Editor’s Note: Forging New Avenues

The Microsoft Office 2013 preview promises to be a true cloud-driven productivity, collaboration and communication platform.

Lafe Low

The promise of cloud computing is many things. The cloud is providing new avenues for application and document delivery and management, new methods of storage and new ways of collaborating. And nowhere is that more in evidence than with Microsoft Office 2013 preview, recently unveiled at an event in San Francisco.

Office 2013, Lync and SharePoint are seamlessly integrated, support each other and work together through their connections in the cloud. You’ll be able to log in to your Office apps and save and sync files to your SkyDrive account from any device. You’ll instantly have access to the most recent versions of your Word docs or Excel spreadsheets.

Office 2013 also breaks into the world of Windows 8 with the touch interface consistent with Metro. You’ll be able to expand and contract windows with the swipe of a finger. You can use touch mode, a stylus or a keyboard. Communications within Office 2013 is another new avenue. You can make Skype calls while working within Office if you have a question for a colleague. There are also improvements that clean up the whole interface. There are inline responses to e-mails, so no longer will sending an e-mail response open another window.

There’s also the Office Marketplace, in which you’ll be able to pick and choose apps, and add them to Office 2013 to customize its capabilities as you please. Office 2013, with its seamless connections with the cloud, is definitely going to be forging new avenues for productivity and collaboration.

No News

By now you have no doubt heard of the separation between Microsoft and NBC. The 16-year partnership ended last month with NBC buying out Microsoft’s 50 percent stake in what was formerly MSNBC.com. Operations for the news site will move back to NBC headquarters in New York.

Does that mean Microsoft is out of the news business? Not so fast. Keep an eye on the Web this fall. Microsoft expects to launch a similar news service driven by many of the same staff that powered the joint Microsoft/NBC site. In published reports about this story, Bob Visse, general manager of MSN.com, says he hopes to incorporate multiple news sources for a more balanced presentation.

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Raymond Chen

Lafe Low is the editor in chief of TechNet Magazine*. A veteran technology journalist, he’s also the former executive editor of 1105 Media’s* Redmond magazine.