Microsoft Office

Most likely, if you are working online with office documents, you and your friends are using Google’s Docs service. While the web-based office suite from Google has served a good purpose since February 2006, when the service was integrated into the major suite of Google Apps, it might be time to move over in 2014 and let Microsoft's Office Online suite (officeonline.com) truly shine.

The main complaint from users of Google Docs that you often hear is that it feels like a stripped down or light version of Microsoft Office. While Microsoft has had an online Office suite for a while now, it was buried within their OneDrive web interface. Now though, the company has launched its own site and revamped the service.

Here are the top five reasons you should be using Office Online instead of Google Docs to accompany your other devices.

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Microsoft has taken to the Office Blog to explain why IT professionals should opt for Office 365 in favor of Google's offering. The main selling points are controls enabling professionals to effectively manage installations and content.

From opting to deploy entirely in the cloud to migrating workload online while leaving parts on-site, Microsoft's suite is an excellent option for a workforce requiring productivity tools and software.

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Yesterday, Microsoft made Service Pack 1 for Office 2013 available to the public. The package of updates includes content for Access, Excel, InfoPath, Lync, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word. The first Service pack for Project, Visio, and SharePoint was also released separately. Overall, the Office 2013 Service Pack 1 offers a collection of bug fixes, with a few slight use improvements.

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Office Lens for Windows Phone 8 is a beta app that lets you snap pictures of text and turn them into OneNote notes. Using OCR technology, Office Lens instantly recognizes text in documents, business cards, and even whiteboards, and then converts them into searchable electronic files. It is also one of the features that was listed as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK late last week.

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We're moving into the second month of 2014 and Microsoft has published a new entry on the Office 365 blog, detailing improvements implemented last month for a variety of products and features of the online Office suite. Just in case you managed to miss anything in January. Whether you're a Home Premium subscriber or opted for the Office 365 business package, head past the break to see what's new.

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Many Apple users have been asking Microsoft when Office for iPad will be released, and to their dismay, the project is being delayed. While this may be a disappointing notice for iOS lovers, Microsoft fans should be excited, because the delay is a result of the company wanting to focus on Office “Gemini” – a touch optimized Windows 8 set of Office applications.

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We are approaching the 10th birthday of Microsoft’s information gathering application, OneNote. The first edition of OneNote to be released was OneNote 2003 in November of the same year. If you are like me, you may not have been introduced to Microsoft’s info application until only a few years ago when the company decided to include it in all versions of Office 2010.

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How does a team of talented personnel come up with a revamped UI? You'd imagine there'd be planning, special software and other techniques involved. But what if you could actually create a mobile UI in a word processor? That's exactly what Vaclav Krejci has managed to achieve, by reproducing the iOS 7 Home screen in Microsoft Word. You have to see it to believe it.

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Microsoft has revealed some details about Windows tablets and Microsoft Office at Computex. The company has announced that small Windows 8 tablets (those sporting 7 or 8-inch displays) will ship with a free copy of Microsoft Office 2013. Windows CFO Tami Reller notes that while plans are in place to bundle Office Home and Student 2013 with said Windows hardware, it's up to OEMs to bundle the software, which would provide consumers Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

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Today the SharePoint Team at Microsoft announced that a standalone SkyDrive Pro client is available to download for Windows machines. The Pro edition of SkyDrive allows users to easily save, sync, share, and collaborate on documents in SharePoint. It is worth noting that the new client, is only compatible with SharePoint 2013 servers and Office 365.

SkyDrive Pro was pre-bundled (although not functional for all users until now) with Office 365 Pro Plus, Office 365 Small Business Premium, and Office Professional Plus 2013. If you have any of the aforementioned Office suites installed on your PC, there is no need to download SkyDrive Pro separately.

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On June 14th, rumors were circulating that Microsoft was poised to buy Yammer, a social-network and messaging service for enterprise, for at least $1 billion dollars. Speculation cooled down a bit as Microsoft intended to focus on the Surface and Windows Phone 8 announcements but a new week is upon us and so the deal is now official.

Microsoft has now purchased Yammer (www.yammer.com) for a massive $1.2 billion in cash and it will be folded into the Microsoft Office Division, led by division President Kurt DelBene. The team will continue to report to current CEO David Sacks to maintain continuity, at least for the near future.

A statement from Microsoft on the acquisition states

“The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love. Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services.”

Yammer is only four years old but has nearly 5 million users including employees at 85 percent of the Fortune 500, making it an interesting and strategic purchase. So why the acquisition even though Microsoft has Lync and Sharepoint already? Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet) ruminates that Microsoft "...needed a cooler brand and wanted the cross-platform support" which sounds about right to us.

Here's to hopefully seeing Yammer built into Windows Phone 8.

Full press release after the break...

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