Could we see Microsoft update Office 2013 every three months?

In late January, Microsoft launched the new client-side Office 2013 in several different versions, alongside the launch of the cloud-based Office 365 Home Premium subscription service. This week, Microsoft launched new business versions of Office 365 for small, medium and large companies.

Now there are hints that Microsoft might make incremental updates to both Office 365 and the client-based Office 2013 software every three months or so. The hints come from Kurt DelBene, President of the Microsoft Office division, in statements made earlier this week at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.

In the official transcript of the Q&A, linked on Microsoft's Investor website and hosted by SkyDrive, DelBene states:

We have already gotten Office 365 to the point where we're at a quarterly release cadence. And so we already have the mechanisms in place to update the service on a quarterly basis. With the client subscription, as I mentioned, we'll have the ability to do that with client business as well, the desktop version of Office.

He later added that Microsoft could update Office in the  " .... short cycle where we can add more features, but then we'll have a longer cycle where we really have to intensively change underpinnings of the services." That would seem to hint that any updates that might happen in three months would be minor feature additions, with Microsoft only making major changes to Office every few years, as they have with previous versions of the software.

Microsoft is already highly rumored to be planning for a relatively large feature update to Windows 8 later this year, under the code name Windows Blue, which could be the first of yearly updates of this type. It's more than possible that Office 2013 could receive similar incremental updates.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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It's nice to see Microsoft following in the footsteps of Mozilla and Google. Upgrading more times in a year is the way to go. However, this is bad idea for corporations which is why you don't see Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome with the latest version on user desktops. Microsoft should follow in the footsteps of Mozilla, that is have a regular release channel and an extended release channel (I'm not sure if Google does the same thing since I like being on the developer release channel). Corporations don't want to deal with new bugs when new feature are introduced. Having an extended release channel for Office 365 would be a nice addition as well.

I don't think corporations will have issues with this since Office 2013 has backwards compatibility. In fact they'll praise it since they'll always be up-to-date and keep up with the rapid-changing IT market.

You're thinking of Internet Explorer. Many business coded IE-specific coding in their web apps, but IE9/IE10+ move towards web standards trying to rid of browser-specific code. Which is why some businesses are scared to upgrade to IE9/10 (even though they can still easily put it in compatibility mode). Unfortunately many devs still code in browser-specific code (especially webkit/gecko-related code, which is not web standard code), this is why some sites don't render nicely in IE9/10 compared to Firefox/Chrome, because those devs coded with webkit/gecko-specific code, which is only for Firefox/Chrome/Opera. If everyone coded with web standard code, all websites/web apps would render fine in all browsers. So, I'm glad IE is not giving in to browser-specific code anymore, except for extension code that enhance the experience such as adding quick-links when a site is pinned to the start bar.

j2006 said,
I don't think corporations will have issues with this since Office 2013 has backwards compatibility. In fact they'll praise it since they'll always be up-to-date and keep up with the rapid-changing IT market.

You're thinking of Internet Explorer. Many business coded IE-specific coding in their web apps, but IE9/IE10+ move towards web standards trying to rid of browser-specific code. Which is why some businesses are scared to upgrade to IE9/10 (even though they can still easily put it in compatibility mode). Unfortunately many devs still code in browser-specific code (especially webkit/gecko-related code, which is not web standard code), this is why some sites don't render nicely in IE9/10 compared to Firefox/Chrome, because those devs coded with webkit/gecko-specific code, which is only for Firefox/Chrome/Opera. If everyone coded with web standard code, all websites/web apps would render fine in all browsers. So, I'm glad IE is not giving in to browser-specific code anymore, except for extension code that enhance the experience such as adding quick-links when a site is pinned to the start bar.


Also live tiles 'extensions' and the compatibility mode 'extension'. Still a few things IE only.
But it is nothing compared to all the webkit- or Mozilla- stuff you keep seeing everywhere.
Or the general check if a browser is IE (not checking which version) and pump out IE6 code to IE9/10 browsers.

Personally i'm sick and tired of the browser war. Opera seems to have completely given up. Mozilla is still as Anti-MS as they where back in Netscape days(Which is NOT helping the internet at all). And Google seems to be trolling them all (Stealing away Fx users, complaining about anything MS).
So far MS is the bigger man (couldn't really say this the previous browser war). Just support basic approved HTML5 features and not go out on a limb to implement features that are not finished or barely work, see history of IE6. However Mozilla and Chrome keep doing this. MS also now seems to keep IE specific junk to an absolute minimum.

Oh and for those that want IE to 'render' Mozilla or Chrome specific webpages, set document mode to "Internet Explorer 5 quirks". This has nothing to do with IE5. Its Internet Explorers 'quirky' HTML5 mode. Seems to fix allot of issues with the browser specific junk.

Edited by ShadowMajestic, Mar 3 2013, 11:49am :

I wouldn't be too sure about what you are saying j2006. No company wants features added to their primary systems without going through internal testing.

Fortunately my company will never install Office 365. But they will install Office 2013 Pro. When and if features are introduced, it goes through a few months testing. You really think companies pushed out IE 10 already. It will be a while before that is used on my system. Fortunately they also let us use Firefox. So I can care less about IE 10 being pushed.

Not in our office. We will be staying with Office 2007 and Office 2010. There is no need to move to Office 2013 with its dubious licensing requirements and lack of any compelling features to upgrade. As for the cloud, we value our data too much to risk it to someone else's control. Wait until medical and legal confidential information get hacked, then the "**** will hit the electric fan."

You obviously know nothing about Enterprise-level cloud-based services. Maybe do some research on that before assuming that. There's a reason they use Private Cloud Servers for Enterprise-level subscriptions. For highly-confidential information such as you said. This why there's a difference between SkyDrive (personal) and SkyDrive Pro (business).

http://office.com/business

TsarNikky said,
Not in our office. We will be staying with Office 2007 and Office 2010. There is no need to move to Office 2013 with its dubious licensing requirements and lack of any compelling features to upgrade. As for the cloud, we value our data too much to risk it to someone else's control. Wait until medical and legal confidential information get hacked, then the "**** will hit the electric fan."

I feel bad for people that depend on you to make IT decisions.

TsarNikky said,
Not in our office.

That's a shame. There are some very good new features to Office 2013. I really like the new presentation view... if you're giving a presentation with your laptop, the projector will show your slides and your laptop screen will show an awesome presentation view. That's one of my favorite changes.

Really? Office 2013 is really nice. It's not a fuster cluck like Windows 8. My corporation plans on skipping the joke people call Windows 8 but they plan on upgrading to Office 2013. Once you change the background color to a dark color, it isn't blinding.

DarkNet said,
Really? Office 2013 is really nice. It's not a fuster cluck like Windows 8. My corporation plans on skipping the joke people call Windows 8 but they plan on upgrading to Office 2013. Once you change the background color to a dark color, it isn't blinding.

This is an Office thread not a Windows 8 thread. You obviously haven't given Windows 8 a full try (by committing to try it for a few days/weeks). Those that actually use it on a daily basis and quickly learn the new workflow actually love it. It's usually those that just gave it a quick dab or listening to trolls that make such comments. I know quite a few businesses here (including the place I work) that have switched to Windows 8 + Office 2013 and it has actually INCREASED our productivity. With Windows Blue coming soon, it'll be even better. Give it a try before saying stupid things like that unless you have specific comments as to why you consider it a "fuster cluck".

You are entitled to your opinion. True, our office is not leading-edge, or even bleeding-edge. It is just plain downright old-fashioned conservative. Notwithstanding that, we consistently turn a very decent profit over the years, have very low staff turn-over, and have yet to have our data and proprietary information compromised. Having recently moved from XP to Windows-7 with Office 2010; we have no intention of doing any more "moving" for several more years. We'd rather plow profits back to the owners and employees, instead of needless hardware and software.

j2006 said,

This is an Office thread not a Windows 8 thread. You obviously haven't given Windows 8 a full try (by committing to try it for a few days/weeks). Those that actually use it on a daily basis and quickly learn the new workflow actually love it. It's usually those that just gave it a quick dab or listening to trolls that make such comments. I know quite a few businesses here (including the place I work) that have switched to Windows 8 + Office 2013 and it has actually INCREASED our productivity. With Windows Blue coming soon, it'll be even better. Give it a try before saying stupid things like that unless you have specific comments as to why you consider it a "fuster cluck".

Are you the moderator here? But wait why are you still discussing Windows 8. I guess you are just a HUGE fan. You obviously don't know that I did give it a shot. I tried the developer , release preview and final build enterprise. Each time I was using it was for 30 days. I thought it sucks.

Majority of business will not switch to this garbage called Windows 8. It is horrible. The numbers will do the talking in the future. A rinky dinky company that you know of that switched to it hardly proves anything. Windows 8 adoption rate has been bellow Vista. Says a lot.

Perhaps you are the one saying stupid things now. You are acting like I insulted you personally. Give it a rest. Nobody (thank God) thinks like you. Since this isn't it a Windows 8 thread, I didn't go into details on why it was fuster cluck neither am I going to repeat my self from previous thread. Go find it.

I mention it because I see hatred towards Microsoft these days. Some deserved mostly just blind. I believe the OP to be a hater. As to what kind I don't know. If he is judging it by Win 8 or Win 8 Phone then I am trying to say this is nothing like it. Office 2013 is very nice. You are making a big deal over my point. Look at yourself and see why you are defending it so much. You can say all the things about iOS and Android on how much it sucks and I won't respond to you because I know they are much better than Microsoft and don't need to defend it like you are so obviously doing.

Try and have a nice day sir.

Similar concept to Adobe Cloud. Users are paying a subscription for a service and they can therefore justify ongoing feature updates.

Regarding to Office Updates, where I can report bugs? connect.microsoft.com Office is closed and I am not sure if MS read answers.microsoft.com

Not a shock. Microsoft new across the board servicing model is quarterly updates instead of SPs or, in some cases, nothing at all.

Visual Studio 2012 and Exchange 2013 are already following this model. Visual Studio has already received its first quarterly and is posed to soon get a second. Visual Studio is an app that MS updated once for VS 2010 with a sole SP release.

I'll believe it when I see it. Too often do we see companies make this promise, things look good at first, then it just stagnates and comes down to very very small changes that are barely worth mentioning.

I actually do believe it, because that's the point of cloud-based subscriptions for software... it allows you to always get the latest version. It allows them to update the software more frequently. Whereas with retail versions, it would be too expensive to constantly release updated versions of the software to retailers (incurring additional packaging and shipping costs). So the subscription base is actually more cost-effective because it allows them to release new versions more frequently, whereas if you buy standalone retail versions you'll get outdated quick. I do think they need a lower-cost individual subscription option though for those who only need it on 3 devices max instead for a home.

I'm not arguing the model, I'm arguing how often people would see the updates to say, "Hey, you know what, the subscription model just makes more sense."

As someone who works in retail, I've (personally) yet to see someone buy the Office 365 subscription. Most people opt for the Home and Student version, if not the Business version. I do agree with you that they need to work out a pricing model to allow it to become the better buy. Marking up the Home and Student version by $20 hasn't deterred people at all from it.

You'd think they'd offer a cheap single license subscription (say, $50/yr) to help people avoid calling on their local "IT guy" to "hook them up". Many people still throw $80+ a year just for Norton...

Yeah, but it's hard to find someone with that many devices that want Office on everything. Even families with many kids have settled instead for the single license on the main "study room" computer. Depends on the people though really.