Reaction to Microsoft's next-generation Office has been mixed, with some industry watchers praising its new focus on the cloud and features such as tablet-friendly touch support, while others criticised the suite for still being too PC-centric in an age when mobile devices are now more important.
Microsoft's unveiling of the new Office 2013 applications and the tying in of Office 365 web-based services is seen by many as an inevitable move for the software giant to make in light of the industry-wide move towards a more flexible cloud-based model for business applications.
The shift towards a more subscription-based licensing model is perhaps one of the most significant moves, however.
While Microsoft said that the traditional Office applications - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote - will be available via retail in some form, the company's goal is to move both consumers and businesses to a subscription model focused on Office 365.
Many large corporate customers of Microsoft have already moved over to subscription licensing via schemes such as Enterprise Assurance. But with the new Office, this is being extended to small businesses and consumers, the latter of whom have not been seen as a target market for Office 365 before now.
Meanwhile, many attending the Office launch event in San Francisco welcomed the new-look Office applications, which have been designed with a simplified user interface styled along the lines of the Metro applications in Windows 8.
However, some analysts expressed disappointment that Microsoft did not stretch its platform support any further than Windows, to include broader support for devices such as Apple's iPad.
"Today Microsoft raised the bar for the Office experience on PCs. But in a post-PC era, a PC-first strategy is risky. The PC built a fortune for Office, but post-PC devices still look like a vulnerability, not a strength, for Microsoft Office," said Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester Research, commenting on the Office launch.
In particular, applications such as Quickoffice, recently acquired by Google, pose a threat to Microsoft because they are simple, cost much less to purchase and are available on devices that are increasingly being brought into the workplace - such as Android tablets and Apple's iPad, according to Rotman Epps.
But Microsoft disagrees, and is pushing new features of its applications that are designed to appeal specifically to its traditional corporate customer base.
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