Facebook has been sending invites to the press calling them up for a media event on November 15. While not much is known about the event officially, speculations are doing the rounds that Facebook could be unveiling its new email product – an application that could take on the likes of Gmail and Hotmail and would comprehensively build up the direct messaging functionality of the current service.
According to Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet, this new webmail product could come with additional integration with Microsoft’s Office Web Apps. Office Web Apps, as you know, is the web form of Redmond’s popular Office productivity suite and will let users access Word and Excel files directly over the browser apart from storing these files on the cloud rather than on the local hard drives. The ZDNet rumor notes that the new webmail client unveiled by Facebook could replicate the Office Web apps integration that is presently available on Hotmail.
Considering that people spend more time on Facebook than on Google (the search engine and other products), it makes terrific sense for Facebook to bring such productivity tools to the social network. But then, given the sophistication of the Gmail service, Facebook’s new product could be more of a threat to Hotmail – Microsoft’s email service – rather than to Google or Yahoo. What do you think?
The new Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac is now available for public consumption and brings with it, all the expected suite of applications like Word, Excel and Powerpoint. And perhaps in what should come as a huge relief, Microsoft has finally replaced Entourage with Outlook in the latest release.
A single license of the Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac software should cost Home and Student users between $109.99 and $149.99. On the other hand, for business users, this application should cost higher between $174.99 and $279.99.
Of course, the price is going to be cheaper if you are checking it out from third party retailers like Amazon.
Microsoft has announced that the company has completed its final testing of the 2011 version of its Office for Mac software and that it is ready for RTM (Release to Manufacturing). This would mean that the software shall now start being shipped to customers and to Apple for installation in its production units.
The latest Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac brings a number of tweaks and though it will bring many more features that were hitherto available only on the Windows version, the experience is said to be more Mac-like. This includes the duplicating Apple’s ‘ribbon effect‘.
Folks at 9to5Mac have got hold of a nice bit of information with respect to the launch of the new Microsoft Office 2011 package for Mac. According to details posted on Amazon, the new software should begin shipping from October 26th this year.
This is the first time a specific date for the new product has been available. Earlier this year, the company had officially announced the price of the Office for Mac 2011 edition and had indicated that the software will be available in October. The latest version of the software is expected to be much closer to the Windows version and is expected to reinstate support for Visual Basic applications that were dropped in the 2008 edition. Office 2011 for Mac is also expected to bring improved support for Exchange.
Amazon has put up all three editions, namely Student, Professional and Home up for sale on their website.
Microsoft had recently begun sending out beta invites for its latest Mac-compatible Office 2011 suite. Now, the Redmond based company has officially announced the prices for its Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac software. As expected, the cost of the different editions are a tad lower than the 2008 MSRP. Microsoft is obviously trying to price the software aggressively in order to make the application much more ubiquitous in the Mac segment where Apple’s own software have ruled the roost so far.
So here are the prices of the various editions of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac
Student Edition :$119
Office for Mac Home & Business : $199
Academic Version : $99
Student Edition : $149
Office for Mac Home & Business : $279
The Student and Home editions will come with Word, Powerpoint, Excel along with Microsoft’s instant messaging app for Mac OS X. With the business edition, users may also get hold of Outlook for Mac that will include email, calendar and contacts integration. The MS Outlook for Mac shall replace Entourage as the communication application. The academic version will only be available to those who are enrolled or employed at academic institutions.
The new Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac is expected to launch in October though customers who purchase the 2008 software starting today are eligible for a free upgrade later.
For more than a decade, Microsoft’s Office suite has been the software of choice for businesses. However thanks to always-online nature of today’s users, cloud based alternatives like Google Apps and Zoho have been making space for themselves.
Microsoft has since realized that it is time to adapt. Starting next month; May 12 to be precise, the company shall be launching a cloud based version of their popular MS Office Suite. This will mark a new phase of growth for Office as it tries to adapt in an environment already dominated by Google. However, Microsoft disagrees. Citing over 15 years of experience in the cloud-space starting with the acquisition of Hotmail in the mid-90s, Tim O’Brien, senior director of the platform strategy group says,
“We know a lot more than potentially any vendor in the industry about the types of questions [business customers] have because we have been through the enterprise software discussion before.”
It will be interesting to see how the companies fight it out in this new medium.
More than two million businesses today use either the free or paid version of Google Apps. This is in stark contrast to the over 500 million users of Microsoft Office. While one of the important reasons why Google Apps is yet to pose a significant challenge to Microsoft is undoubtedly the apprehensions about storing data in the cloud, there are also complaints about the lack of sufficient features on Google Apps.
In order to solve this, Google has apparently taken a leaf out of Apple’s book in order to launch a business app store primarily for businesses using of Google Apps. According to reports on the Wall Street Journal, this app store will function very similar to the Apple App Store. Developers can create applications that will offer an enhanced experience to Google Apps users – for instance, advance security features or the ability to import contacts. These applications can be sold on the business app store where Google will take a cut out of the sales and the remaining shall go to the developers.
An app store for businesses can be extremely rewarding simply because of the margins that it can offer. Unlike the Apple App Store which plays on volumes and where the prices of applications are most often under $10, those applications on Google’s business app store can sell at several hundred, if not thousands of dollars, considering that these are built for established businesses though the volume of sale is likely to be much lower.
However, questions about customer support and reliability on third party developers for applications remain. Considering businesses study a lot of parameters before spending their money, it is to be seen whether Google can actually pull this one off successfully.
What do you think? Can an app store for businesses be successful? Tell us what you think.