This past week in San Francisco Microsoft announced the upcoming release of Office 2013. I am writing this post on Saturday so a review of the new look and features is already old news. I am an Office 365 subscriber, though, so what exactly does this new release of Office mean for me? What is the next generation of Office? Is it 2013, is it 365 or is it both? In many ways Office 2013 seems to blur the distinction between desktop and cloud.
Clearly Office 2013 has been designed with the cloud in mind. For one thing Office 2013 documents are saved to SkyDrive by default. These documents are then easily accessible from the Office 365 web apps as well as from other devices (PCs and tablets for example) running Office 2013. I would like to see better integrated support for automatic synchronization between online and offline document versions but perhaps that will be forthcoming. Office 2013 will also feature integration with two cloud collaboration technologies (Yammer and Skype) that Microsoft has acquired.
Although Microsoft has stated that they will push out updates to the Office Web Apps in Office 365 it is not yet clear which of the new Office 2013 features will be supported. Presumably Office 365 subscribers who have purchased a plan which includes Office Professional Plus will be able to download Office 2013 client applications for no additional cost when it becomes a released product and Office 2013 can be acquired by itself in either a traditional or subscription based licensing model. It also appears that Microsoft intends to target consumers (individuals and families) with the new Office 365 Home Premium version.
To learn more about how Office 365 can be leveraged for productivity Learning Tree offers a comprehensive four-day Office 365 course. It is scheduled to next run in New York on September 18th, 2012. It is a great course and that is a great time of year to visit the city. The weather is a bit cooler and it is less crowded than in the summer. I hope to see you there!