April 15

Microsoft has updated its preview version of Office 2016 for Mac with several new features and a number of bug fixes. It has also launched two companion apps for the iPhone, Office Delve (above) and Office 365 Video.

Office 2016 for Mac allows meeting attendees to use Outlook to propose new times for meetings to which they’ve been invited, and allows organizers to modify proposed meetings and send updates. Word gets macro recording, online template search and new proofing tools. Excel is given new analysis tools and a “solver” feature. Powerpoint gets bug fixes and better support for VoiceOver …  expand full story

April 2

Microsoft is bringing its OneNote scanner app called Office Lens to the iPhone after first launching on Windows Phone a year ago. Office Lens is similar to other on-the-go scanner apps letting you use your iPhone camera to capture information from receipts, documents, and other information around you. Office Lens is different, however, because it’s connected directly with OneNote, Microsoft’s cloud-syncing notebook service.

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March 31

Microsoft shifted its focus when it introduced the Surface Pro 3 last year to target both the iPad and the MacBook, but today the company announced a more consumer level iPad-like version of its tablet simply called the Surface 3 with the same $499 starting price as the iPad Air 2.

Google also unveiled a collection of new competitively priced hardware including new Chromebooks and a Chromebit HDMI running Chrome OS for under $100 … expand full story

March 13

cortana

Microsoft is planning on making the next generation of its Siri competitor, Cortana, available on iOS and Android devices sometime after the fall, reports Reuters. The focus, says the company, will be on an intelligent assistant that predicts the help you need, rather than simply responding to user requests.

Cortana could tell a mobile phone user when to leave for the airport, days after it read an email and realized the user was planning a flight. It would automatically check flight status, determine where the phone is located using GPS, and checking traffic conditions.

Google has majored on this kind of proactive approach through its Google Now service, which aims to work out what you will want to know when, and Apple began implementing similar functionality into the Today view in Notification Center in iOS 7, but Microsoft believes that integrating everything into the digital assistant is the future …  expand full story

March 6

March 5

PowerPoint 2016

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

February 24

February 19

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

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

February 10

Windows 10 Tech Preview in Parallels Desktop 10 on Mac OS X Yosemite

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

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

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

December 22, 2014

iPhone 6 Surface Pro 3

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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