In some ways, you could argue that Microsoft's spinning in circles chasing its tail. So are a lot of companies during this transitional period into mobile, which is one that seemed to catch a number of tech firms off guard. Recognizing that Microsoft could benefit from some new blood, former CEO Steve Ballmer voluntarily stepped down and eventually handed the reins to Satya Nadella. So, what does the future hold? Nadella issued an open email to employees calling for a return to Microsoft's core.
Free alternatives to the juggernaut word processor
Microsoft Word has been the go-to word processor since the early 90s. It’s a program that anyone who’s ever used a computer will recognize and for good reason—it’s both capable and common. Documents with .doc (or .docx) extensions are ubiquitous and widely recognized as the file format of choice for formatted text files. Although it’s relatively affordable in its modern incarnations—$139.99 for home use or $6.99 a month as a subscription service (as part of the Office suite)—freeware alternatives abound and for once, they’re more than capable.
If you're a fan of Google's Quickoffice apps, download them now while you still can. Google's planning to pull its Quickoffice apps from Google Play and iTunes over the course of the next few weeks, as the company feels they're no longer needed after recently overhauling its Docs, Sheets, and Slides, which are now available as standalone apps rather than being lumped together.
If you only plan to access Microsoft's cloud-based Office 365 suite from a single PC, then you might feel like you're overpaying for a subscription that includes access on up to five different PCs. To address that, Microsoft today announced that it's adding an Office 365 Personal subscription plan for individuals. The plan runs $7 per month or $70 per year if billed annually and allows users to connect one PC or Mac and one tablet.
Google is determined to win the cloud wars, and to prove it, the company announced that its document editing software QuickOffice is now free for both Android and iOS platforms. Prior to Google's pro bono change of heart, this was a $20 program, which is popular for its ability to let you edit Microsoft Office documents on your smartphone or tablet. Not only is it now free, but Google is giving away online storage, too.
Office Mobile was always destined to land on Android. Last November, Microsoft rolled out a new version of Office Mobile preinstalled on all Windows 8 devices, and then in June, Office Mobile for iPhone came to Office 365 subscribers as an added bonus. Now Android users who are Office 365 subscribers can receive the same benefit at no additional charge, allowing them to tweak their Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents from just about anywhere.
Remember that scene in Step Brothers when Dale Doback and Brennan Huff meet for the first time? They stare each other down and insist on being called Dragon (Dale) and Nighthawk (Brennan). It's a scene that immediately came to mind when we found out Microsoft's Office productivity suite had wandered over to iOS to meet the iPhone -- and only the iPhone -- in the form of Office Mobile.
Starting today, students with a qualifying email address can try Office 365 for half a year.
Between books, tuition, and booze, going to college is an expensive proposition. It's understandable, then, if students aren't particularly anxious to sign up for a monthly subscription fee for Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suite, but when you start throwing around the world "free," it's a good way to get their attention. And so it goes, Microsoft today is offering to let students with a qualifying .edu email address try out Office 365 for an entire semester.
Reacting to user feedback, Microsoft changed its policy regarding Office 2013 license transfers.
It's been said the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and what better place to make a commotion than the Internet? That's what happened a couple of weeks ago when Microsoft confirmed in a blog post that Home and Student, Home and Business, and Professional versions of Office 2013 would be tied to a single PC and non-transferable, even if your PC breaks post-warranty or if you buy a new one. Bummer, right? Not anymore.
Office 365 ushers in an era of subscription billing.
After months of beta testing, Microsoft on Tuesday announced the worldwide availability of Office 365 Home Premium. It's a departure from previous versions of Office, and while Microsoft likes to refer to Windows 8 as a reimagining of Windows, Office 365 is a "reinvention" of Redmond's popular Office product line for consumers. Unlike previous versions, Office 365 is a cloud-service.