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Office News & Analysis

Microsoft Makes Office 365 Cheap Enough That You Can Ignore Google

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Keeping a schedule set at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July, Microsoft has finally released service plans that will make it cheaper for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to use Office 365.

There is a small sting in the program, which went into effect last week. New customers can access the new and cheaper plans straight away, but those already signed up to Office 365 SMB plans will have to wait until late next year before they will transitioned to the new plans.

Parlez-Vous Windows 9? Microsoft French Exec Leaks Update

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The Microsoft rumor mill became reality in France.

Reports are blowing up on the Web that a French Microsoft executive revealed Microsoft will unveil Windows 9 next Tuesday.

"Last year we had Windows 8. In the next few minutes, the next few days, we'll be releasing Windows 9," Alain Crozier, president of Microsoft France and a vice president of Microsoft International, said during a company presentation.

Ever since Microsoft sent out invitations to a secret press event for Sept. 30 in San Francisco, rumors have been circulating that it would mark the next major release of Windows.

But no one wants to have the thunder of a secret press conference spontaneously dashed by the mutterings of an international VP. So naturally, the Redmond, Wa. software giant went into backtrack mode immediately, telling ZDNet in a statement, "We look forward to seeing you in late September in San Francisco for the future of Windows, which actually at this stage does not have a name as such."

Microsoft Puts Pieces Together with Office 365 Home Page

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Google has been making a lot of ground in recent months with the addition of lots of new functionality to Google Apps, now called Google Apps for Work.

And Microsoft hasn’t been slouching either. However, Microsoft upgrades have been a little more subtle — and it’s often hard to track what has been added or even what tools you have at your disposable.

But now we have something concrete: Microsoft just announced that it has upgraded the portal page for Office 365, which is being rolled out to current SharePoint and Exchange customers as of today.

Is Microsoft Going To Preview Windows 9, or Office 16?

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No sooner did the party invitations start landing in people’s mailboxes than the rumor mill cranked up a few gears and went into hyper drive.

According to the invites, which Microsoft started sending out yesterday, the September 30 event will be about Windows.

Speculation is rife already that what we might actually get is a technical preview of the long-awaited Windows 9, but that’s not all. There may also be news of a technical preview of Office.

In Boston, a Microsoft official at the SharePoint Technology Conference only confirmed there will be a September 30 announcement and declined to provide any details when asked by CMSWire. 

Is Microsoft Even Pushing SharePoint Users into the Cloud? #SPTechCon

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BOSTON -- The cloud. SharePoint.

Wait, what? Not me. Not us. Not anytime soon, if ever.

That captures some of the sentiment we heard here among the nearly 1,000 people at the SharePoint Technology Conference at the Boston Park Plaza hotel.

David Maldonado, an analyst programmer at the University of New Mexico's health division (pictured with co-worker Erin Youtzy), came up with a few words to answer the cloud proposition in SharePoint: "HIPAA. Personal information. Health records."

The Future of SharePoint is the Cloud #gartnerpcc

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It's not exactly ground-breaking, but Jim Murphy, a research director in Gartner's web and cloud group, thinks Microsoft is trying to lure its SharePoint users into the cloud, despite the number of enterprises that are still using it on-premises.

Speaking at this morning’s session on the future of SharePoint at Gartner’s Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit in London, Murphy reassured attendees that there is still plenty of time before time runs out on the on-premises version.

Microsoft Cushions Google's Blows with Cash

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Yes, Google is encroaching into Microsoft’s traditional business space in a vicious productivity fight. But Google's rebranding of its Enterprise Business as Google for Work yesterday seems to be a tacit acceptance — for the moment, at least — that Microsoft is the Enterprise Daddy.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has responded to Google's blows with a number of financial incentives that must have many Chief Financial Officers salivating over their ledgers.

Microsoft: Pimp Your Office 365 Ride

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When it comes to customer experience and engagement strategies, everyone knows appearance is everything. If that seems a bit shallow, Microsoft doesn’t seem to care. It just announced that it is allowing enterprises and users pimp their Office 365  — within reason, of course.

Starting this week, the new functionality will enable users to customize and personalize their Office 365 suite. The result: enterprises that deploy the platform will be able to give it a makeover to better reflect their corporate identities.

Has Google Delivered a Killer Blow to Microsoft Office Apps?

Google quietly landed what could be a killer blow for Microsoft Apps with the release of a number of upgrades to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

The first piece of bad news for Microsoft: Google created a separate iOS app for Slides, its answer to Microsoft PowerPoint.

The rest of the bad news comes in the form of upgrades to the existing Google Docs and Sheets apps for iOS. With them, users can open, create and edit native Microsoft Office files on any iOS device for the first time.

Google Apps are platform and device neutral — and they are also cheaper than Microsoft's offerings.

Microsoft Leaves Ballmer Bleeding as It Moves On

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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.

Microsoft Releases (Almost) Last Windows Updates

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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.

Microsoft Matches Google By Upgrading Office for iPad

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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.

Mac News: OneNote Upgraded, But What About Office?

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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.

Google Smacks MS Office With Better Docs Collaboration

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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.

Microsoft Strikes Google by Slashing Office 365 Prices #WPC14

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.

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