Week In Microsoft: Office 365, Mending With Google, and WP 7.8

Microsoft This Week

The Surface Pro inches closer to its release next weekend on February 7 and enthusiasm is high in cyberspace. Many are waiting for the Surface Pro for its “non-compromising” vapor-mag metalwork, but many will also be in for a memory shock. Surface RT didn’t fare too well during the holiday sales and Microsoft is hoping for a better second round.

As important as the Surface Pro is, it wasn’t the only headline. This week, Microsoft released their brand new Office 2013 suite to the public, worked out some problems with Google, and finally delivered on broken promises to early Windows Phone 7 adopters. Lets go through all the news item for the week of January 28 – February 3.

Office Home, Office Pro, Office 365!

office 365 imageThis week, Microsoft released their Office 2013 suite with an interesting twist. For the first time ever, home and student buyers can purchase a yearly subscription to use Microsoft Office 365 instead of buying a one-time boxed version. The Office 365 subscription scheme is fairly simple: $99/year for 5 PC licenses. With it, subscribers get the whole shebang: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, and 60 minutes per month of world Skype calls.

People can still buy the various boxed versions if they want to. The disadvantage of a one time purchase is that buyers won’t be able to get new version releases in the future unless they pay again. The prices are also higher upfront:

office 2013 package

Office 365 isn’t limited to just Windows PCs only, Mac users will also be able to sign up for Office 365 too. Unfortunately, Mac users will have to stick with the old Office 2011 version for now. Microsoft has not released an ETA for when the new Office will come to Mac OSX.

office for mac

One interesting difference for the Mac Office 365 subscription is that the term changes to “5 difference devices.” It could mean that Office 365 licenses will be accounted for a mix of iPad, iPhone, and Mac OSX. However, there’s still no confirmation for when Office will come to iOS devices. Apple is still heckling Microsoft over Office’s revenue stream if it comes to the App Store.

Google Extends Exchange ActiveSync Deadline For Windows Phone

google windows phoneGoogle is not evil: they extended the EAS deadline to Windows Phone users until the end of this coming July. Microsoft will have until then to add support for Gmail’s alternative syncing through CalDAV and CardDAV. No official story on why the change of heart from Google, but they announced the extension just in the nick of time before the previous deadline of January 31st expires.

Perhaps Google thinks Windows Phone is not a threat just yet. Windows 8, on the other hand, is. Google will still go ahead with its plan to drop AES support for Windows 8 devices. They want people to stare at Gmail through the web instead of Windows 8’s mail app. Google is evil after all.

Rejoice WP7 Early Adopters, Microsoft Throws A Bone

Windows Phone 7.8

Admit it, Windows Phone 7 users were lab rats for Microsoft. They jumped on the Windows Phone 7 bandwagon, but seemed abandoned when Microsoft announced version 8. Well, at least Microsoft threw them a bone this week: Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7.8 is coming to most older devices. Nokia has already pushed the update to its older Lumia 800 and 900 smartphones. Samsung and HTC have not announced any news yet, but work is in progress for some of their WP7 devices.

Those curious hackers on the XDA Developers’ forums never wait, though. They’ve already released methods for those who want to get the update ASAP instead of waiting at the mercy of their carriers.

That’s all folks! It seemed like a short week. Let’s hope next week will be plentiful.

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