Microsoft Office 2013 Cloud Features Hit Windows Phone 8

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Microsoft discusses Office 2013 Windows Phone 8, On Demand and web app features

Microsoft has detailed the cloud and mobile features of its upcoming Microsoft Office 2013, including the ability to pick up where you left off on a Windows Phone 8 device

Users will have a consistent Office 2013 profile across multiple devices, including tablets and smartphones, with files stored in the cloud for use in a variety of locations.

Further details about Office on Demand and the Office Web Apps have also been revealed, as Microsoft looks to compete with applications such as Google Docs.

Mobile improvements

“We do not believe that a one-size-fits-all browser based solution is suitable to meet the needs of both work and personal computing because it misses so many opportunities to leverage the power of rich applications,” said John Jendrezak, partner group program manager in Office. “We know that people work online and offline – internet connectivity should never be a barrier to productivity.  These beliefs underlie our work in connecting Office to the cloud and shape our philosophy for the entire release.”

Users will be able to use any existing Microsoft account to create an Office profile which will store files and settings in the cloud to use on any Office-enabled device. Files are automatically saved on SkyDrive, although the default location can be changed to any folder.

Recent documents will automatically be stored, and will remember the last paragraph read in a Word document or the last slide viewed in a PowerPoint presentation. This means that if a user has not finished reviewing a document when they leave the office, they will be able to continue reading and editing it on their Windows Phone 8 device.

Consistent Experience

“Our goal is to enable you to have access to the next version of Office where ever and whenever you need it, whether that’s at home, at work, or on the go, added Jendrezak. The Office Web Apps will also be updated with an improved mobile interface, along with collaboration and sharing features.

Microsoft has been keen to emphasise that the cloud-friendly Office 2013 user experience will not be diminished by using it on a tablet, whether it is Windows 8 or Windows RT, which is designed for ARM-enabled Windows hardware.

Another way of accessing documents is Office on Demand which streams and launches a temporay copy of Microsoft Office without installing it permanently. It has access to all of a user’s recent Office documents and when it closed, the files are gone from the local system.

Office is a key source of revenue for Microsoft and accounted for $22.2bn of the $70 billion revenue it generated in the 2011 fiscal year. It also contributed $14.1 billion to its total operating income, the highest by far of any Microsoft unit.

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