Microsoft previews Office 15 tiles
Posted by Nick Bowyer in Office, Office 15 on July 8, 2012
A screenshot started doing the rounds today of the launchpad for Office 15. It also included the new Office 15 logo which has had a Metro makeover. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago Microsoft now intends to release Office 15 with its soon to be launched Surface tablet, along with support for the RT or ARM based version of Windows 8.
Observing the screenshot above (which is not a lot to go on I know) you could come to the conclusion that Office 15 exists within a “sub menu” of metro. A nested app experience that in my opinion lends itself to iOS deployment. It makes sense, if Microsoft have re-designed Office from the ground up for Windows RT it makes sense that there is a version available for iOS as well. I have no doubt that the Windows 8 experience of Office 15 will be the best experience of any platform, but Microsoft must acknowledge that there are other hounds snapping at its heels thanks to Google’s recent purchase of Quick Office for iOS and some 400 Million Customers.
Tight integration with Microsoft’s expanding cloud services, Skydrive for consumers and Office 365 for business and education, is the name of the game. It’s in Microsoft’s best interest to break down the barriers to adopting its cloud services and it shouldn’t matter what device is used. Note the lack of Office 365 or Sharepoint tiles in the screenshot above, but I have no doubt this will be included in future “leaks”.
Microsoft needs to simplify the current 2010 experience, Metro is an excuse to do so, allowing for a completely different design language to be used when addressing one of their biggest revenue sources.
Sharepoint with a dash of Metro
Posted by Nick Bowyer in Cloud, Office365 on July 5, 2012
One of the frequent posters on the Office 365 Grid community Matt Hughes, has posted a free Master Page template for Sharepoint online… sharpening up the experience with a Metro overhaul. Read more here : http://community.office365.com/en-us/blogs/the_grid/archive/2012/06/29/free-sharepoint-office-365-master-page-amp-css-grid-user-post.aspx
This could be the first in many free templates to update the existing Sharepoint Online experience to the new world of Metro sharpness.
It’s hip to be square!
Posted by Nick Bowyer in Hardware, Microsoft on June 19, 2012
Today Microsoft pulled one out of the bag. Something that has long been predicted but never executed upon. They have announced a Tablet PC named “Surface” and will release it later this year in time for Windows 8. Microsoft have been talking about slate or tablet PC’s for years now, and to be honest had more intent around tablet computing than Apple ever did. On more than one occasion in the early part of the 2000’s Steve Jobs was quoted to say that Apple had no interest in Tablet computing especially given the Newton was a flop. Microsoft on the other hand dabbled with pen based computing in Windows XP and improved on the technology over time although it remained an after thought. It wasn’t until Windows 8 came along that Microsoft became touch focused. The Windows 8 interface (Metro) is built on the strengths of Windows Phone 7 and created an entirely different way of interacting with the Windows operating system and its apps.
Personally I like the Metro interface and so it would seem do other people. Recently I have noticed more and more interfaces seem to “fall in line” with the Metro mantra… clean sharp lines with a minimalist approach to delivering information. Hey even the recently refreshed Gmail interface lends itself to a metro-esque experience! Having recently installed Windows 8 (both server and client) Release Preview the Metro experience permeates through to every aspect of the operating system, from the installation to the device management. Metro is more than an interface for touch computing its a sharper, smarter way of doing things.
This sharpness will deliver a better user experience in my opinion, removing noise from day-to-day tasks, giving users a more focused interface to work with. This sharpness has been carried through to the Surface tablet released today, with sharp lines it delivers on Microsoft’s vision of the future. If the edgy new TV spot by Microsoft is anything to go by… I am looking forward to it!
Is Google in panic mode?
Posted by Nick Bowyer in Cloud, Google on June 7, 2012
I have owned an iPhone since they launched in 2007 and an iPad from day one. I love Apple products, however I found it frustrating that Microsoft’s attitude towards the device was one of a competitor rather than just another platform to deliver software and services to. I had the desire to edit documents on my iOS device and had a look around for a version of Office, as we all know none existed, however Quick Office appeared to deliver quite a good experience on both the iPhone and the iPad, it had slick integration with Dropbox and Google docs as well as the ability to send files to and from my Mac/PC over Wifi.
I have used the version of Office that is baked into Windows Phone 7 as well and it IS better, however Quick Office already addressed a large chunk of the mobile / tablet market with some recorded 400 Million users! That is a Massive number and something that Microsoft needs to be aware of when it tries to use the functionality upsell story of their own product. 400 Million users have decided Quick Office fills the gap that the lack of Microsoft Office for iOS left.
The recent news that Google purchased Quick Office came as no surprise to me. A rich “office” experience on the iOS has been lacking an really Quick Office is the only company in the last 2 years to come close to what Microsoft has already established in the desktop world. I do get the feeling that Google are changing their direction with this purchase, remember Google are the company that until recently were pushing a “browser centric” operating system (Chrome OS). The browser (until now) has formed one of Googles more convincing sales pitches, that is all of your information exists purely in the browser/cloud, there is no need for a client application. I disagreed with this approach, applications accessing cloud services is the best experience in my opinion and it would seem that Google have started to recognize this as well with the purchase of Quick Office.
Expect things to get interesting when Microsoft launch their version of Office for iOS later this year (rumored to be November 10th 2012). Microsoft are the current kings of collaboration, offering a richer integration that what Quick Office offered, however the “good enough” approach may see some users stick with Quick Office and wait for the improvements that arise out of the Google partnership.
TestMyOffice365.com gets a facelift
Posted by Nick Bowyer in Cloud, Office365 on June 2, 2012
TestMyOffice365.com gets a facelift. This simple yet effective tool just got made “Metro-tastic” in keeping with the recent release of Windows 8 Release Preview (release). As discussed in my previous blogs it is important to understand DNS records before attempting an Office 365 deployment. Domain Name records are at the heart of providing any service from Office 365.