(By Mani) Microsoft Corp
) took a significant step to taste success in the post PC-world with the launch of its next generation Office Suite -- Office 2013.
Office 2013, which includes the latest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, is available for testing for users of Windows 7 and Windows 8. The latest suite works with both tablets and traditional computers and supports touch, stylus, mouse or keyboard inputs.
Microsoft is pushing the social aspect of Office 2013, which will allow documents to be delivered to users through an up-to-date cloud service. The new suite further integrates Microsoft's Skydrive and Yammer allowing workers a more mobile and collaborative productivity suite.
"We are growing more confident MSFT is taking the appropriate steps to be successful in a post-PC centric world," Oppenheimer analyst Shaul Eyal wrote in a note to clients.
Office 2013 is completely touch-optimized in lieu of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 "Metro" operating system, and it adds a wide range of new functionality and cloud-based features to apps such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
The new Office incorporates social and unlocks new productivity measures for collaboration in note-taking, meetings and communications situations as well updating customers' documents on the go due to further integration with Skydrive.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, whose Windows operating system runs almost 80 percent of PCs, took another step in the right direction with the latest Office suite as the software giant continues to adapt to the post-PC world.
"We are taking bold steps at Microsoft," CEO Steve Ballmer said at the press conference in San Francisco.
Office 2013 saves documents to SkyDrive by default, so the user's content is always available across their tablets, PCs and phone. Documents are also available offline and sync when a user reconnects.
In addition, if a user signs in to Office, all the personalized settings, including the most recently used files, templates are saved in the cloud and one can take it anywhere. Office remembers where the user left off and brings the user back to that spot in a single click.
On the apps front, OneNote and Lync represent the first new Windows 8 style applications for Office. These applications are designed to deliver touch-first experiences on a tablet. A new radial menu in OneNote makes accessing features with your fingers easy.
Meanwhile, Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, will be included on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Microsoft Surface.
Allowing users greater mobility and collaborative tools will only further extend the company's dominant market position in productivity suites.
"Office 2013 when paired with Windows 8, Windows 8 Phones and the Surface tablet should enable MSFT to continue to re-position itself for a more mobile, collaborative and social work environment," Eyal added.
The full lineup of offerings and pricing plans will be announced in the fall. In addition, subscribers will receive future rights to version upgrades as well as per use rights across up to five PCs or Macs and mobile devices.
The latest Office suite would come in the following three new editions:
Office 365 Home Premium — targeted at families and consumers. The package comes with an additional 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month.
Office 365 Small Business Premium, which is designed for small businesses, includes business-grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD Webconferencing.
Office 365 ProPlus is intended for enterprise customers who want advanced business capabilities and the flexibility to deploy and manage in the cloud.