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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Microsoft Releases Office 365 Home Premium

Microsoft today announced the availability of Office 365 Home Premium, featuring online access to documents from a range of devices as the company attempts to transform from a software-maker to a devices and services company.

Office 365 Home Premium is a cloud service. It includes the latest and most complete set of Office applications; works across up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs; and comes with extra SkyDrive storage and Skype calling - for US$99.99 for an annual subscription, the equivalent of US$8.34 per month.

The new Office suite of applications - including desktop staples Outlook email, Excel charts, Word and PowerPoint - marks the first overhaul since 2010.

After downloading the basic programs online, you can access the latest versions of all Office applications from up to five devices on a subscription basis for US$99.99 a year.

The new Office also adopts the look of Windows 8, with a more modern-looking design and includes touch-screen capability.

"Today's launch of Office 365 Home Premium marks the next big step in Microsoft's transformation to a devices and services business," said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. "This is so much more than just another release of Office. This is Office reinvented as a consumer cloud service with all the full-featured Office applications people know and love, together with impressive new cloud and social benefits."

Microsoft will also now deliver many new features and services to the cloud first, transforming the company's traditional three-year release cycle. Now, new features and services stream to subscribers as soon as they are ready, keeping subscribers always up to date while eliminating the hassles of upgrading.

Simultaneously, Microsoft today released Office 365 University for college or university students, faculty and staff at a price of just US$79.99 for a four-year subscription - the equivalent of US$1.67 per month. Globally, the company also released updated versions of the traditional Office suite: Office Home and Student 2013, Office Home and Business 2013 and Office Professional 2013. Office 365 for businesses will be released globally with new capabilities on Feb. 27.

Microsoft is also introducing Time to 365 (http://www.office.com/timeto365), a new crowd-sourced website where people can find and share tips, tricks and ideas from around the world. Contributors include experts and everyday working parents who have found ways to simplify their lives. Tips on the site include, for example, an idea for organizing your grocery list with OneNote on your phone.

Office 365 Home Premium is available in 162 markets in 21 languages and includes the following:

- The latest and most complete set of Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access

- One license for the entire household to use Office on up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs or Macs, and Office on Demand available from any Internet-connected PC

- An additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, nearly three times the amount available with a free SkyDrive account

- 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month to call mobile phones, landlines or PCs around the world

- Future upgrades

The new Office is designed to counter Google Apps, Google's online, Office-style applications. Google is offering theses apps to users for free and changes businesses $50 a year.

The new Office will run natively on Microsoft's own Surface tablets including the ARM-based 'RT' version.

You can learn more about Office 365 Home Premium or try it free for 30 days at http://www.office.com.

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