It is MS Office's turn to go touch. Microsoft has unveiled the customer preview of the new Microsoft Office with support for touch, stylus, mouse or keyboard across new Windows devices.
The new Office integrates with social networks and unlocks modern scenarios in reading, note-taking, meetings and communications.
A release quoted CEO Steve Ballmer as saying that the new, modern Office will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility for both consumers and business customers.
"It is a cloud service and will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8."
Since the new Office 2013 will run on Windows 8 devices too, it features full integration for touch with pinch and zoom. Plus, support for stylus to create content, take notes and access features.
Users will be able to handwrite email responses and convert them automatically to text, like with other Windows 8 apps. OneNote and Lync will be the first Windows 8 style applications for Office and will come with touch-heavy interfaces.
Cloud support is one of the other new things as Office will now save documents to SkyDrive by default, making them available across devices. Settings and files will also be available across devices once you log in. Office is also available as a subscription service now.
The new Office will also usher in a private social network for businesses, called Yammer, with integration for SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics. Microsoft had bought Yammer earlier this year.
Users will now be able to follow people, teams, documents and sites in SharePoint. Then there is seamless integration with Skype, which Microsoft acquired recently. Subscribers will get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month.
While the full lineup of offerings and pricing plans will be announced in the fall, Ballmer discussed three new Office 365 subscription services. Each new subscription offer will include the new 2013 editions of the Office applications - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.
In addition, subscribers will receive future rights to version upgrades as well as per-use rights across up to five PCs or Macs and mobile devices.
The three new editions will be Office 365 Home Premium with 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month, Office 365 Small Business Premium with business-grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD web conferencing and Office 365 ProPlus for enterprise customers with the flexibility to deploy and manage in the cloud.
The customer preview is available at office.com/preview.