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1/29/2013
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MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider

Microsoft Office 2013 offers some compelling new features, especially for mobile users. But how will buyers respond to the new version's license shake-up and cloud emphasis?

As expected, Microsoft on Tuesday announced the general availability of both its updated Microsoft Office suite and its Office 365 subscription service. Office 2013 applications have been available to certain IT professionals, businesses and developers for months, but the new release marks the purchase opportunity for those outside these select circles.

Does the newest iteration of Redmond's flagship software merit an upgrade? InformationWeek breaks down four key points to consider:

1. Microsoft really wants users to sign up for a subscription.

Though consumers can still purchase standalone versions of Office products, Microsoft is aggressively pushing its Office 365 subscription services. For those who prefer the former, the new pricing model offers relatively restricted packages and higher initial costs. For those open to the latter, it boasts immediate access to the newest releases, more flexibility and -- depending on the number of devices running the software -- lower prices. This departure from earlier licensing structures is likely to be one of the most discussed aspects of the new suite, as it remains to be seen whether buyers will view it as a welcome incentive, an annoyance or a strong-arm tactic.

Available only to eligible students and educators, Office 365 University offers the lowest entry cost, at $79.99 for a four-year subscription that permits the full fleet of products to be run on up to two PCs. Microsoft's consumer-oriented Office 365 Home Premium, meanwhile, will set buyers back $99.99 per year. Like the education license, Home Premium provides access to the most up-to-date versions of all Office apps, but it allows installation on up to five machines. Both subscription packages offer on-demand services, 20 GB of additional SkyDrive storage and 60 monthly minutes of Skype international calling.

[ For more on Microsoft's Office 2013 strategy, see MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be A Hit? ]

At $139.99, Office Home and Student 2013, the base standalone suite, includes only Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Office Home and Business 2013 adds Outlook to the package for $219.99. At $399.99, Office Professional 2013 completes the offering with Publisher and Access. The standalone products permit the applications to be used on only one machine and do not include on-demand options, Skype incentives or extra SkyDrive space.

SMB and Enterprise-oriented Office 365 products that include Lync and InfoPath are expected to become available in late February.

2. SkyDrive could attract Google Docs users.

As mentioned above, Microsoft is pushing its 365 options with not only installation flexibility and lower entry costs, but also expanded SkyDrive resources. Despite lacking Word's full functionality, Google Docs has slowly muscled into the word processing and spreadsheet games -- and the SkyDrive emphasis can be at least partly seen as an effort to curb this momentum. Mobile workers and others who collaborate remotely might appreciate the effort, as SkyDrive allows not only storage but also for a document to be simultaneously edited by people in different locations. It also syncs document updates to other licensed devices.

For users who are leery of the cloud, it also provides data security reassurances. If Internet connectivity is lost while a user works on a SkyDrive-stored document, Office 2013 will locally save a temporary copy and automatically sync it to the cloud later.

3. Office 365 is a step toward full-featured mobile document creation.

Like SkyDrive, Office 365's on-demand feature is a nod toward mobile workers. With it, users can spin up a temporary copy of any Office application simply by signing into office.com. The service is available even on unlicensed machines -- handy for times when a user might need to borrow a friend's laptop to quickly complete an important task. The on-demand feature includes access to the user's SkyDrive repository.

Other mobile-oriented features include touch-based functions aimed at tablet and Ultrabook users. Anyone holding their breath for an Android- or iOS-compatible version, though, will have to keep waiting to exhale.

4. From social media to better charts, Office 2013 has a lot of new features.

Many of the Microsoft Office applications are highly mature, polished products. Indeed, many offices still get the job done with decade-old copies of Word running on some antiquated version of Windows. Consequently, Office 2013's enhancements might strike some users as less than essential. For others, though, the new suite offers several compelling upgrades.

Standouts include Word 2013's PDF import function and a reader mode designed to make reviewing a document on a tablet more like reading from a printout. Outlook 2013 boasts improved IMAP support while allowing users to transmit Facebook and Twitter content in addition to regular emails. Upgrades to Excel include Flash Fill, which tries to auto-populate cells by looking for patterns in the user's completed work, and a variety of tools designed to more easily create charts and tables.

InformationWeek is surveying IT executives on global IT strategies. Upon completion of our survey, you will be eligible to enter a drawing to receive an Apple 32-GB iPad mini. Take our 2013 Global CIO Survey now. Survey ends Feb. 8.

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ericward
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ericward,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/26/2014 | 5:23:10 AM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
Nice Post ! MS Office 2013 has useful features but main problem appears when we upgrade the MS Office the whole document become inaccessible or compatibility mode. The Office 365 is web bases program which is helpful to access whole documents anywhere on the web. No matter of the office version. When we upgrade the complete program the whole files ms word, powerpoint and excel files become unusable so, here we provide the easy to use and fully functional program to upgrade all ms office. May it work in this situation fruitfully: -  http://www.office-upgrade.edbtopst.org/
AFriend
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AFriend,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2013 | 7:39:31 PM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
If you're going to upgrade, you might as well do it for really cheap. http://www.microsofthup.com/hu... This is Microsofts HUP program. It gets you the Office product for only $10 (PC or Mac, your choice)
Stephane Parent
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Stephane Parent,
User Rank: Strategist
2/10/2013 | 3:38:21 PM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
The Office 365 license's limit of 5 computers is for both PC and Macs. I can't imagine they would be delivering a sub-standard version on the Mac. Of course, I haven't tried installing it on a Mac. Has anybody tried?
Sandworm
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Sandworm,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 8:46:59 AM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
I don't want to rent a suite by subscription. I want to buy it and use it as long as I want.
$139.99 for Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013, the base standalone suite, which has no Outlook, but I need a good mail client. Means, I would have to buy Home and Business for $220. But I have a desktop PC plus a notebook and only get one license. Means I would have to buy two suites for $440. And these are tied to the computer they're installed on. Change of computer means: buy another new suite.

No, thanks a lot, Microsoft. I was interested to buy Office 2013, but I changed my mind because of your cheeky price policy.

Since two weeks I use SoftMaker Office Professional, an office suite made in Germany. Just $99 for three licenses, no matter if private or commercial use, including eM Client 5 Professional. I can use all my old Microsoft files perfectly, there`s no violation of formats, it works absolutely seamless. It has all features I need and find it better to use and faster than Microsoft Office. Tested LibreOffice before, but it smashed to much formats. After all I'm happy with SoftMaker and don't miss Microsoft a tiny bit.
majenkins
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majenkins,
User Rank: Moderator
1/31/2013 | 1:49:04 PM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
Don't want a cloud, don't want "Social Media" integration, sure don't want to pay every year just to upgrade everytime they decide I need to, but even more sure I don't want to be like those poor Google Docs people that get feature changes every couple of weeks whether they like it or not.

Sheesh!!!!!!!!
Tronist
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Tronist,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 7:21:32 PM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
Will the GUI suck as much as 2010?
dbtinc
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dbtinc,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 2:15:12 PM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
yeah, whenever MS decides to update it. And, it's still a notch or so below it's WinOS version.
dbtinc
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dbtinc,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 2:14:05 PM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
I'm sure not feeling the love based on those prices ... no major features either! Stick with what I have.
Red.Foxx15
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Red.Foxx15,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/29/2013 | 10:40:02 PM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
you are aware that office also runs on Macs right?
TriangularMann
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TriangularMann,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/29/2013 | 10:16:27 PM
re: MS Office 2013 Upgrade: 4 Points to Consider
Subscriptions work for games. Not for productivity software suites like Office. Especially proprietary software that only runs on one operating system. Microsoft is delusional.
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