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Office 2013 News & Analysis

Looking for Microsoft Universal Apps for Windows 10?

Only two weeks after it announced they were on the way, Microsoft has released the preview version of Universal Office apps for Windows 10. This first batch includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

These apps are available for free download for PCs, tablets and phones that are running Windows 10 Technical Preview, and will be followed in the coming weeks by the other Office apps.

Office 365 Shines, But What About Microsoft Windows?

You’d have to be a forensic accountant to understand Microsoft’s financials. However, a few things are clear from this week's second quarter earnings release.

The first is that the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant is starting to make serious ground in the cloud space. The second is that CEO Satya Nadella’s strategy of revamping and remarketing Windows is needed more than ever. The third: there's no beating Office 365, at least for the moment.

While the numbers triggered only tepid enthusiasm from the financial markets, from an IT perspective there are a lot of positives that show Nadella’s strategy of moving Microsoft from packaged software company to cloud-based software provider is beginning to pay off.

Office For Windows 10 Optimizes Mobile, Touchscreen

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During this week's Windows 10 reveal event, Microsoft gave a glimpse of the future. And yesterday Microsoft’s Julia White, general manager for Office Product Management, provided a few more details.

Here's what we know. In addition to the soon to be released Windows 10 Technical Preview, look for a touchscreen version of Office as well as Office for Windows 10, a suite of apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Calendar.

No Ticket Needed for the Office for Android Tablet Preview

There’s not going to be a device on the planet on which you can’t use Microsoft productivity tools. OK, maybe that’s pushing it a little too far. But that seems to be CEO Satya Nadella’s strategy and he’s executing on it one quick step after another.

Microsoft  just announced that the Office for Android tablet preview is generally available. Anyone can go to Google Play and download the Word, Excel and PowerPoint preview apps. There’s “No wait list. No requesting access. Just go and download the apps!” states the Office 365 blog.

Microsoft Offers Office 365 Refunds to Some iPad Users

Microsoft is making good on its promise to be more responsive to users' needs ... just not all of them. 

Last week the company released a preview version of Office for Android tablets, along with Office for iPad upgrades and new iPhone apps. Even better, it made all of the options free. You no longer need an Office 365 subscription to edit documents on mobile devices and store them in the cloud (whether it’s OneDrive or Dropbox).

But what about iPad users who enthusiastically signed up before that announcement — and are already locked in to spending $7 a month for an Office 365 subscription?

Want Microsoft Office on Your Mobile Devices? It's Free

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Microsoft wants Office to be at your fingertips at all times, regardless of where you are or what device you use. As a result it has been working at a furious rate to build out Office and Office 365, especially for mobile. Since the Office for iPad release last March, though, one of the glaring gaps has been the lack of an Android mobile edition.

Today Microsoft bridges that gap with the release of a preview version of Office for Android tablets, along with Office for iPad upgrades and new iPhone apps.

Office 365 Dominance Grows with New Markets

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Microsoft is releasing Office 365 into another nine countries, bringing its total market penetration to 140 of 196 countries worldwide.

The fact that you can now get Office 365 just about anywhere there is a business culture is not surprising. But the pace at which it has developed is startling.

When it launched just over two years ago, it was available in around 40 markets. A year later it was in 88 markets. By the end of 2013, it was up to 127 markets and now ... well, just about everywhere.

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.

Microsoft is Aggressively Expanding its Office Store

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At the end of a week that saw Microsoft piling on functionality and cash incentives to capture a bigger slice of the enterprise market, including businesses with a mere 150 seats, it also announced an aggressive expansion of its Office store and more languages to capture new markets.

While it's obvious Microsoft is going to push its own products in its own store, it will also highlight third party apps that integrate with Microsoft tools.

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.

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.

Microsoft Tightens Email Security

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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.

Is Google's Drive for Work Too Little, Too Late? #io14

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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?

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