Microsoft Office 2016 Arrives Next Month

Microsoft has spilled the beans on their latest office suite, which is set to arrive next month. According to information accidentally leaked by a Microsoft intranet site, Microsoft Office 2016 will be launched on September 22nd, a little under a month from now. While we got a refresh for Microsoft Office for Mac earlier in the year, this suite will be for the PC market and replace the now 3 years old Office 2013.

According to sources, Office 2016 will bring the PC version of Office in line with the Mac, iOS and Android versions. We can expect a number of UI and interface changes which we’ve probably already seen on the other platforms. We can also expect a new theme to match as well along with a new dark theme which should be much easier on the eyes. One major continuity is that Office 2016 will cost pretty much the same as Office 2013; the only price change will come in the form of a new tier for Office 365.

Speaking of Office 365, it is interesting to see how the office suite landscape is evolving. Despite many users now opting for free alternatives like Libre/Open Office and cloud-based solutions like Google Docs, Office still remains a mainstay for both home and business. Even Office 365 isn’t quite enough to lure users away, though the monthly subscription fees probably don’t help in the long run, especially for home users. With releases around every 3 years, it will be interesting to see what the next iteration of Office will look like.

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Microsoft Update Takes Down Bing and Yahoo

The outages of search engines Bing and Yahoo! Search on Friday night has been attributed to a flawed piece of code uploaded to servers by Microsoft. The bad code also took down, Microsoft’s Hotmail redirect, and Office 365 for a short period.

Yahoo’s search facility is now powered by Microsoft Bing, hence why both services were rendered inactive. Microsoft was forced to shut down its online servers while it corrected the error. The Bing search engine is back online, but Yahoo users are still reporting faults.

Source: The Register

Microsoft Announces $199 Work & Play Bundle

In a bundle surely to top all bundles, Microsoft is throwing together four of its subscription-based products and services into one $199 package. The “Work and Play” bundle includes Office 365 Home, Skype Unlimited World and WiFi, Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Music Pass.

The sale of this bundle is rather odd, as it seems that Microsoft is only making it available from November 10th 2014 to January 4th 2015 “or while supplies last.” It will also only be available through “select Microsoft full line retail stores in the United States only.” The bundle is only another sign of Microsoft’s big push towards subscription services, something that a lot of software developers are doing, including Adobe with its ‘Creative Cloud’ package.

Some consumers like the idea of spreading the cost with a subscription, while others prefer to buy and then own a copy of that software for life. What do you think? Do you prefer spreading the cost or do you want to own that copy of Microsoft Office?

Source: ZDNet

Microsoft Office Reportedly Heading for Android Tablets

Microsoft has launched its Office product for the iPad earlier this year, having it be a stripped-down version of the actual Microsoft Office for desktop, designed specifically for the iPad. It apparently has been released ahead of Microsoft’s own Windows tablets, which is a little ironic.

Rumor now has it that the Android version of Office is nearly here, having Android tablet users be able to benefit from Microsoft’s product by the end of the year. The Android version is said to be similar to the iPad version, having users with an Office 365 subscription able to use it. Microsoft is apparently looking for private beta testers, having companies to individuals given an equal chance to sign up for the beta program over at Microsoft’s SharePoint website.

This information points to the Android version of Office being released ahead of the Windows version as well. Though this might sound as a ‘failure’ for the company, it could be a big thing financial-wise. This is because iOS and Android are currently ahead of Microsoft’s mobile OS, and thus have more potential in drawing companies and individual users to benefit from Microsoft’s product. Also, this move can further improve Microsoft’s final version of Office for Windows tablets, having it releasing a more stable and bug-free product for its own OS.

Microsoft is said to be releasing the Office product for its own devices later on in 2015. Until then, Android tablet users can sign up to experience the Office product on their own devices through the beta program.

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China Cracks Down On Microsoft: Bans Microsoft Office In Government Institutions

Reports coming out of China suggest that Chinese central government has issued a ban on Microsoft’s Office software in parts of the Central government and its subordinate departments. The move follows on from the Windows 8 ban on central government systems in May earlier this year. China has reportedly made the moves in order to enhance national security, they likely fear for the integrity and security of the software after all the NSA revelations of the past few years. Instead of using Microsoft Office the Chinese government will reportedly use domestic equivalents such as the Kingsoft Office package. Microsoft had recently been hoping that the Chinese government would migrate their systems from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8.X but this looks increasingly unlikely as relations between Microsoft and China deteriorate.

Source: CRI, Via: Softpedia

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Office 365 Admin App Available On Android and iOS

The new Microsoft Office 365 gives small companies and even corporation the ability to use the cloud in their advantage when it comes to office work and productivity. But there still needs to be someone there to manage it all. Thankfully, now you can manage the office software remotely with the help of the Office 365 Admin App, which recently rolled out for Android and iOS devices as well.

The Office 365 Admin app enables administrators to view the service health of their Office 365 environment on-the-go. Since it first launched on November 21st on Windows Phone 8, thousands of Office 365 administrators have downloaded the app. As of today, the app is now available for Android and iOS 7 as promised in the original Microsoft blog post, helping administrators to check the service health of your Office 365 service on the go.

To access service health data with the Office 365 Admin app, you must have an active Office 365 subscription with administrator user rights. Also, this app does not currently support Windows Azure Active Directory Multi-Factor Authentication unfortunately. The app can be downloaded for iOS 7 device from the Apple App Store and for Android 4.2.1+ devices from the Google Play Store.

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Microsoft Moves Cloud Hosting To EU For New Office 365 Member

Microsoft has just teamed up with the corporation Capita to offer them the Office 365 service according to the Channel. The deal will see Microsoft host all employee emails and some 20,000 staff will be migrated over to Microsoft’s cloud service. Apparently Microsoft’s service is more cost-effective and Microsoft has pledged to host entirely within the EU and that it will obey all data protection obligations within the EU.

Despite Microsoft pledging to host in the EU, so data is subject to European laws, Capita has still decided to host and secure its most sensitive data itself because it is naturally still dubious about Microsoft’s cooperation with the NSA and the PRISM program that saw the NSA using American companies in foreign nations to harvest data.

Microsoft’s Office 365 service was developed so that they could take Google on more strongly in the business and enterprise sector in response to losing a lot of accounts to Google. Despite early start-up problems the service now shows 99.7% up-time and even though it cannot compete with Google on price it is still doing reasonably well.

You can read more details on Microsoft’s Office 365 capita deal here, they also have a lot more information about Microsoft 365 and their competition with Google’s services if you’re interested in that kind of thing.

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Microsoft Introduces SkyDrive Pro Client For Windows Download

SkyDrive, Microsoft’s free cloud storage client, has been mainly used with your online email client such as Outlook or Hotmail, or with your Microsoft Office packages that allow syncing to Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

Recently Microsoft have released SkyDrive Pro, which is a new standalone client for Windows that allows you to sync files on your Windows based system with your SkyDrive account. SkyDrive Pro does not require any version of Microsoft Office to be installed to use it either. The new client is mainly targeted at Office 365 users and towards the business/enterprise market.

“The standalone SkyDrive Pro sync client allows users of SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online in Office 365 to sync their personal SkyDrive Pro and any SharePoint 2013 or Office 365 team site document libraries to their local machine for access to important content on and offline. The SkyDrive Pro client can be installed side-by-side with previous versions of Office (Office 2010, Office 2007, etc),”

If you are a more “normal” user and have no uses for the SkyDrive “Pro” client then a standard SkyDrive app/client has already been made available for Android, iOS and Windows.

With all that said you can see the download links below:

Do you use SkyDrive? What are your thoughts on it? Will SkyDrive Pro be useful to you?