Microsoft 2013

The launch of the new version of Microsoft Office 2013 earlier this week may not have been as exciting as the release of a new tablet, but it is arguably as important. As MS Office is used by over 750 million people, this could be the new way that you work. So, what’s new and will it be a success?

What’s new?

MS 2013 is designed with the Windows 8 operating system in mind – the look and feel is very similar with many options looking like apps. But don’t panic; MS 2013 can be used on traditional desktop devices too. This is smart business, allowing users to opt in without large hardware upgrade costs.

The way that Microsoft charge for MS 2013 is also evolving – the one-off payment per machine is still available but not your only option. If you are a consumer, you can now subscribe and put the new software onto up to five of your devices. For business, one license is still the maximum for one user, but sharing across 5 devices is still valid – useful for business users with a laptop and a tablet.

Anyone who has used a PC for a long time will be familiar with the blue screen of death – meaning that your hard drive is in deep trouble and your documents may not be recoverable. This shouldn’t be an issue anymore with Microsoft SkyDrive – documents can be saved to the cloud. Although there may be security concerns for business, this back-up facility has to be good news. It also means that you can keep some free space on your tablet if you have a limited amount of memory.

The final feature that I’ll mention is the social sharing directly from Outlook. Nice tool and very relevant, but surely it can’t be long before there is a significant PR fail from this feature….

Will it be a success?

I think that Microsoft have got the balance of old and new right with MS 2013. People will not want to re-learn a system that they feel they already know – most features are slight improvements, but MS 2013 has been designed with an eye to the future – simple social sharing, touch screen interface and cloud storage are all positives.

As ever, using MS 2013 on competitor hardware will be an important factor to MS 2013’s success. It will be interesting to see how MS 2013 performs on iPad – with 100m devices sold, this tablet is impossible for Microsoft to ignore.

I don’t think that any new MS Office is immediately designed for business. The cost of testing and integrating means that business adoption will be low for the first year. And most differences between MS 2010 and MS 2013 are not enough to justify the cost.


However, in time, I think that MS 2013 will be adopted by business. More and more businesses are issuing tablets to field-based people, so upgrading to software that is designed specifically for touch screen technology makes sense – in time!

What do you think about MS 2013 – are you excited, indifferent, underwhelmed?