On Monday Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the next versions of Microsoft Office for Windows.
Versions? Yes, Microsoft is issuing two flavours of Office - Office 2013 and Office 365. Office 2013 is distributed and used very much like past versions of Microsoft's ubiquitous software suite - you pay once for a single license and install it on your Windows PC. Office 365 is a subscription version, with varying monthly costs depending on the number of licenses purchased and options desired.
But what does this mean for the future of Office for Mac and iOS users? When the new Office launches, Microsoft will deliver an update to Office for Mac 2011. With this update, Office for Mac licenses can count as part of an Office 365 Home Premium subscription, making it possible to access your Office documents in the cloud.
Those using iOS devices will also have access to these online applications. Office Mobile will work with Windows Phones, Android phones, and iOS devices. Details weren't forthcoming on Monday, but Microsoft will likely have more to say about Office Mobile within the next year. The company had no comment on when we might expect a Mac equivalent of Office 2013.
Saying that Office 365 will be Microsoft's primary focus for the productivity suite, Office comes in at least three cloud versions, each of which include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. A Home Premium version will include 20GB of cloud storage with SkyDrive - Microsoft's online storage service similar to Apple's iCloud - as well as 60 minutes of Skype service per month. The version's license allows access from up to five devices.
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