Office 2013 Preview Debut and 10 Things It Says About Microsoft's Future

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-07-17

Office 2013 Preview Debut and 10 Things It Says About Microsoft's Future

Microsoft on July 16 announced a new Office that the enterprise software giant has give a final, official name. The business productivity application suite, which the news media are calling either Office 2013 or Office 15 until Microsoft lays down the final branding, comes with a host of improvements designed to make the software more cloud- and mobile-friendly. 

Among the changes is a tablet interface and one that will let Office work quite well on smartphones. Whether consumers and enterprise users will actually take advantage of the feature, however, remains to be seen. 

Regardless, Office 2013 looks to be, at this point, a solid offering for consumers and enterprise users alike. More importantly, it appears to provide some insight into what Microsoft is thinking and what it believes will be integral to its success over the long-term. From the cloud to strong design to even Skype, it appears there are several elements that will have an important role in Microsoft€™s future success. 

Read on to find out what the improvement in Office 2013 says about Microsoft and where it€™s heading in the coming years. 

1. The cloud matters 

Microsoft seems convinced that the cloud is vastly important to its future. With Office 2013, for example, the company is emphasizing how closely tied the platform will be with the Web. From its Office 365 linkage to its connection to the SkyDrive cloud storage service, Office 2013 seems to underscore just how important the cloud has finally become for Microsoft. 

2. So does the mobile space 

The mobile space is arguably the most important frontier for Microsoft. In Office 2013, the company said that the suite has been optimized for tablets and will work well on smartphones. Microsoft realizes that productivity-suite users want to go mobile today and it is decisively accommodating them. 

3. Timing is everything 

So far, Microsoft hasn€™t said exactly when it will launch Office 2013. But the latest word is that it will deliver the suite in October at about the same time it releases Windows 8, Windows RT and the Surface tablet. The move is a not-so-subtle attempt to try and take advantage of the crucial holiday-shopping season and get vendors to have their products ready for the end of the year. It€™s also when many enterprise IT managers are making critical end-of-the year buying decision to use up their capital budget allocations. More than ever, Microsoft understands timing is everything. 

4. Skype will be everywhere 

When Microsoft decided to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion, the company said that it would bring the VOIP service to many of its products. It€™s making an important showing in Office 2013. Does that mean Skype will likely play a crucial role in the rest of the company€™s products? You can bet on it. 

Microsoft Wants to Keep Customers Focused on Windows


5. Keeping an eye on design? 

For years, Office was designed solely to be a useful productivity tool. But nowadays, Microsoft cares far more about design. That€™s why Windows 8 has such a unique, and some might say, nice design and why Microsoft has spent so much time improving the look and feel of Office. Design matters to Microsoft. 

6. It€™s still Windows first 

Microsoft will more than likely make a new version of Office available to Mac users, but the June 16 event focused solely on the Windows version. The decision to not discuss Mac underscores Microsoft€™s desire to deliver the best features to Windows users first. Only when it€™s ready will Microsoft offer up a new version of Windows for Macs. 

7. Looking ahead, not back 

Microsoft says that Office 2013 will work with Windows 7 and Windows 8, but those running outdated Windows XP or Windows Vista will be out of luck. It€™s actually refreshing to see Microsoft make that move. For too long, the software company focused on supporting legacy versions. It€™s about time it changes that. 

8. Office 365 matters 

According to Microsoft, owners of Office 2013 will be given the opportunity to buy the product with a subscription service delivered through Office 365. The move appears to highlight how important Office 365 is to Microsoft and why it might become a key part of the company€™s strategy in the coming years. Yes, Office 365 matters. 

9. Office is still its bread and butter application

Following that, it€™s important to note just how important Office appears to be for Microsoft. The company gave the software its own special event in San Francisco and dramatically changed the business model behind it to increase revenue. Office is very, very important to Microsoft, and enterprise users that rely upon it should be quite pleased to hear that. 

10. It€™s still the same old Microsoft 

When it€™s all said and done, however, it€™s important to point out that all of the additions and decisions made surrounding Office 2013 display more of the same from the software company. Office is still central to Microsoft€™s future success; the company is unwilling to give OS X early application support lest that lend Apple€™s platform additional credibility in the enterprise; and it wants to keep customers locked into Windows and its own Windows applications. It€™s definitely business as usual at Microsoft. 

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