SiliconFilter

MS Office 15: Public Beta is Coming this Summer, Will Include Updated Cloud Apps

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Microsoft today announced that it has started a private “technical preview” of the latest version of its flagship Microsoft Office 15 productivity suite. Currently, this preview version is tested by a number of Microsoft customers under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Despite the NDA, though, chances are we will soon see screenshots and other information about Office 15, but for the time being, Microsoft itself is very quiet about the new version’s features. Come this summer, though, the company plans to launch a public beta that will likely be open to anybody who wants to give the new version a try.

According to Microsoft, “Office 15 is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division.” For the first time ever, says PJ Hough, the CVP of development in the MS Office Division, Microsoft will “simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio.” This means that the Office web apps, which are becoming an increasingly important part of Microsoft’s overall productivity suite, will likely be updated in concert with Office 15 and that, as the Next Web’s Alex Wilhelm notes, “Microsoft is working to roll cloud features into every copy of its newest suite.” Currently, only a subset of Office apps features some form of cloud integration.



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Microsoft Beats Google in Schools, Is Now the Most Popular Cloud Productivity Service for Education

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When it comes to cloud productivity services and education, it’s easy to think that Google is the only game in town. Google, after all, seems to make an announcement every time a new school signs up for Google Apps for Education. Microsoft, however, has been quietly expanding its reach in the education market with [email protected] over the last few years. Today the company announced that its cloud-based service for schools is now “the most widely used cloud productivity service for education.” [email protected] grew 100% year-over-year compared to last year and now has 22 million users.  Google, in comparison, has signed up 15 million students, faculty and staff for Google Apps for Education.

live_at_edu_hat_logo[email protected] is actually currently in the process of transitioning to becoming Office 365 for Education to keep it on par with Microsoft’s other cloud-based productivity offerings. Office 365 for Education includes support for all the regular Office Web Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), as well as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online. Microsoft also stressed that school can use its tools to do more than just manage documents and email online. With Lync, Office 365 for Education also includes tools for holding virtual classes and online meetings, for example.

Microsoft offers 5 different plans that schools can offer their students, ranging from basic free accounts for students and school, to more fully-featured suites that start at $6/month.



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