March 5, 2015

Before today, the latest versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for OS X came with Office for Mac 2011, a suite of productivity apps which you can tell from the name included dated software without many modern features Mac users expect. Office for Mac 2011 was actually first released in October 2010. A lot has changed since then.

Microsoft moved Office from a paid upgrade approach to a cloud subscription model, saw its CEO Steve Ballmer retire and buy a basketball team, appointed Satya Nadella as head of the company, and even released Office for iPad and iPhone.

For the Mac, though, the most capable versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel have only been available as Web apps—not native—until now. As promised, Microsoft is today releasing the public beta of Office for Mac 2016 including all new versions of the company’s go-to productivity apps. expand full story

March 2, 2015

February 24, 2015

February 19, 2015

A day after Microsoft updated its OneNote for Mac app, adding OCR scanning of text within images, it has today updated its iPad app. OneNote for iPad gets the same OCR functionality, along with the ability to add handwritten notes–a feature previously available only on the Windows and Android versions of the tablet app.

As many of you have pointed out, one major feature that has been missing from OneNote for iPad is handwriting. With today’s update, you can pen notes. To get started, just tap the new Draw tab on the ribbon. Select a pen, marker, or highlighter and write, sketch or doodle until your heart’s content.

Handwritten notes can be made using either an iPad-compatible stylus or your finger, with customizable ink color and pen thickness …  expand full story

February 18, 2015

OneNote, Microsoft’s cross-platform application for taking and organizing notes, received a useful update on the Mac adding support for OCR, or optical character recognition. OneNote version 15.7.1, which is rolling out on the Mac App Store now, adds the ability to scan images from OneDrive notebooks for text.

Once OneNote’s OCR system has ran, you can actually copy the text and save it to your notes just like if it were a editable text file from the start. Searching images for text is currently possible for new images added to OneDrive notebooks, but a future version will make text search possible on existing images as well.

The update also includes the ability to toggle viewing authors and closing the window without quitting the app. Microsoft also added support for iCloud Drive on its iOS versions of Office yesterday. Full release notes below:

February 17, 2015

February 10, 2015

Parallels announced this evening that its virtual machine software Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac has been updated with “experimental” support for the technical preview of Windows 10 from Microsoft. Users who want to take the latest version of Windows for a test run without overwriting their existing Boot Camp installation or creating a new partition can now do so safely and free within the confines of a VM.

The update also adds the ability to run the new preview version of Office for Windows 10, which includes updated versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Microsoft announced earlier this year that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for one year for any users running Windows 7 or later.

Parallels Desktop 10 is available from the Parallels website for $79.99. Special pricing is available for students and users running previous versions of Parallels and a free trial is available here. Press release follows: expand full story

February 4, 2015

Microsoft has acquired the Sunrise calendar application in a deal worth over $100 million, a report revealed today. The buyout may be the next step in the company’s plans to revamp its mobile offerings, which started with the release of the new Outlook email app—also based on acquired software—last month.

Like Acompli, Sunrise works with a variety of services, not just Microsoft’s. Those services include Google’s calendar service, iCloud calendars, and, of course, Exchange. It also had built-in support for reminders that sync along with the calendars.

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January 29, 2015

Microsoft Acompli

Microsoft announced plans today to launch a new app for its Outlook email service on iOS. The app is based on the Acompli software that the company purchased in December for $200 million. The app includes “email triage” features found in the old app as well as new features to help appeal to a wider audience, such as the ability to toggle threaded conversation views.

The Outlook iOS app will also support mail from third-party services beyond Microsoft’s. iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo email accounts can be plugged into the app, and attachments can be added to messages from cloud services like Google Drive and Dropox. Check out the video below …

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January 21, 2015

December 22, 2014

Microsoft has never been shy about trying to convert MacBook Air users into Surface Pro 3 users. Despite being in a room filled with MacBooks, Microsoft targeted Apple’s laptop head-on at its initial Surface Pro 3 announcement event.

Now Microsoft is further highlighting the differences between the MacBook Air and Surface Pro 3 with a new online campaign (via ZDNet) intended to encourage Mac users to feel comfortable trying out Microsoft’s latest tablet.

Whether you’re considering Surface Pro 3 or have recently purchased one, we want to say thank you! We designed Surface Pro 3 to make you more productive in every aspect of your digital work and life. We’re truly humbled you’re here, and we’re excited to see what you do with your new Surface.

The recently launched microsite is the latest in a campaign largely led by ad spots (the latest holiday spot is almost pleasant) mocking the MacBook Air’s lack of touch screen, stylus, and more compared to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. expand full story

December 17, 2014

December 11, 2014

HockeyApp

A suite of new MSN apps for iOS isn’t the only news out of Microsoft this morning. HockeyApp, the popular beta app distribution and analytics service, announced today that it has been acquired by Microsoft. HockeyApp supports several software platforms including iOS, OS X, Android, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

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December 1, 2014

November 25, 2014

November 21, 2014

Microsoft has released yet another Cortana advertisement that mocks Siri for lacking contextual reminders and real-time traffic reports. Microsoft pokes fun at the personal voice assistant by claiming that it “just got bigger,” a sarcastic reference to the larger screen sizes on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Perhaps the Redmond-based company is overlooking all of the new features Siri gained in iOS 8. expand full story

November 17, 2014

November 14, 2014

skype

We told you Microsoft released a redesigned version of Skype for the Mac earlier last month, and today Microsoft says the communication software is starting to roll out as a service on the Web. Skype for Web will allow users to chat, video call, and manage contacts from a web browser without having to download the Skype app. Microsoft is currently offering Skype for Web as a beta to select users. expand full story

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