Last week Microsoft announced its latest version of Microsoft Office and opened it
for customer preview. If, however, you're still running Windows XP or Vista, you're out of luck, as Office 2013 is only being offered for users running Windows 7 or newer. While it does not improve many application features, Office 2013 does clarify what Microsoft plans to do in the cloud to compete with Google's cloud services.
Office 2013 is still being offered as traditional desktop software with a perpetual license, like its previous versions. The new sparkle, however, is that it is also available as Office 365, in which the traditional software is being bundled with a subscription plan, allowing you to access your Office products from any Windows 7 or 8 PC, notebook, or tablet with an internet connection. When purchased as part of an Office 365 subscription, the latest versions of Office 2013 programs and associated services are always available.
An Office 365 subscription means users can sign in from someone else's PC to work on a document or project and be able to access a cloud-based version of their own Office software, complete with settings and documents. When the document or project is closed, it will be removed from that PC. Google Docs may be free, but Microsoft is more feature-rich, so allowing this cloud functionality to stay competitive will likely prove to be a smart move.
And what about Mac? According to The Verge, Microsoft has confirmed that it will not be updating MS Office for the Mac with a new 2013 edition, but will be releasing a Mac update allowing users to access SkyDrive or Office 365. Now what's the difference between SkyDrive and Office 365? (Don't worry, I'm confused too!) Office 365 will allow users to access their fully functioning Office product from another computer, while SkyDrive provides cloud storage of documents as well as MS web apps. So with SkyDrive you'll be able to access your documents from other computers, but you'll be using a less robust web app version of Office. Office 365 will be a paid subscription, while SkyDrive is free.
AJ teaches a live, 3-hour class that offers tips/tricks for improving the look and feel of your PowerPoint presentations: Slide Sprucing: Remodeling Lackluster PowerPoint Slides for eLearning and Presentations.