Monday Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the wraps off the newest version of the company’s popular suite of Office software: Office 15.
“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.”
Sporting a new Metro look, the newest version of Office is now touch-friendly, allowing you tap on your screen to make selections, as well as pinch and zoom to read documents and presentations.
The People Card familiar to Windows Phone users takes the stage in Office 15, including pictures, status updates, contact information and activity feeds from Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
Now a cloud-based subscription service, the new Office is tied to you rather than your computer. As updates are released during your subscription period, you’ll get them for free. Heavily tied to the cloud, Office saves documents by default to the cloud, allowing you to access your content while on the go on other devices such as your tablet and phone.
Office 15 will be included on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Microsoft’s self-branded Surface tablet. It will also be available as a standalone product, with pricing and availability set to come.
- 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.
You can give the new Office a test drive with the consumer preview of the software suite, available today on Microsoft’s website.
What do you think? Are any of you excited about the new Office? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.