Microsoft Office is not yet another revamp of this world-renown suite of products. The looks have changed, and some of the functionality has changed too, but it is the “Office in the cloud” concept that makes this new version a breakthrough in the history of the Office suite. It combines all the classic tools (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) with multi-device support and online storage, and a completely new purchase scheme.
Office refers directly to the all-year-round concept inherent to the new “Office in the cloud” architecture. The new Office tries to cover all possible needs and all possible users by providing six different products, subscription and one-time purchase services, online and offline storage, support for iPads and other tablets and smart phones, etc.
Office is available via annual of monthly subscription only. Its three versions (Home, Personal, and University) have been designed with the “mobile user” in mind. It comes with all the classic apps we all know and use – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, Outlook, Access, etc. – but Microsoft has made it a multiple-user, multiple-device suite that will let you access your documents and all your information while on the go just as if you were sitting in front of your desktop at home. Besides, it provides you with an hour of free calls worldwide via Skype, as well as permanently (and automatically) updated Office apps, and up to 27 GB of online storage space.
Office Standard, Home & Student, Home & Business, and Professional follow the “traditional” one-time purchase approach and they have been designed for a less mobile user, or even for mobile users that simply don’t require permanent access to their documents and data. They also come with all usual Office tools, except for Access 2013, exclusive to Professional users now.
The look and feel of all these well-known applications have been revamped to look more Windows 8, even though they still follow the ribbon-based interface design. Lines have been softened, main menu options have been capitalized for better visibility, and the new options have been neatly integrated in the previous layout of the various apps to avoid traumatic changes. All in all, the new interfaces for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., look somehow clearer while preserving a ribbon structure that’s still too new to be replaced.
Microsoft Office requires you to rethink all the assumptions you had about this suite of tools. Times are a-changin', and so are Office and the entire concept of mobile business, cloud computing, online storage, and corporate privacy.