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January 29, 2013

Office 2013 is Finally in Touch, But Only on Certain Devices

By David Gitonga, TMCnet Contributing Writer

At a time when people are increasingly relying on smartphones and tablets instead of PCs, Microsoft (News - Alert) looks to extend its key franchises onto these new platforms. The Redmond-based software giant has retooled its Office software to give the increasingly mobile workforce a better experience on mobile devices.

Microsoft has always earned a large chunk of its revenue from its bundle of programs it sold separately. Office sales are so lucrative for Microsoft that they account for nearly a third of Microsoft’s total revenue. These sales, however, have been falling year-on-year as the consumerization of IT becomes the focal point of software products. Services like DropBox, Evernote and Google (News - Alert) Apps have largely replaced a lot of the Office features.

Still, Office 2013 does not come with an option that works with iOS and Android devices. This leaves out the majority of devices sold in the past two years. Office 2013 has been optimized to work on Windows Phone (News - Alert) operating system only, which explains the slow adoption.

With a growing number of users relying on programs used over an Internet connection, Microsoft has tailored Office 2013 to take advantage of this paradigm shift in how software is delivered. In addition, Microsoft offers its SkyDrive storage services, where users can store all their documents within Microsoft’s data centers allowing access to multiple devices. There is also the option of storing Office data on device hard drives.

For the first time, Office 2013 will be offered in a $100 annual subscription package, called 365 Home Premium, and will include online access on up to five Mac computers or Windows devices. In addition, subscribers get an additional 20GB of storage to supplement the free 7GB offered to account holders. Microsoft will also throw in 60 minutes of free phone and video international calls via Skype (News - Alert).

For students, Office 2013 will be offered as a four-year subscription for only $80, which works out to about $1.67 per month. Office will continue to be sold under a one-time licensing fee to be installed on single machines starting at $140.

This online push by Microsoft is recognition of the fact that more and more people are accessing their e-mail and documents on multiple devices. Having sold Office subscriptions primarily to small businesses, Microsoft is now faced with the challenge of pushing its Office line of products to individual consumers. However, the move makes perfect sense in light of how people want access to information.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, happening now in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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