Microsoft recently announced the latest release of their Office suite: Microsoft Office 15. This product, as with their next operating system release Windows 8, is designed for mobility devices like tablets and smart phones. It is also designed to work directly with own rapidly evolving Cloud services.
As mentioned in Gizbot’s article on the subject matter:
The support to cloud computing allows users to store documents and settings on the internet. This is a default feature and will be very useful for the tablet users. The software also comes with the Skype service that was bought by Microsoft in 2011.
You can download the FREE preview product directly from Microsoft, here,
For those people who are unaware, Microsoft is making huge changes to the look and feel of their Windows 8 operating system, to look more like a device for mobile computing. The new user interface (aka UI) will look startlingly unfamiliar and somewhat unintuitive to previous designs.
Here is what Microsoft designed in the 1990’s:
One perspective is that this consistent layout with the START button on the bottom left corner of the screen was helpful to enterprise and corporate offices. It allowed people to get trained quickly and made it easy for other users to train new users and employees.
As times changed and the marketing concept of branding became more important, new graphical enhancements were added to Microsoft’s look. Even these slight changes made it difficult for corporate business users to cope with any alteration. Microsoft’s Vista, pictured below, was so shockingly different to people who had been using the graphical familiarity starting with Windows 95, and the business release called Windows NT, that Vista was completely left out of most corporate offices.
The additional problem enterprise environments had with Microsoft’s advances of Vista included graphical enhancements and the need for more power on every machine to drive these new graphics. Every computer in every office needed to be upgraded or replaced to properly run Vista. These factors made it difficult for companies to justify the upgrade – due to the proposed cost increase for the next system. (There were other reasons that stopped businesses from upgrading as well like server compatibility, but these are ‘out of scope’ for this blog post.)
By the time Windows 7 hit the market place, the cost for upgrades were tolerable and the benefits of the new system were more tempting to businesses. Instead of a business spending an additional $800 to $1000 to upgrade each computer two years prior, hardware costs dropped tremendously. It was now less expensive to upgrade their older Windows systems and more readily adopted than Windows Vista.
WINDOWS 8 – – The mobile revolution, and Metro Style
Windows 8 is available for Free for testing purposes, but is a complete overhaul of their entire look and feel from previous decades of operating system designs.
Here is a sample of their new user interface, known in tech circles as Metro:
The new Windows 8 Metro User Interface offers end users a more flexible Windows interface. While this will alter the way people do their work in Windows, these changes will be adopted and appreciated after getting used to them over time.
Microsoft Office 15 has also been designed for tablets in the Metro interface:
Microsoft has offered a cloud-based subscription service, instead of buying the software and installing it. This cloud product is called Office 365. Clearly in direct competition with Google Docs and Google Apps, it is designed for business owners and employees who want the advantages of using an online service for Microsoft Office document management, editing and creation.
Here is the breakdown of the Office 365 :
- 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 web conferencing.
- Office 365 ProPlus — designed for enterprise customers who want advanced business capabilities and the flexibility to deploy and manage in the cloud.
With all of these product offerings it is not clear to businesses as to what makes the most sense going forward. Two issues based around these new offerings, but not often discussed are security of keeping these documents private, and backups. Without properly understanding your business future and your future needs, buying the wrong product from Microsoft could potentially triple your costs in IT.