Although Microsoft has had its share of problems breaking into the mobile market, the company’s Office software is still the world’s most-used productivity software and is still a huge source of revenue. Per The Verge, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo on Tuesday that his company was in the midst of developing a “touch-first” version of Office that would release on the iPad shortly after releasing on Windows 8.1. Ballmer gave no information on when the touch-centric version of Office would be available and would only say that it’s a work “in progress.” Microsoft released a mobile version of Office for the iPhone and Android smartphones this year so it was only a matter of time before the company released a version of the software that’s tailored specifically to tablets.
The days when Microsoft would wait a whopping three years to push out big changes to its Office productivity software have come to an end. Bloomberg reports that Microsoft now plans to use its extensive cloud resources to push out updates to Office once every three weeks, a sea change for the company that fits in well with its pledge to issue big yearly updates for Windows. Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s Office division, also tells Bloomberg that “within a year, users of Internet-based versions of Office productivity software, as well as e-mail, telephony and collaboration tools, will have parts of their software refreshed weekly.”
Microsoft is starting to get creative when it comes to selling Windows-based tablets. We learned late last week that the company had started giving away keyboards for the Surface RT for a limited time and now The Verge reports that Microsoft is throwing in Office 2013 for free on smaller Windows 8 tablets. Microsoft said that while it’s up to OEMs to bundle the software, customers who buy 7-inch or 8-inch Windows tablets in the coming months should expect most of them to come with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote already installed. Smaller Windows 8 tablets won’t have access to Outlook 2013, however Microsoft did say that they’ll likely come installed with the less comprehensive Outlook RT that’s now included for free on Windows RT tablets.
If you buy a license for Microsoft Office 2013, be warned: You may only be allowed to use it on one machine, no matter the circumstances. Both InfoWorld’s Woody Leonhard and The Age’s Adam Turner have done good jobs of combing through the details of Microsoft’s (MSFT) latest Office licensing terms and have found that Office users can get “a perpetual license for the Office 2013 programs” that only covers one computer. This means that if your PC breaks and you have to buy a new one, you may not be able to transfer your Office 2013 license to your new machine and may have to pay for it all over again. More →
Following the huge loss reported by major mobile partner Nokia, Microsoft posted its fiscal third-quarter results on Thursday following the close of the market. Wall Street was expecting the software giant’s earnings to slide 7% year-over-year to $0.57 per share on sales of $17.18 billion, up 5% from the same quarter in 2011. Microsoft reported earnings of $0.60 per share, beating estimates, and revenue came in at $17.41 billion. Operating income totaled $6.37 billion, up 12% year-over-year. Read on for more. More →
Images of Microsoft’s product roadmap for partners have leaked onto the web. The documents were posted on Twitter by Maartin Visser, who discovered the them on the Microsoft Partner Network. The purported roadmap reveals new details regarding the next versions of upcoming products, including Office 15, Internet Explorer 10 and Windows Phone. Microsoft’s IE 10 could be out by mid-year according to the roadmap, possibly around around the same time as the Windows 8 Release Candidate. Office 15 is expected to enter its beta-testing phase midway through 2012 and become available in the early part of 2013. Window Phone will see “future investments” somewhere around the third quarter of this year, possibly indicating an Apollo launch. A second image can found after the break. More →
OnLive, a company known for its cloud-based gaming service, has been pushing its “Desktop App” for iPad and select Android tablets. The program uses virtualization technology to create a remotely hosted, fully functional version of Windows 7 desktop — Microsoft’s Office suite included — on a tablet, and has been met with a great deal of praise. Microsoft, however, cannot be counted among the service’s fans. In a post on the company’s blog, the software giant expressed concerns that the app may be in violation of its licensing agreements and is “actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and we are committed to seeing this issue is resolved.” OnLive did not immediately respond to a request for comment. More →
Microsoft is confirmed to be working on a version of its wildly popular Office productivity suite for Apple’s iPad, and The Daily managed to get some hands on time with the highly anticipated software ahead of its release. Microsoft Office for iPad will bring Word, Excel and PowerPoint functionality to Apple’s tablet — presuming the app is approved by Apple — and it is unclear if Microsoft has plans to add additional Office applications in the future. The app has a similar look to Microsoft’s OneNote app for iOS, which borrows largely from the Metro-themed Office software on the Windows Phone platform. The Daily’s report states that Microsoft plans to submit Office for iPad to Apple for approval in the coming weeks, though a firm time frame was not provided.
UPDATE Microsoft told ZDNet that the image above is a fake. The company did not comment on whether or not it has a version of Office for the iPad in development. More →
Apple reportedly has plans to open a new office in Israel, its first center outside of its Cupertino, California headquarters. The outpost will be headed by Aharon Aharon, Israeli business news site Globes said Wednesday, noting that Aharon is a well established figure in Israeli technology circles. Aharon currently serves as the chairman of radio frequency imaging firm Camero Tech Ltd. He has also served on the board of Discretix and once worked as a vice president for Zoran Corporation. Israeli’s new Apple head will train in Cupertino for several months before opening the Israel-based facility, the report says. This isn’t the first move Apple has made in Israel recently: the company is reportedly in acquisition talks with Anobit, a fabless flash storage vendor that has provided parts to Apple for its iPad, iPhone and iPod touch product families. Rumors have suggested Apple could spend as much as $400 to $500 million for Anobit. More →
Microsoft may be working to develop a special version of its Office suite for Apple’s iPad. The company is also reportedly prepping an Office Suite update that will add official support for Lion and may be available from the Mac App Store, The Daily reported Tuesday. The new Office apps for Lion could cost as little as $10 each, or the same price Apple charges for its Keynote, Numbers and Pages titles, and they will also support sync with Office 365 and other mobile versions of the application. No additional details were reported regarding pricing or a release schedule for Microsoft’s Office for iPad. “We already deliver Office on multiple platforms and devices and are committed to expanding in the future, but have nothing further to share today,” Microsoft said in a statement to CNET, neglecting to confirm or deny the report. More →
Moments ago, Microsoft officially released its new cloud-based Office product, Office 365, which will compete directly with Google Docs. The Office 365 suite, which has been in public beta for awhile now, is being targeted at the enterprise market and plans for the entire suite cost between $10 and $27 each month depending on the feature set chosen. Small and medium-sized businesses can also choose a more cost effective $6 option that only includes Office Web Apps and Microsoft Exchange. Those options, however, are all more expensive than the $50 annual fee that Google charges corporate users for access to its Google Docs suite. Microsoft’s full press release follows below. More →
A new page has been revealed on the Best Buy Mexico website that may shed light on the release date for Apple’s upcoming iWork refresh. According to the page, which has been pulled from Best Buy Mexico’s website, the company will be holding a launch event on February 19th to celebrate the arrival of iWork ’11. Apple has not yet announced a launch date for the new version of its iWork productivity suite, though this leak on the Best Buy Mexico site does line up well with earlier rumors. iWork competes with Microsoft’s Office suite and consists of Pages, Apple’s word processing application; Numbers, a spreadsheet app; and Keynote, a presentation tool akin to PowerPoint. More →
Sales of illegitimate copies of Microsoft programs may be doing more than just lining hackers’ pockets. According to Microsoft’s lawyers, notorious Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana is selling counterfeit Microsoft software to help fund kidnappings, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and other criminal activities. David Finn, Microsoft’s Associate General Counsel dealing with Worldwide Anti-piracy and Anti-counterfeiting, wrote about the problem in a blog post on Thursday. “An important theme that resonated among the international groups is the number of organized criminal gangs that rely on the profits gleaned from pirated software to fund other crimes,” Finn wrote on a Microsoft blog. “Sophisticated criminal syndicates and drug cartels are building large scale counterfeiting operations and selling illegal software to consumers. These illegal enterprises have generated astronomical profits that the gangs funnel toward violent crimes such as drug trafficking, arms and weapons trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.” Finn went on to cite a study conducted by Mexico’s Attorney General stating that the Familia cartel earns more than $2.2 million each day — over $800 million annually — from sales of counterfeit goods. More →