Microsoft introduces radical Office makeover

July 16, 2012 8:11:41 PM PDT
In the past few years, your phone, your email, even your games, have all become touch-sensitive and connected to the cloud. And what's stayed the same during all that time? Good old Microsoft Office. However, on Monday in San Francisco, the company announced Word, Excel and PowerPoint are getting a radical makeover.

"I would tell you this is the most ambitious release of Microsoft Office that we've ever done," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Ballmer told a room full of reporters, that the boring old word processor, spreadsheet and email program you probably use at work are about to get interesting. Microsoft Office is heading skyward.

"We're transitioning the Office business as a cloud service," said Microsoft Vice President Kirk Koenigsbauer. "By default, the Office applications will store content in the cloud, of course, you can store them locally as well."

Microsoft thinks most users will opt for the cloud service like Office beta tester Melissa Hanson, who's been testing the new version for the past few months.

I no longer have to carry a flash drive, save things in multiple places, it's always there. Whether I pick it up on my phone, my Office PC or my tablet," said Hanson.

In fact, Office 2013 is designed for tablets and phones, not just PCs.

"I can do things as you would expect like pinch and zoom, so I can zoom out or zoom into my presentations," said Koenigsbauer.

There are gestures -- even pen input on Windows 8 tablets that are just a little bit bigger than an iPad.

Microsoft is coming late to the tablet game, but experts say it's also changing the rules by positioning the new Windows 8 tablets not just as an entertainment device, but as a business tool to replace your laptop.

"This actually is a really interesting way to compete for the Microsoft, the Windows based tablets, versus say the iPad and Android ones," said CNET senior writer Jay Greene.

Ballmer made it clear the tablet version is not Office light. He said, "That wasn't the junior version, that was full Office."

And Microsoft introduced us to attorney and beta tester Kim Grant who says, "This is the first device that I've actually gotten that has replaced my laptop completely."

Microsoft will launch Windows 8 this October, but they haven't announced yet when the new version of Office will be available.


Load Comments