Microsoft will release a launch of Office 2010 to 2013 upgrade program on October 19th. Microsoft has already showed a live public demo of the Windows RT version of Office 2013 at the TechEd conference in Orlando, hinting that the new version of the productivity suite is close to finished.
While Windows 8 has seen three versions offered to the public so far for download, there have been no public versions of Office 2013 offered. So far, the only version of Office 2013 to be released was a Technical Preview given to some developers and partners in January of this year.
At this point it's still unclear what Microsoft will call the productivity suite. Microsoft typically sticks to Office and year date for its products, but the internal codename for the software has been Office 15. Office 15 is how Microsoft has referred to the software suite when speaking about it; we assume Office 2013 will be the official name. Microsoft will include a version of Office on every Windows RT tablet sold, including its own Surface tablet.
Turning to the new features of Office 2013, software applications are designed to integrate with social media apps such as Flickr or Facebook via the cloud.
"This means Office 2013 can be delivered via cloud subscription services with software deployed streaming from the internet," he said.
According to Atalla, the vendor had taken notes from the way consumers use social networking and applied this to the Office business environment. For example, Office users can 'follow' websites, documents and people that they work with for collaboration purposes.
However, IT managers who have to deploy the software had not been left out. Atalla said that Office 2013 would feature improved data loss prevention and enterprise information management so IT managers could keep the work environment secure.
While Office 2013 has been designed for a touch screen tablet, he said that users who preferred to use a stylus to tap the screen or navigate using a wireless mouse would not be left out.
For example, the stylus can be used as a laser pointer while the wireless mouse used to access the Outlook email, calendar or other applications. In addition, a wireless keyboard is available for users who want the option to touch type. Another change is the simplified Outlook view. According to Atalla, users are accustomed to seeing a number of applications and folders in Outlook.
"If you have a 24-inch monitor that might make a lot of sense but with the 11-inch tablet screen you want to get some of that clutter out of your way so you can focus on the task at hand such as reading emails," he said. With Office 2013, folders stay out of the way while the user is reading their emails. They can also use the touch screen to reply to messages.
Turning to the benefits for IT managers who will be required to roll out Office 2013, Atalla said that the new software had integrated application virtualization technology which allows IT staff to install Office in a "more flexible way".
According to Atalla, IT managers can have users up and running with Office in a few minutes as opposed to 30 minutes for previous rollouts.
"There is also the ability for CIOs and IT departments to manage deployment and updates to machines without having to deploy large packages of Windows installer files to a desktop," he said.
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