Microsoft unveils Office 2013 details, releases preview

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer announced Office 2013 in San Francisco on Monday, along with a preview available to consumers immediately.

Changes in the new software reflect updated Web technology, with an emphasis placed on Cloud computing, access across multiple devices and social networking. The Redmond, Wash., company has also incorporated the square, bright-colored style of its Windows Phone 7 into Office 2013.

Though Microsoft held back on sharing prices, Ballmer did say the updated programs will be cloud-based and available through three types of subscriptions. No launch date was given, but the company said it will offer more details this fall -- likely in October, when Microsoft said it will launch Windows 8.

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Office 2013, as expected, is built to work on multiple types of devices, and as a result, the software has been crafted to work via touch, a stylus, mouse or keyboard. A preview video that you can watch here shows the programs running on computers, a phone and a tablet.

Microsoft said the software will be included with ARM-based Windows 8 devices, which are typically tablets and smartphones. The company noted that that would include the Microsoft Surface, which is expected to launch in the fall.

Users will be able to access their files across different devices along with some of their preferences, such as their custom dictionary. They will also be able to stream the programs from Windows computers when away from their own computers. Microsoft’s new Office will save all documents to SkyDrive, which is the company’s cloud storage service.

Along with SkyDrive, Skype is also making a splash in Office 2013. Microsoft will be implementing the two services and rewarding users with bonuses for each. Users will get 60 minutes worth of Skype world minutes per month to call people outside of the video calling service. Microsoft will also give subscribers an additional 20 GB of storage for their SkyDrive, which is available free with 7 GB.

The results of recent Microsoft purchases also came to fruition in Office 2013. The company announced Office 2013 will work with 82-inch displays. News that Microsoft would begin selling the touch displays broke last week after it purchased the company Perceptive Pixel, which made the touch displays used by CNN.

Yammer, the company’s $1.2-billion business social network, was also revealed to be integrated into the suite of programs. The company said the private social network will work with SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics.

In total, Office 2013 will include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publish and Access.

“We are taking bold steps at Microsoft,” Ballmer said, according to a company release. “The new, modern Office will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility for both consumers and business customers. It is a cloud service and will fully light up when paired with Windows 8.”


Users will be able to subscribe to office 365 Home Premium, built for the average consumer, Office 365 Small Business Premium, and Office 365 ProPlus, which is built for enterprise customers. Subscriptions will allow users rights to future upgrades, and users will be able to access Office on up to five devices, including Macs.

To access the preview version now, follow this link.


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