Microsoft Releases Office 2013 Service Pack 1
A new round of bug fixes and enhancements for Office, SharePoint and Exchange Server brings Windows 8.1 support, self-service BI and tighter email security to the company's line of business software.Microsoft has issued the first major service pack (SP1) for Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Exchange Server 2013, smoothing over some of the bumps between the business productivity portfolio, the company's latest OS builds and the devices that run them. In a Feb. 25 blog post, Microsoft marketing manager Chris Schneider claimed that SP1 "delivers greater stability, expanded functionality, security enhancements and improved compatibility with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2." Office 365 subscribers always have the "most up-to-date version of Office products" at their disposal, he added, referencing the cloud-enabled software's accelerated update cadence. Microsoft's Office Sustained Engineering Team revealed in a related blog post that SP1 not only squashes bugs, but also includes several enhancements that will help Office run more smoothly on the company's new OS, browser and cloud offerings. They include compatibility improvements for Windows 8.1 and Internet Explorer 11; support for pixel-packed, high DPI displays; and a transition from SkyDrive Pro to OneDrive for Business. The company recently rebranded SkyDrive following a court defeat in the U.K. last summer. BSkyB, a British broadcaster, successfully argued a trademark infringement case against the software giant, forcing Microsoft to adopt a new name for its cloud storage service.
SP1 includes Power Map for Excel (formerly GeoFlow), a 3D visualization tool that is part of Microsoft's PowerBI for Office 365 suite. The company's answer to the big data skills gap, PowerBI leverages the Windows Azure cloud platform and provides user-friendly controls, filters and natural-language search, enabling Office 365 users to explore data on interactive maps in Excel.