Meet the new Microsoft Office that is touch-ready, social and cloud

The whole new Microsoft Office delivers Office as a cloud service while harnessing innovations enabled by Windows 8.

A month ago, before Microsoft launch their own tablet, we predicted that the acquisition of Yammer might just signal the integration of the social network into its existing product suite, and might just see Microsoft launching Microsoft Office Suite 2013. We were right. One month later today, Microsoft announces the launch of its new Microsoft Office 2013, comes with a range of whole new range of features, including the integration of Yammer into it, bringing a touch of social network into its Microsoft Office Suite.

The new Microsoft Office Suite 2013 is completely thought from the ground up, and sees Microsoft taking a huge and bold move by introducing features such as Office on demand, as well as making the Office Suite available as a cloud-based subscription service. To add a social layer to it, the new Office Suite will also come with Skype, Yammer, and an integrated view of all your contacts, effectively adding a whole new layer of professionalism to it. Each of the individual Office applications such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Excel, OneNote and Microsoft Outlook comes with its own revamps.

The new Microsoft Office Suite 2013 proves the dedication of Microsoft in making its product more people-centric, and embraces the fact that social media can make work collaborations easier. Looking at the new design, I have to say, I cannot wait to lay my hands on them. Even when you run the installation of the Office Suite, it reads: “Welcome to Office. We think you’ll love it. Let’s get started.”

Read below for the full press release.

Press Release

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SAN FRANCISCO — July 16, 2012 – Today, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the customer preview of the new Microsoft Office, available at office.com/preview. The next release features an intuitive design that works beautifully with touch, stylus, mouse or keyboard across new Windows devices, including tablets. The new Office is social and unlocks modern scenarios in reading, note-taking, meetings and communications and will be delivered to subscribers through a cloud service that is always up to date.

“We are taking bold steps at Microsoft,” Ballmer said at the press conference in San Francisco. “The new, modern Office will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility for both consumers and business customers. It is a cloud service and will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8.”

Office at Its Best on Windows 8

Touch everywhere. Office responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. Swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations. Author new content and access features with the touch of a finger.

Inking. Use a stylus to create content, take notes and access features. Handwrite email responses and convert them automatically to text. Use your stylus as a laser pointer when presenting. Color your content and erase your mistakes with ease.

New Windows 8 applications. OneNote and Lync represent the first new Windows 8 style applications for Office. These applications are designed to deliver touch-first experiences on a tablet. A new radial menu in OneNote makes it easy to access features with your finger.

Included in Windows RT. Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, will be included on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Microsoft Surface.

Office Is in the Cloud

SkyDrive. Office saves documents to SkyDrive by default, so your content is always available across your tablet, PC and phone. Your documents are also available offline and sync when you reconnect.

Roaming. Once signed in to Office, your personalized settings, including your most recently used files, templates and even your custom dictionary, roam with you across virtually all of your devices. Office even remembers where you last left off and brings you right back to that spot in a single click.

Office on Demand. With a subscription, you can access Office even when you are away from your PC by streaming full-featured applications to an Internet-connected Windows-based PC.

New subscription services. The new Office is available as a cloud-based subscription service. As subscribers, consumers automatically get future upgrades in addition to exciting cloud services including Skype world minutes and extra SkyDrive storage. Subscribers receive multiple installs for everyone in the family and across their devices.

Office Is Social

Yammer. Yammer delivers a secure, private social network for businesses. You can sign up for free and begin using social networking instantly. Yammer offers integration with SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics.

Stay connected. Follow people, teams, documents and sites in SharePoint. View and embed pictures, videos and Office content in your activity feeds to stay current and update your colleagues.

People Card. Have an integrated view of your contacts everywhere in Office. The People Card includespresence information complete with pictures, status updates, contact information and activity feeds from Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

Skype. The new Office comes with Skype. When you subscribe, you get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month. Integrate Skype contacts into Lync and call or instant message anyone on Skype.

Office Unlocks New Scenarios

Digital note-taking. Keep your notes handy in the cloud and across multiple devices with OneNote. Use what feels most natural to you — take notes with touch, pen or keyboard, or use them together and switch easily back and forth.

Reading and markup. The Read Mode in Word provides a modern and easy-to-navigate reading experience that automatically adjusts for large and small screens. Zoom in and out of content, stream videos within documents, view revision marks and use touch to turn pages.

Meetings. PowerPoint features a new Presenter View that privately shows your current and upcoming slides, presentation time, and speaker notes in a single glance. While presenting, you can zoom, mark up and navigate your slides with touch and stylus. Lync includes multiparty HD video with presentations, shared OneNote notebooks and a virtual whiteboard for collaborative brainstorming.

Eighty-two-inch touch-enabled displays. Conduct more engaging meetings, presentations and lessons, whether in person or virtually, with these multitouch and stylus-enabled displays from Perceptive Pixel.

While the full lineup of offerings and pricing plans will be announced in the fall, Ballmer discussed three new Office 365 subscription services. When available, each new subscription offer will include the new 2013 editions of the Office applications — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. In addition, subscribers will receive future rights to version upgrades as well as per-use rights across up to five PCs or Macs and mobile devices. The three new editions will be the following:

Office 365 Home Premium — designed for families and consumers. This service also includes an additional 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month.

Office 365 Small Business Premium — designed for small businesses. This service also includes business-grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD webconferencing.

Office 365 ProPlus — designed for enterprise customers who want advanced business capabilities and the flexibility to deploy and manage in the cloud.

The customer preview is available at office.com/preview.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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Jacky Yap

Having spent one year abroad in Shanghai under the NUS Overseas College Programme, Jacky has an avid interest in entrepreneurship and web based startups. Jacky used to run N-House, Singapore's first entrepreneurial themed residence in NUS, and was also part of the organizing team for Startup Weekend Singapore 2012. You can reach him at jacky [at] e27 [dot] co

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