Microsoft has launched Office 2013 for Windows users along with Office 365.
The news is only mildly exciting for Mac users as we get no new Office suite – in fact, if you already own Office 2011 and decide to sign up for Office 365, you will have to re-download the software. And if you don't re subscribe you'll basically lose the Office suite (so make sure you keep the installation discs somewhere).
Mac users who decide to subscribe to Office 365 will get 20GB of Sky Drive space (previously Microsoft gave just 5GB) and 60 mins of free Skype calls a month. The monthly subscription is £7.99, or you can pay £79.99 a year. That one subscription serves five computers, Mac or PC. Your subscription must be renewed monthly or annually in order to continue to use the software.
A four-year package is being offered to students for two PCs or Macs for £59.99.
As a Mac user you may be less inclined to sign up for a subscription on the basis that while Windows users get Office on Demand (which allows a PC without Word, Excel, or PowerPoint installed to run those programs via Internet streaming) Mac users have to rely on the basic versions of the Microsoft web apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), which have available on SkyDrive since 2011.
These basic apps allow you to create and edit in Word, Excel and PowerPoint using the web-based versions of those apps, but the web apps aren’t as full-featured as the desktop versions.
The web apps can be accessed from an iPad making this the closest equivalent to Microsoft Office apps on iOS.
As yet there is no news of when Microsoft might update the Mac version of Office.
Nor is there any confirmation of when the company might bring Office apps to the iPad and other tablet devices, although Microsoft has been rumoured to launch these in February or March this year. There has been some speculation that the launch of the Microsoft Office for iOS apps had been delayed due to disputes about the subscription process and Apple's requirement that it takes 30% from the sale of the apps.
In fact, a collection of screenshots indicate that the iOS Office apps are indeed "Coming Soon". According to a Neowin report, a Microsoft Expert Zone web page states that Office for iOS and Android is coming soon.
According to IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell: "The day they [Microsoft] introduce Office for iOS and Android, they'll start printing money."
However, he added: "If Microsoft doesn't pull the trigger on Office for iOS and Android soon, it will miss the boat".