We Need Joined-Up, Multi-Platform Thinking for Office 15

Mike Halsey MVP
Feb 3, 2012

News reached the world-wide-web last week that Microsoft Office 15 had reached the Technical Preview stage, and that a beta would be available this summer.  That's all we know about the company's next generation integrated Office suite at the moment except that the company in a recent blog post said that "Office 15 is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division".  What I wanted to do here was have a look at what this is certain to mean and some of the other things it really should mean if done properly.

It is a given at this point that full support for both Office 365, Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage service and the next generation Windows Server 8 will be included.  This will include new features that will be coming for Windows Server this year that we may not yet know about.  It will also possibly mean that there is multi-platform support for things like Windows Phone, Windows 8 Metro and tablets.  This is something Microsoft have always been very good at... or have they?

While it's easy to argue that services such as Office 365 are groundbreaking, and this is why it has been so incredibly popular since launching, and that the Office Web Apps and their integration with SkyDrive is extremely innovative and very welcome for a great many people, the web has sadly continued to move on and Microsoft Office simply hasn't moved with the times.

One example of this is the rumoured reluctance of the Office development team to create a version of the suite for Windows 8's new Metro interface.  To a certain extent this rumour, if true, is understandable as Microsoft Office is an incredibly complex piece of software and also the price of tablet and expected price of Metro apps is but a small fraction of the overall cost of Office.  However not only have web apps such as Google Docs and Office Live proven that the majority of people only need basic tools, but software such as Adobe's Photoshop Touch for Android tablets has proven hos easy and simple it can be to create truly immersive and powerful touch-friendly apps.

Despite my Microsoft 'lock-in' for most things I also use other operating systems and software.  For the last six months I have been using an HP Touchpad tablet every day for light web browsing, email and work.  This weekend I will be taking delivery of a Blackberry Playbook and I will evaluate it and decide which of the two will become my day-to-day sofa lounging computer.  The problem with these devices, and also with the iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and Android Smartphones, Linux and to a limited extent also the iMac is the lack of iniquity in the world's most ubiquitous integrated Office and collaboration suite.

Microsoft may be currently in the process of releasing limited apps for these platforms such as their communications platform Lync and the note-taking app OneNote, but the vast majority of Office users, if not the vast majority of computer users, use Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  These are the applications they need on their devices and I very much doubt you will ever find a regular Office user who will admit that working on and editing a document in the Office web apps, inside a browser is a friendly and accessible experience!

It's odd to look now at how, I was going to say fragmented but that's the wrong word, how broad the computer and operating system market is.  When Microsoft started producing Office and when it became truly popular, taking over from software such as WordPerfect and Lotus 123 we had only the PC and the Mac.  If you wanted to work on the move you had to synchronise your files with your PC and they could only be stored on your PC.

Now, more and more of us are storing our documents in the cloud, and you only have to look at the success of services such as Mozy, Google Docs and Office 365 to see that this is an unstoppable roller-coaster.  This is something that Office 15 and Microsoft need to address, not just launching a new version of the suite for the PC, but simultaneously launching it for every other operating system available.


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  1. Some Dude said on March 19, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Are these articles AI generated?

    Now the duplicates are more obvious.

    1. boris said on March 19, 2023 at 11:48 pm

      This is below AI generated crap. It is copy of Microsoft Help website article without any relevant supporting text. Anyway you can find this information on many pages.

  2. Paul(us) said on March 20, 2023 at 1:32 am

    Yes, but why post the exact same article under a different title twice on the same day (19 march 2023), by two different writers?
    1.) Excel Keyboard Shortcuts by Trevor Monteiro.
    2.) 70+ Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows by Priyanka Monteiro

    Why oh why?

    1. Clairvaux said on September 6, 2023 at 11:30 am

      Yeah. Tell me more about “Priyanka Monteiro”. I’m dying to know. Indian-Portuguese bot ?

  3. John G. said on August 18, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Probably they will announce that the taskbar will be placed at top, right or left, at your will.

    Special event by they is a special crap for us.

  4. yanta said on August 18, 2023 at 11:59 pm

    If it’s Microsoft, don’t buy it.
    Better brands at better prices elsewhere.

  5. John G. said on August 20, 2023 at 4:22 am

    All new articles have zero count comments. :S

  6. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 7:48 am

    WTF? So, If I add one photo to 5 albums, will it count 5x on my storage?
    It does not make any sense… on google photos, we can add photo to multiple albums, and it does not generate any additional space usage

    I have O365 until end of this year, mostly for onedrive and probably will jump into google one

  7. St Albans Digital Printing Inc said on September 5, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Photo storage must be kept free because customers chose gadgets just for photos and photos only.

  8. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    What a nonsense. Does it mean that albums are de facto folders with copies of our pictures?

    1. GG said on September 6, 2023 at 8:24 am

      Sounds exactly like the poor coding Microsoft is known for in non-critical areas i.e. non Windows Core/Office Core.

      I imagine a manager gave an employee the task to create the album feature with hardly any time so they just copied the folder feature with some cosmetic changes.

      And now that they discovered what poor management results in do they go back and do the album feature properly?

      Nope, just charge the customer twice.

      Sounds like a go-getter that needs to be promoted for increasing sales and managing underlings “efficiently”, said the next layer of middle management.

  9. d3x said on September 5, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    When will those comments get fixed? Was every editor here replaced by AI and no one even works on this site?

  10. Scroogled said on September 5, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    Instead of a software company, Microsoft is now a fraud company.

  11. ard said on September 7, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    For me this is proof that Microsoft has a back-door option into all accounts in their cloud.
    quote “…… as the MSA key allowed the hacker group access to virtually any cloud account at Microsoft…..”

    so this MSA key which is available to MS officers can give access to all accounts in MS cloud.This is the backdoor that MS has into the cloud accounts. Lucky I never got any relevant files of mine in their (MS) cloud.

  12. Andy Prough said on September 7, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    >”Now You: what is your theory?”

    That someone handed an employee a briefcase full of cash and the employee allowed them access to all their accounts and systems.

    Anything that requires 5-10 different coincidences to happen is highly unlikely. Occam’s razor.

  13. TelV said on September 8, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    Good reason to never login to your precious machine with a Microsoft a/c a.k.a. as the cloud.

  14. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    The GAFAM are always very careless about our software automatically sending to them telemetry and crash dumps in our backs. It’s a reminder not to send them anything when it’s possible to opt out, and not to opt in, considering what they may contain. And there is irony in this carelessness biting them back, even if in that case they show that they are much more cautious when it’s their own data that is at stake.

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