Ahead of the launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet, which the new OS was designed for, Microsoft has also announced the introduction of the latest version of Office, which is to include apps such as SkyDrive enabling cloud services.
It’s also been announced that the latest version of Windows will be available to the public on October 26th this year, which coincides nicely with the launch of their new tablet device.
According to one report, "cloud and social were central to Microsoft's announcement. So was the fact that its products now work with touchscreen tablets.”
This was compounded by CEO Steve Ballmer who said it "felt like 1995 all over again, when Office 95 and the internet were still exciting and new”. The newest version of Office is all about social and collaboration, he went on to explain; now people work together more, rather than in separate, isolated offices.
Microsoft has become aware for the need for their own tablet device following the insistence of many of their senior workforce demanding that they be allowed to use their iPads at work. To not follow suit and get a hand in the tablet market would mean that Microsoft would be in danger of being left behind when it comes to new technology; hence Surface.
The announcement was made at a press event on Monday and included the "unveiling of the enterprise app store”, which is interesting as many have wondered how MS hope to compete with the iPad ecosystem when it comes to apps. Whilst Microsoft’s VP PJ Hough explained how apps would work with office, he also said that "the killer app has yet to surface”.
"Microsoft gets that it's no longer a laptop computing world, and must plan for touch screens and tablets. The new version of Office is targeted to tablets as well as desktops," Gartner analyst Guy Creese told BYTE following the presentation.
"It shows Microsoft that it is a much more mixed world. I'll get a call that 'a bunch of our VPs are using iPads and using Dropbox to synchronize confidential documents to the cloud, what do we do?' This is not a case where IT can tell people, 'oh no you can't use it.' Whatever solution companies buy from Google, Microsoft, IBM or whoever, they have to work with multiple devices people now carry," Creese said.
Ballmer apparently made it clear that Microsoft are now concentrating much of their efforts on cloud services, although it seems that not every company is as optimistic about it as they are.