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Office News & Analysis

Microsoft Pushes Yammer into SMBs

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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.

Microsoft Transforms Customers to Beta Testers

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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.

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?

Google Makes it Easier to Dump Microsoft Office #io14

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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.
 

Microsoft Takes Productivity Suite Contest to Thailand

2014-22-May-Thai-Schoolkids.jpgThailand 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.

Do You Really Need Microsoft Office?

Thumbnail image for SoftWatch Office licenses 28 4 2014.jpgTwo 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.

Microsoft Pushes Analytics, Collaboration Into Office 'Mix'

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.

Microsoft Takes Office to the Chrome Store

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Only two weeks after Office landed on iPad and about eight weeks since it made it easy to find through the launch of Office.com, Microsoft is chasing users wherever it can find them -- and in this case it's Chrome Web Store, right in the middle of Google’s own stomping ground.

It also appears to have quietly retired its Scroogled campaign.

It would probably be a bit silly to overestimate the real impact of this, given that users were always able to access Office apps through the Office.com in the Chrome browser. But with a new CEO on board, any sign of changes in the way Microsoft is doing business should be paid attention to. 
 

Nadella Asks Microsoft Developers to 'Keep the Faith' #bldwin

Satya Nadella’s came close to calling for a return to Microsoft's founding principals during his keynote speech at the the company's Build 2014 conference in San Francisco yesterday. The speech by the newly appointed Microsoft CEO contained a lot for Windows lovers and mobile phone fans.  But it also contained repeated pleas for developers to keep the faith -- faith in Windows specifically and Microsoft generally. 

Nadella arrived at the conference facing a number of problems that have arisen from Microsoft’s previous lethargy in meeting new challenges, particularly the rise of mobile. 

Finally! Office for iPad: Still Want It?

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Let's cut to the chase. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s first press conference since he started 52 days ago was pretty underwhelming.

Yes, he finally announced the launch of Office for iPad, along with the new Enterprise Mobility Suite — surprising just about no one.

But all of those who expected something more from Nadella, like detailed insight about his plans for the company, left disappointed. Aside from discussing his Mobile First, Cloud First strategy and those plans to push all Microsoft customers into the cloud, he didn't say much.

But give him points for being poetic, in person and online. As he noted in a blog post, "As long as human curiosity and ambition drive us to create new things, capture moments and collaborate to get things done, we should expect the world of devices to follow suit."

Microsoft May Release Office for iPad

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If Microsoft press conferences are always a matter of intense speculation and conjecture, the conference that has been announced for next Thursday (March 27th) in San Francisco will be, by anyone’s standards, an exceptional event -- not least because it will be the first conference hosted by new CEO Satya Nadella. 

Of course, excitement is also being driven by speculation that, finally, Microsoft will be announcing Microsoft Office for iPad. 

Google Drive Offers Add-Ons, Cash to Microsoft Office Users

add-ons.jpgOne hit apparently deserves another. Just a few weeks after Microsoft Office dealt another blow in the ongoing slugfest with Google Drive, the Internet giant is fighting back.

In the past three days, Google has made two announcements that are creating new disruptions.  One of them — a new Office 365 to Google Apps referral program — seems specifically designed to annoy Microsoft,  while the  other, the release of third-party add-ons to Google Apps, adds additional functionality.

The Future of Office and Features to Use Today

During the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas the big emphasis was on -- to no one's surprise -- Office 365 rather than on-premises versions of SharePoint. While it was great to see the new features Microsoft unveiled, the conference also gave us time to look at existing features that you may or may not be aware of. Let's take a look.

Document Mgt Roll-up: Mostly SharePoint #SPC14

You can argue it if you want, but this week was all about SharePoint -- and little about Microsoft Dynamics CRM and AX. In fact, as one of our editors pointed out, there’s more SharePoint than you could shake a stick at — largely as a result of the SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas.

In no particular order, here are some of the items that either slipped under the radar or which caught our attention. There is also some mention of Microsoft Convergence Dynamics.

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