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Office News & Analysis

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.

Microsoft Makes It Easier to Move to the Cloud #WPC14

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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.

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?

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