Microsoft releases Office 2016 for ‘mobile-first, cloud-first world’

Microsoft Office 2016 devices croppedMicrosoft has promised to ‘re-invent productivity and business processes’ for the mobile and cloud-first world, with its new Office 2016 for Windows. It has also unveiled new additions to Office 365 and made Office 2016 for Mac available as a one-time purchase.

The latest version of Office is designed to make optimal use of Windows 10, with better collaboration and tighter security. The productivity applications within the suite have been updated to make them more cloud friendly, with changes to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Project and Visio to make them more collaborative in nature, according to Microsoft.

One reported change is that groups of employees can now work on a single Word document and view each other’s comments as they are written. The new system now includes Skype for Business so that users of any new Office app can chat, screen share or video chat directly from their documents. Another new feature, enabled by Skype integration, is the ability to simultaneously co-author documents. In October Skype will be available on Office Online, according to Microsoft.

“The way people work has changed dramatically, and that’s why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

These latest changes are a ‘big step’ in transforming Office from familiar but individual productivity tools to a connected set of apps and service designed for collaboration and teamwork, according to Nadella.

The security protection for business customers has been beefed up, according to Microsoft, with built-in data loss prevention features designed to cuts the risk of data leaks. New multi-factor authentication will secure the access of those outside the corporate network. Enterprise Data Protection, promised ‘later this year’ will help business to secure the process of sharing corporate content across application and cloud locations.

The delivery of future Office desktop application updates is to change, says Microsoft, so that Office 365 subscribers receive new features and capabilities continuously.

Other new tools include an analytics from Office Delve, a personal work analytics (Delve) and additional charts and formulas for Excel.

“The Office 2016 apps run beautifully on the best Windows ever,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, Microsoft’s corporate VP for the Office Client Applications and Services. “The Office 2016 apps simplify collaboration and remove barriers to team success.”