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Microsoft launches 'collaborative' new Office software

22 September 2015, 18:21

San Francisco - Microsoft launched its new Office suite, touting the key software as a collaborative tool which can work across multiple devices.

The new software, one of the key products from the US tech giant, is being adapted to Microsoft's strategy shifting away from one-time sales to an Internet cloud-based system that can be accessed from PCs as well as mobile devices.

"The way people work has changed dramatically, and that's why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world," said Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft.

"These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork."

Office 2016, available in 40 languages, aims to further integrate Microsoft products such as the word processing program Word, the Excel spreadsheet application and the Outlook email and messaging platform.

A key feature of the updated suite is real-time collaboration on documents.

Microsoft says its "co-authoring" feature "lets you see others" edits as they make them."

By integrating the telephony service Skype, users can also have video or audio conversations during collaboration on documents.

Office 2016 will allow users of Office 365 -- which requires an annual subscription fee to download the new apps as part of their subscription.

Automatic updates will begin rolling out to consumer and small-business subscribers next month, and to commercial customers early next year.

The suite is also available today as a one-time purchase for both PCs and Apple Macs.

The release comes as Microsoft is rolling out its Windows 10 operating system which can be used across multiple devices, and integrating its Cortana digital assistant software into its devices.

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