On Monday, Microsoft announced the launch of the Office Store, allowing third party apps for its Office 2013 and SharePoint products to be uploaded by developers and then purchased and/or downloaded by the product's owners. Now Microsoft has offered more specific information about these Office Store apps.
In a new post on the Office Next blog, Microsoft says that the new Office and SharePoint apps are actually web-based applications. They can also have a number of different form factors. Microsoft states, "They can be inserted inline or as task panes into documents, or be part of templates."
Microsoft offers an example app that helps people track the medals won by the athletes in this year's summer Olympic Games in London. Microsoft states:
The Olympics spreadsheet is taking advantage of three separate apps for Office. Since an app for Office works just like any other content you can insert into a document (like a picture or chart), users can now quickly create mashups and dashboards by inserting multiple apps that together form a powerful solution that couldn’t have been experienced before.
The current preview version of Office 2013 has outside app support for Word 2013, Excel and Excel Web App 2013, Project 2013 , Outlook 2013 and Outlook Web App 2013. So far, PowerPoint 2013 does not have any app support but Microsoft does say it plans to add PowerPoint apps at some point.
If users reads email messages with the new version of Outlook, they will find that each email will have its own apps to download and use based on the email's content. For example, an email about where to meet for dinner could incorporate the Outlook app for Bing Maps (to find the restaurant), the TakeNote app (to write quick notes about the people named in the email) and more.
Microsoft also says that apps for Office 2013 won't cause issues in Office itself. If an app crashes, for example, the main Office software will continue to run. Users can also download and use as many apps as they want and not have to worry about performance issues with using Office.
Source: Office Next blog