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New cloud-ready Office targets home users

SEATTLE--Microsoft Corp. launched new Office software for home users on Tuesday, featuring constantly updated, online access to documents from all kinds of devices as the world's largest software company attempts to tailor its most profitable product to a mobile generation.

The new Office suite of applications — including desktop staples Outlook email, Excel, Word and PowerPoint — is aimed at home users rather than businesses, and is designed to extend Microsoft's domination of the workplace to the home office and beat back growing competition from Google Inc.'s free online apps.

“The notion of an always up-to-date streaming version of Office comes directly from how people are using devices today,” said Kurt DelBene, head of Microsoft's Office unit, in a phone interview. “You really want all your content to roam with you. We see that as an opportunity to deliver what customers are asking for.”

The version of the new software launched on Tuesday, called Office 365 Home Premium, is the first major overhaul of Office since 2010. Big companies, which generally buy Microsoft's software under multiyear contracts, already got the latest features of the new Office in December.

Tuesday was the first look for individual customers, and initial reactions were positive at Microsoft's flagship Seattle store.

“It looks badass. And that whole touch-screen thing now,” said Kouichi Armga, 25, who works at Trader Joe's grocery store and studies at the University of Washington in Tacoma, after seeing the new Office run on touch-screen hardware.

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People walk past a sign at the Microsoft Office 2013 launch event in Bryant Park, New York City, Tuesday, Jan. 29. Microsoft is launching three versions: Office Professional 2013, Office Home & Student 2013 and Office Home & Business 2013.

(AFP)

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