Microsoft has released the last preview of its latest build of Office – the first release of one of Redmond's biggest cash cows.
"This is the first round of Office designed from the get-go for Office to be a service," said CEO Steve Ballmer at a press conference in San Francisco. "We've transformed Office to embrace design concepts shown in Windows 8 and Phone 8 and in Metro. This wave of Office is the biggest and most ambitious we've ever done."
The application suite has been rewritten from the ground up, he said, and while Redmond will still support those who want to install their own copy, Microsoft hopes that the bulk of users will use its code in a cloudy fashion. Developers can also build third-party web applications and embed them in Office.
By default, Office applications will store preferences, custom dictionaries, and – most importantly – documents, in the cloud via SkyDrive. This all fits in the "Metro everywhere" philosophy that Microsodt is pushing, but some companies will have to look at whether this cloudy control is really what they want.
This is also a very touchy-feely build, with pinch controls in all the Office applications. There are the usual expansion/contraction pinch controls, plus swiping between functions within Office and doing things such as selecting fonts and type styles using rotary controls. A stylus can be integrated as well, either to annotate documents or act as a pointer during presentations. Read more...
A leaked Microsoft roadmap shows that the next version of Office won't ship until the first quarter of 2013, according to the Dutch developer who found the document.
Maarten Visser, the CEO of Meetroo and a decade-long Microsoft partner, stumbled upon the roadmap a week ago after clicking on a link posted on Microsoft's Dutch website. The PDF was not password protected.
"I'm always curious about the roadmaps," said Visser in a YouTube video he posted yesterday. "For me, since we build SharePoint applications, the release of SharePoint 15 is an important thing. The better I know when this will happen, the better I will be to ready my products before launch."
Visser's Meetroo is building project management software that relies on SharePoint. Read more...
Microsoft has quietly launched a support website where experts charge $99 for one- or two-hour sessions designed to rid PCs of malware, speed up a machine or solve problems with Windows or Office.
Answer Desk debuted with no fanfare from Microsoft, which has not deigned to mention the new service in a press release or promote it on the front page of its domain, or even, surprisingly, on its consumer-slanted Windows website.
One of the few places the service does appear is on the Microsoft Store site, where Microsoft sells its own software, the Xbox game system and select OEM's Windows desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.
The new support option is so low-key that Microsoft apparently scrubbed a Dec. 9 blog announcing Answer Desk. The blog, penned by Blake Morrison -- listed on LinkedIn as a Microsoft senior support escalation engineer -- no longer exists on Microsoft's TechNet blog network, although a cached edition was still available Tuesday morning. Read more...
Finnish company Digia has opened an office in the U.S. in an effort to boost the commercial usage of a cross-platform application and user interface framework Qt, it said on Tuesday.
In March, Digia announced it was acquiring Nokia's Qt Commercial licensing and services business. Nokia kept control of the software itself.
Qt is designed to let developers write and deploy applications across desktop, mobile, and embedded OSes without rewriting the source code. It is available either as open source or under a commercial license. Companies that want to use the latter for its embedded and desktop systems can now turn to Digia. Read more...
The trial version of Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 includes fully-functional versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, the suite's word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager, and email client.
Users can run the trial edition for 30 days. Read more...