, he has forced some of the biggest IT vendors to take a close look at data, data transfer, and how it is stored.
This follows the revelation that security agencies across the world were systematically scanning emails.
In response, Google has made much of its email encryption practices and its efforts to secure the contents of the email itself.
Last night, Microsoft, in turn announced that it has upgraded its encryption standards across all its networks.
| Friday Jun 27, 2014
Every time Google or Microsoft makes an announcement about lowering the price of storage, someone asks us why anyone would pay more for a service like Dropbox, Box, Syncplicity, Egnyte, Accellion … you get the picture.
So yesterday, at its I/O Conference, when Google announced Google Drive for Work (a combination of Google apps and Google Drive with added security and reporting features that comes with unlimited storage for $10 per user per month), we were slammed with inquiries. Has Google had just entered — and, all at once, won — the file sync and share market in the Enterprise?
| Thursday Jun 26, 2014
If you’re one of the top cats in the Microsoft business division, the Google I/O conference must be one of the most irritating things of the year.
At I/O, Google always seems to find a way to squeeze the fun from Microsoft’s master plan to rule the business world. This year, the ‘something’ comes in the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents in Google Docs.
At face value, it doesn’t seem too serious. But when you stand back and look at it, it takes on far more significance than first impressions convey.
| Thursday May 22, 2014
Thailand seems an unlikely place for competition in the productivity suite market to erupt. However, the announcement last night by Microsoft that it has signed a deal with the Thai government to provide 8 million students with Office 365 should stir things up in Asia.
According to the statement from the government, Microsoft has agreed to provide Microsoft Office 365 Education for the next five years.
| Monday Apr 28, 2014
Two things are made clear in the new benchmark report from SoftWatch: 1. Business users spend a lot less time using their Office applications than might be thought. 2. If an organization did an in-depth analysis of Office usage across the enterprise, they might well find that dumping Office and moving to another, cheaper productivity suite could save them an awful lot of money.
| Wednesday Apr 23, 2014
Microsoft is on a roll with a fast and steady stream of upgrades and offerings for its Office suite. In the latest announcement yesterday, it offered a limited preview of its new PowerPoint ‘Mix.’
PowerPoint is unlikely to set anyone’s world on fire — but the enhancements may at least gain your attention if we told you this one includes basic analytics and interactive tools like video recording and document sharing. Oh, and one more thing. The upgrades are free of charge.