SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft on Monday unveiled next-generation Office software overhauled to stay popular with people using tablets or smartphones to access programs in the Internet “cloud.”
Chief executive Steve Ballmer pulled back the curtain on the new software at a press event in San Francisco.
The popular suite includes Microsoft Word for documents, as well as programs for spreadsheets and other functions, and the latest version is adapted for multiple devices with touch, stylus and mouse interfaces and links to the cloud to allow access to documents.
Office was designed “from the ground up” to work in harmony with the Windows 8 operating system to be released by Microsoft in October and work intuitively across the range of devices supported by Windows 8, Ballmer said.
“The industry continues to move and change and advance dramatically,” Ballmer said.
The new Office comes with Microsoft readying its new tablet computer called Surface to take on the iPad, and also seeking to expand in the smartphone market with the Windows 8 platform.
“Office is a service first,” he explained. “Office is transforming because of the new systems and operating systems and hardware it can support.”
Microsoft corporate vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer used a tablet computer to demonstrate Office features that let people collaborate on projects and share data online in a challenge to the Google Docs software suite.
Skype was integrated into Office to let people launch Internet video calls instantly. The newest version will also link to the online version known as Office 365, which is a cloud-only subscription service.
“Office is designed to be your modern office,” Ballmer said. “It incorporates the best of Windows 8, cloud, social, and new scenarios.”
The new software was available online at office.com/preview.