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Microsoft Brings Office Online To Chrome OS; Ars Reviews Windows Phone 8.1 69

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the worst-frenemies dept.
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "While we are still waiting for the official Windows 8.1 touch-enabled apps to get launched on the Windows Store, Microsoft went and decided that it's time to finally bring the Office online apps to the Chrome Web Store, instead. Thus, Microsoft is making the Web versions of its Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote apps available to users through the Chrome Web Store and also improving all of them with new features, along with several bug fixes and performance improvements." More on the Microsoft front: an anonymous reader wrote in with a link to Ars Technica's review of the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 release: "It is a major platform update even if it is just a .1 release. Updates include the debut of Cortana, using the same kernel as Windows 8.1 and the Xbox One, a notebook reminder app, inner circle friend management, IE 11, Nokia's camera app by default, lock screen and background customizations, a much improved email client with calendar support, more general Windows 8.1 API inclusion for better portability, and a notification center. Ars rated it more of a Windows Phone 9 release than .1 update."
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Microsoft Brings Office Online To Chrome OS; Ars Reviews Windows Phone 8.1

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    who?

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @11:56AM (#46768837) Journal

      Apparently some company in Redmond, WA is putting out a mobile clone of OpenOffice.

      • I support more mod points for the irony challenged!

        • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @12:26PM (#46769441)

          It might have been funny, if I hadnt gotten complaints from every single person Ive recommended oOO to over the years, and had every single one end up buying office.

          And its not even like its just that theyre familiar with Office; oOO lacks serious polish and is sometimes maddening to work with.

          • Too right. MS Office is bad. Open Office is worse.
            Similarly, Photoshop is bad, and Gimp is worse.

            Why is the open source community incapable of outdoing commercial de-facto standard apps with poor UIs?

            Is it that they make the mistake of thinking it's about feature lists?

            • by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @01:13PM (#46770233)

              Why is the open source community incapable of outdoing commercial de-facto standard apps with poor UIs?

              Software is hard, and the complexity and manpower needed for projects is continuously increasing.

            • I've seen postings from others as well that state that OpenOffice is inferior to Microsoft Office. Since Debian switched to LibreOffice a few years ago, I haven't used OpenOffice so I can't comment on the current version of OpenOffice vs. the current version of Microsoft Office.

              However, I did a find web site which does publishes a comparison between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office 2013: https://wiki.documentfoundatio... [documentfoundation.org] Based on that comparison, I would have to say that Microsoft Office is actually inf

              • That comparison sort of demonstrates the issue that a lot of geeks have: technical superiority is irrelevant. What matters is:
                1) Are the features included the ones that users actually want?
                2) Are the features included easily discoverable?
                3) Do those features work consistently, and fit with the user workflow?
                4) Is the interface polished and well designed?

                Its worth noting that even during the ribbon change, people were preferring Office over LibreOffice. So either the ribbon

              • However, I did a find web site which does publishes a comparison between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office 2013: https://wiki.documentfoundatio... [wiki.docum...undatio...] Based on that comparison, I would have to say that Microsoft Office is actually inferior to LibreOffice.

                In my post to which you reply I said "Is it that they make the mistake of thinking it's about feature lists?" And I'm afraid you've just illustrated exactly that mistake.

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              Why is the open source community incapable of outdoing commercial de-facto standard apps with poor UIs?

              Perhaps it's that with an application this large you really need designers that have a consistent vision for what it needs to be like and every new feature that is introduced that requires a GUI element needs to go through a design process. If you switch designers you're likely to end up with inconsistent design throughout the application. People have their own opinions about how things should be done, if you lose a developer and he/she is replaced then whether he/she refactors the area of code they are res

            • Honestly it depends on what you want to accomplish as well as other factors which might not just be about the software.

              For example - I don't like to pirate software and will use a "lesser" tool if it still does what I want. Also a lot of the alternative software, being free/open-source, supports Linux when the commercial tools won't even acknowledged its existence. I don't use Linux on the desktop as much anymore, but I do prefer to use cross-platform tools as much as possible so that I have the freedom to

            • by donaldm (919619)

              Too right. MS Office is bad. Open Office is worse.

              In what way? I have personally found that there is not much difference between the two since they are both Word processors. Of course if you want professional documents you could always go for LaTeX which is surprisingly easy to use since you only need a text editor or you can use a graphical interface as well, however there are commercial type setter software packages as well. It really depends what the user or organisation require (Note: I did not use the word "want", there is a huge difference) to get th

              • I have personally found that there is not much difference between the two since they are both Word processors.

                So any two apps that are in the same category are not much different?

                As for poor UI's you should elaborate on that. If the UI does the job efficiently then what is the problem? What do you expect a "telepathic" or some other "magical" interface? :)

                It looks like you don't consider UIs important. Or at least don't appreciate the ways in which one UI is better than another.

                No, I'm not going to do a UI comparison here. It'd take some time to do it. And I think if you don't understand something about what makes one UI better than another I'd be wasting my time anyway.

                Are you equally indiscriminating about two different code-bases that are supposed to do a similar thing. One well designe

          • by fermion (181285)
            When I converted a family member from MS Office to Pages years ago it was a struggle. The expectation was that there was only one way for a such an application to work, and that was defined by MS Office. Everything that was different was wrong, everything that missing was a glare. I get that. Most people in the US at least were trained on MS Office and they don't know anything different. OTOH, I got through the struggles, and Pages did the job as well as anything.

            I have seen a similar situations with

            • I think you are dismissing your relative's complaints as habit too quickly. I got my brother on LO a while back, and he gave it a serious try (would have saved $250!) for several weeks before showing me several features LO lacked, like proper callout notes in word.

              I myself have written term papers in LO, and compared with MS Office some of its footnoting / endnoting / formatting conventions are nightmarish.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What happens to the vast majority of businesses and power users who hate the cloud, hate online apps, and want something that works and stores stuff here rather than having the latency, UI experience, feature set and security of Word 1.0 for Macintosh?

    (OK, I lie, at least that had the security of an air gap separating it from the rest of the world.)

    • by bondsbw (888959)

      What happens to the vast minority of people who always think they are in the vast majority?

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        What happens to the vast minority of people who always think they are in the vast majority?

        They become politically active, and then continue to loudly claim to represent the vast majority even though they don't.

      • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Funny)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @01:07PM (#46770153) Journal

        What happens to the vast minority of people who always think they are in the vast majority?

        They join some Libetarian populist movement and demand all government services with the exception of those they partake of to be slashed or eliminated?

        And yes, oh ye mighty moderators, this is trolling.

    • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @01:38PM (#46770547)

      They become old and bitter, just like those mainframe guys. Everything comes with a trade-off. When we went from the mainframe to PC's, software for a little while had to take a step back so it will work on systems with less power. The same thing is happening now with mobile devices. Software is taking a step back so they can operate on their mobile devices, where speed was sacrificed for weight and power usage. However, the fact we have smaller lighter carry anywhere technology, allows us to be more connected and less reliant on paper.

      Trade-offs, they happen. Just like the mainframes, the PC will move more towards business only usages, while home stuff will go to mobile devices, as well as those light end business apps.

      The Mainframe isn't dead yet, neither will the PC go away any time soon. However they will get more specialized for particular work.

  • So, when is office coming to the Windows app store so I can use it on my Windows 8 tablet?
    • I thought Office 2013 RT shipped with all Windows RT devices.
      • It is not the new touch version that Microsoft made for iPad and other touch devices. It is a modified version of the desktop version. Considerable difference in usability on a touch device.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @12:38PM (#46769653) Journal

    Instructions are available here [windowsphone.com]?

    Keep in mind it is a one way ticket. No way to downgrade back to 8.0 and reset wont work. If you are not an American you lose your metric standards too and have miles and temperatures in F. Cortana is optimized too for American accents in this release.

    SO it is caution if you own a Windows Phone. I own one and I will not be upgrading as I use the conferencing feature on my phone anyday and do not want to take risks.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Cortana is only released for the US anyway. To get it to work outside of US you have to set your region to US and set US English as the system language. Not difficult of course, but you still have to make an effort. Everything else, with or without the Cortana hack, can be set to metric. Plus if you have, like 95% of owners, a Nokia you can go back to the last officially supported release (in this case 8.0) using Nokia's desktop restore facility. I've never tried this myself but have read reports of its use
    • by ljw1004 (764174) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @05:27PM (#46773785)

      Cortana is optimized too for American accents in this release.

      Not much of a problem. I have a strong English accent, and the same technique works with Cortana as speaking abroad... I just speak LOUDLY AND CONDESCENDINGLY. :)

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      If you have a Nokia, it's easy enough to flash the stock (8.0) OS back again using Nokia Care Suite. Probably also true for Samsung WP8 phones, which have a Flashing tool and ROMs have been released at least for some of them. Not sure about HTC or Huawei, but the latter has custom ROMs (so it's almost certainly possible to go back) and the former has *historically* had lots of flashing tools and at least stock ROMs available. Not sure for WP8 though.

  • by almitydave (2452422) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @02:38PM (#46771365)

    But but but... I thought Chromebooks weren't "real" laptops and were useless because they didn't have Windows or Office [youtube.com]!

  • Is this actually an application, or is it just a hyperlink (which 80% of the apps in the chrome store are, including the regular Gmail app but not the offline gmail app)?

    An "real" application is self-contained and can potentially operate even without connecting to a server (though usually it implements some kind of front-end to a web-based service). For example, there are calculator apps or ssh apps that do just what you'd expect a calculator/ssh app to do and work just fine without a route to the internet

  • Shows how blind Microsoft is. Unlike iOS devices, Android comes with decent support for local file storage out of the box. Apparently, Mobile Office only currently supports opening files on SkyDrive/OneDrive. No support for local storage, so that email attachment that you downloaded with the native Android email client won't be readable unless you upload it to the mothership in Redmond first. Same goes with files created with other Android apps.

    Nor does it have support for Dropbox, Box.net, or other clo

    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)

      To be clear, it does also support Sharepoint, which some larger businesses have, so using the cloud is not mandatory. But not supporting local file storage might be OK on an iOS device where the file system is hidden from the user, but not on Android which has decent support for local and SD card storage.

      Smacks of Microsoft wanting to own all of their users' data. I'll stick with Kingsoft Office or OpenOffice for Android, thanks very much. I really don't want to upload all of my private data to the Great

  • First - props to developers who put in the hard work to bring these features to market; I guess we'll even find some of them useful.

    BUT - IMHO - the 8,000 lb. gorilla remains the crippled Bluetooth stack and especially the HID components that were lost when the transition was made from Mobile OS 6.x; funny how resolving this issue which has over 11,000 votes in some MS blogs never even made the review.

    Presenting this OS as business-oriented as some have done is blatantly half-fast as you'd know if you ever

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