Hugely-recommended overhaul, but few new features
It's no longer enough for Microsoft to add the odd new feature and scrub up the appearance of an app: the world has moved on, not least in that we now call them all "apps" instead of "applications." With Office 2016 now available to Office 365 users (if their companies have enabled it, or if they sign up themselves), our attention did go first to the new version of Microsoft Word. Office for Mac really contains four major applications (and OneNote, which we'll call a minor one) though, and while we personally might lump PowerPoint and Outlook together into the guest-cast category, Microsoft Excel 2016 15.11.2 is definitely a star of the show.
Standalone version will be available this fall, boasts many improvements
Following a four-month public beta period, Microsoft on Thursday released Office 2016 for Mac, now available for immediate download to existing Office 365 subscribers. The new release, strongly modeled on the existing design changes seen in the iPad version of the productivity suite, is the first new full version of Office for Mac since 2010, and adds features such as the Ribbon interface, sandboxing support, Retina screen optimization, and support for fullscreen view.
Purchases made through the app may not be refundable
In the wake of Microsoft reversing course, and adding document creation and editing to all iOS users of its Office suite for iPad at no charge, the company is offering refunds for Office 365 subscribers who request it. The offer is limited, with significant restrictions: it requires proof of purchase, is likely not available to those who purchased through the app, and is pro-rated.
Next Office for Mac due in late 2015
Confirming recent leaks, Microsoft has announced a new version of Outlook for Mac, incorporating several significant changes. The update includes a "modern," revamped user interface, with touches such as better scrolling and switching between Ribbon tabs. The underlying engine has also been made faster and more reliable, thanks to improvements in threading and database code.
Cap of 1 terabyte removed in favor of unlimited storage on OneDrive
Microsoft is upping the ante in the cloud storage market, by offering some users unlimited OneDrive storage. Subscribers of Office 365 will soon see their allowance upgraded from their current 1TB allocation, itself raised from 20GB in June, with Home, Personal, and University customers set to receive the upgrades starting from today.
Cards in Office Delve show related contacts, documents
Microsoft is introducing a new search system to Office 365, which aims to provide information to the user just as they need it. Office Delve, previously codenamed "Oslo," will operate similar to Google now in pulling content from various online services and files stored in the cloud, in order to try and find relationships between documents, messages, and contacts.
Includes Home, Personal tiers
Microsoft has today updated the Office iPad apps -- including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint -- with in-app purchases of monthly Office 365 subscriptions. These are divided into Personal and Home tiers. The first costs $7 per month, and is limited to one iPad and one PC/Mac. It does, however, come with 1TB of cloud storage, and 60 minutes of Skype calling to cellphones and landlines.
More storage provided to Office 365 subscriptions, lower costs for extra capacity
Microsoft is becoming more aggressive in the cloud storage market against Google, by making a number of changes aimed at attracting more users. The free allocation of OneDrive storage will be doubled from 7GB to 15GB, bringing the service in line with Google Drive, with Microsoft also making some changes to storage included with Office 365 and its paid storage options.
FBI letter withdrawn after Microsoft court challenge, fought over disclosure issues
Documents related to a court battle between Microsoft and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were unsealed this week by a federal court in Seattle, Washington. The court battle, which was over a 2013 National Security Letter requesting information on a Office 365 customer, resulted in a rare victory for consumers when Microsoft was able to successfully argue the letter's legal standing.
Cheaper Office 365 subscription lowers computer, tablet, user count
Microsoft has launched a new cheaper tier of its Office 365 subscription service, aimed at individuals wanting to use the productivity suite. Hinted at last month, Office 365 Personal allows for the software to be installed and used on one PC or Mac and one tablet, including the iPad version, rather than the five computers and five tablets provided in the more expensive Office 365 Home Premium, renamed to Home, subscription plan.
Celebrates release of Office for iPad while boosting traffic
In a follow-up announcement after it took the wraps off its long-awaited Office for iPad app, Microsoft has announced that it will run a promotion on Friday in its own Microsoft retail stores offering free year-long Office 365 subscriptions to iPad owners. The Office for iPad app requires a Office 365 subscription in order to engage the editing and creation functions in the app -- without one, it will act only as a viewer and file manager for Office documents. The first 50 people to bring an iPad to a Microsoft retail outlet will get the free subscription, a $99 value.
Office Home Premium rebrands, drops 'premium' moniker
Today, Microsoft expanded its online-access Office 365 program with a new subscription option aimed at single users. The new Office 365 Personal tier is coming this spring, and allows one Windows or OS X computer along with one tablet to be connected to the Office 365 online suite of apps.
Android launch follows iPhone version, unusable on tablets
Microsoft has released a version of its Office Mobile app for Android smartphones, following a similar release on iPhone last month. The new app, usable on Android smartphones running version 4.0 or later of the mobile operating system, will be free to use for subscribers of Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 ProPlus.
Native apps carry over browser features
Microsoft has rolled out native iPhone and iPad versions of Outlook Web App. The iOS apps are aimed at organizations using Office 365 subscriptions with Exchange Online support, and replicate the features of the browser interface while implementing some functionality only possible with native code.
Limited to Office 365 subscribers
Microsoft has released native SkyDrive Pro apps for Windows 8 and iOS. The apps let users upload and share files to SkyDrive cloud storage, and open compatible photos, videos, and work documents. Unlike the regular SkyDrive apps, however, the Pro ones are limited to SharePoint Online users with Office 365 subscriptions.
Serves as companion for Office 365 subscribers
Microsoft has released Office Mobile, a companion iPhone app for Office 365 subscribers. The app lets users access and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents hosted on SkyDrive or SharePoint, or else attached to email messages. Documents can also be created wholesale and/or commented on, but only in the case of Word and Excel.
Switch to subscription-based software suites could take ten years
Microsoft has laid out the various changes the company will make to Office Web Apps in the future, with a focus on social features, partly confirming a previously leak. It has also revealed that, unlike Adobe's recent announcement of switching focus to providing subscription-based products, Microsoft will continue to release packaged versions of Office for the next few years.
Patch fixes numerous bugs, requires OS X 10.5.8 or higher
A new update is available for Microsoft Office 2011, the most recent version of the widely-used office suite. Version 14.3.4 addresses numerous issues and bugs, adds a needed font for sharing documents, and most importantly further refines the interoperability of the Office 365 initiative, allowing the option for users to jump to the subscription version of Office if they want. In addition, the new version adds the built-in option of saving files to SkyDrive and SharePoint in Microsoft Word.
Free 3-month offer extendable by Facebook sharing
Microsoft is offering students in US colleges access to the educational version of Office 365 at no charge. The free three months of access Office 365 University, doubled to six months after sharing the offer on Facebook, also includes an extra 20GB allocation of SkyDrive cloud-based storage and 60 minutes of Skype calls each month.
Office for Mac 14.3 available as standalone or as subscription
Following the release of Office 2013 earlier today, Microsoft has released an update for Microsoft Office for Mac 2011. In addition to resolving several outstanding bugs in the application, Office for Mac 2011 is now also available on a subscription basis in Microsoft's Office 365 offering. While Office for Mac 2011 still works with 10.5.8 or later, Office 365 Home Premium now requires OS X 10.6 or greater. The hard-drive based Office copy must be upgraded to 14.2.3 before application of the 14.3 patch.
Renewable four-year package to cost $80
Microsoft has announced a new Office package aimed at students. Office 365 University, set to be released in the first quarter of 2013, will offer a slightly altered version of the Office 365 suite. It will be priced low enough to appease most of those spending, and possibly borrowing, considerable sums to go into higher education, and could cut piracy of the Microsoft productivity tool.
Subscription-based model may become the norm for PC users
Microsoft will offer new buyers (as of October 19) of its existing Office 2011 standalone software for Macs the option of receiving either a free year's worth of the newly-announced Office 365 Home Premium -- a new consumer version of the online edition of Office that runs by subscription -- or a free upgrade to the next version of Microsoft Office for Mac. The promotion appears to be an either-or offer, but may give Mac users (for the first time) access to the entire suite of Office applications -- and a better look at the previously business-only Office 365.
MS to offer Mac users software update for Office for Mac 2011
In the aftermath of Microsoft's big Office 15 announcement this week it has emerged that there will be no new version of Office for Mac 2013 edition. The Next Web has received confirmation from Microsoft that instead, users of Office for Mac 2011 can expect a software update around the same time that the new version of Office 2013 launches. The update will bring tighter integration with SkyDrive and Office 365 enabling Mac users to access their documents from the cloud.
Some agencies remain leery of cloud migration, holding off
Microsofthas announced Office 365 for Government, its version of cloud productivity software. The specific government version of the suite released in July 2011 uses specific government-only encryption and storage to help soothe concerns about privacy and data security. Other than the government-level encrypted storage, Office 365 for Government is the same as regular Office 365, keeping Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and the other Office web apps in the cloud, but giving the option of installing a desktop version of the Office 2010 suite as well.
Microsoft full-page ad tackles Google policy swap
Microsoft has started running a slew of full-page newspaper ads in an attempt to scare users over Google's simpler privacy policies. It claims that Google's attempts to simplify and clarify its policies are disingenuous and that the real goal is to "connect the dots" between Google's services and track users. It goes on to insist that the policy makes it difficult to back out.
UC Berkeley says Gmail faster, more flexible
The University of California in Berkeley has posted a full breakdown of a recent decision to pick Google's Gmail and Google Apps over Microsoft's Office 365 in what represented a changing of the guard. Although not an unambiguous win, Google pulled ahead by being free, taking a fast six to ten weeks to implement, and popular. Using its system would require much less of an overhaul than Microsoft's, Berkeley said, and majority of the students and staff alike already knew the apps.
Cloud-based service leaves users stranded
In June, Microsoft launched its cloud-based Office 365 service in 40 markets worldwide. For $6 per month, Microsoft touted that with the service, apps and documents could always be up to date. Today, that cloud experienced an outage until shortly after 7PM Eastern, handing Microsoft a major embarrassment for its fledgling cloud service.
Office 365 service now available in 40 markets
Microsoft on Tuesday announced the launch of its cloud-based Office 365. Available in 40 markets, it includes Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online. All apps are always up to date and accessing them costs $6 per month, though service plans range from $2 to $27 per user per month. This full-blown launch follows a beta release launched last fall.
Microsoft and Toyota to have April 6 event
Microsoft and Toyota late Tuesday organized a special event for April 6 at 4PM Eastern. The two said little about what it would involve but alluded to a "collaboration" between them. It was important enough that Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer and his Toyota equivalent, Akio Toyoda, would both be present.