In a carefully-orchestrated and finely-tuned 60 minutes, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Corporate VP Kirk Koenigsbauer took the cover off of the upcoming release of Office. In the demo, PowerPoint got more than its share of time, being used as the example for collaborative slide creation and for tablet-based presenting.
The demo was, at the same time, immediately pleasing and unsettling. Here are a few quick impressions to support both sentiments, with a full review being promised soon.
- A whole lot of touching was going on, as Mr. Koenigsbauer used his finger on his tablet to drive the entire interface. He could have used a mouse on his notebook PC, but he chose to show how tablet-enabled all of Office will be. The software has rarely looked as slick as it did for Koenigsbauer.
- He was using a tablet that few of us own and an unknown number of us would harbor plans of purchasing. It was neither an iPad nor an Android device.
- Office was shown running on Windows 8 and the two showed the potential for a wonderful partnership.
- No mention was made as to how well and how fully the new Office would run under Windows 7.
- We saw some magnificent demonstrations of collaborative and mobile computing, using SkyDrive.
- Nothing was said about whether these same capabilities will come to DropBox, Box, iCloud, or the many other cloud-based services.
You can explore the answers to these questions for yourself by downloading the public beta. Undoubtedly, we will be one of hundreds of blog sites posting results and observations over the coming weeks. And finally, the Presentation Summit in October will showcase the new version of PowerPoint in prominent demos, previews, and hands-on opportunities.