Print 23 comment(s) - last by CalaverasGrand.. on Jul 23 at 3:00 PM

Metro, cloud, and third party options are key improvements

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) star attraction is the controversial massive revamp of its Windows operating system franchise, Windows 8, set to air in October.

But it today unveiled a significant preview of its other key moneymaker -- the Office suite.  Office 15 will be known as Office 2013 when it launches sometime later this year. The software just hit Consumer Preview, packed with features that reflect Microsoft shifting vision.

Metro UI
The user interface is relatively similar to Office 2010, but the Metro style, with hard edges, solid colors and pastel themes are there.  Similar to the changes to Windows Explorer, this Metro UI makeover creeps up on you, rather than walloping you right away.

An Office 365 Home Premium subscription user can now install one-time use Office apps on an internet-connected client PC.  Basically this allows you to migrate your license to whatever machine you want.  For users in general, there's also direct access to cloud storage via SkyDrive.

Third Party Integration
Via logins you can access various accounts, such as your Facebook, Inc. (FB) network profile or a Flickr account to ad pictures.  Videos are now embeddable, as well, with support for YouTube, and other less popular alternatives.  Excel also has a special data-driven scripting extension language codenamed Agaves, which will allow you to unify your spreadsheet data with online data.

There is a touch mode in the Consumer Preview, but its functionality is currently limited.  When it touch mode, click elements enlarges them, offering an automatic workflow tool in addition to your standard gestures.  Expect Microsoft to expand on this bare-bones implementation in upcoming builds.

Microsoft can't quit search, despite its monetary losses, and it's determined to find ways to productize it.  One way is to integrate Bing results directly into the Office interface.  You can now access Bing Search via the "Insert an Image" Ribbon widget, allowing for quicker grabs of internet images (because opening up the browser is so tough, we know).  

Office 2013 may tread closer to traditionalism than Windows 8 on the surface, but digging deeper, all the key direction shifts for Microsoft are there.  Expect beefier touch support in weeks to come, given Microsoft's deep commitment to bleeding edge touch products.

For now check out the Consumer Preview for yourself, available here.

Source: Microsoft

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RE: Tony is happily smiling because...
By kleinma on 7/16/2012 5:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps that is just Microsost expressing commitment to their OEMs. Let's not forget the first windows 8 tablet to officially ever be available (build conference) was a samsung x86 tablet.

By WalksTheWalk on 7/16/2012 5:27:18 PM , Rating: 2
Since the Surface is built on the Windows On ARM (WOA) platform and they didn't let anyone even touch it at the launch (demo?) event, my guess is that it's not close to being ready to demo Office on it. I think the Surface event was timed to try to take some thunder away from WWDC and Google I/O.

RE: Tony is happily smiling because...
By Articuno on 7/16/2012 5:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft destroyed all OEM support with their tablet and the insane Windows RT licensing costs. There will be a mere handful of W8 tablets if that.

RE: Tony is happily smiling because...
By kleinma on 7/16/2012 5:35:17 PM , Rating: 2
And there are only a mere handful of Android tablets ever worth getting. All others are cheap horrible crap that only get made due to 0 licenses cost for android. So if we don't get a bunch of horribly crappy Win8 ARM tablets because of a license fee, then I view that as a good thing.

How you can say destroyed when there are already 5 device makers coming out with WinRT tablets? Because HP isn't making one? That is a blessing. HP stopped knowing how to make hardware after the inkjet 800 series.

RE: Tony is happily smiling because...
By Articuno on 7/16/2012 5:52:12 PM , Rating: 1
OEMs are upset and pulling away because of the one-two punch of charging $90 for WinRT licenses and them making their own tablet out of all the good ideas every other tablet had come up with that doesn't have to somehow subsidize the $90 fee. That's why I say "destroyed", because everyone else is running over to Android.

Microsoft is destroying everything so that it can chase the setting sun across the night sky.

By Pirks on 7/16/2012 7:14:31 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing MS is destroying is YOUR DUMB TROLLING ABOUT $90 WINDOWS RT LICENSE :P

Here's the truth:

The REAL cost is more like $50, not $90.
Please stop trolling, thank you.

By Pirks on 7/16/2012 6:58:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, indeed with Android tablets there's nothing interesting besides Nexus 7 just as there's nothing interesting outside of Nexus for Android phones too (Galaxy Note is the only exception only because of its screen size) so I don't see any problem with MS following Apple's and Google's model. The only thing that MS badly needs right now is an MS Surface Phone to counter Google and Apple flagships. I want ma high end 5" Windows Phone 8 phablet directly from MS online store Apple-style with unlocked hardware and timely software updates. If Google can do this with Nexus why MS can't? Surface is a good step in the right direction, now why don't they do the same thing for a phone?

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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