Microsoft has launched new Office Suite of applications

A Microsoft Office logo is shown on display at a Microsoft retail store in San Diego (Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake)Microsoft Corp. has launched the new Office Suite of applications including desktop staples Outlook email, Excel charts, Word and PowerPoint for the consumers after spending two and a half years in its making.

“The notion of an always up-to-date streaming version of Office comes directly from how people are using devices today,” Kurt DelBene, head of Microsoft’s Office unit, said to Reuters.

Consumers, after downloading the basic programs online, can use all Office applications with five devices on a subscription of $100 a year. This new office has been launched to work in competition with the popular online-only Office style applications by Google, which are available free for home users but for businesses, available for $50 per year.

Microsoft’s SkyDrive online storage system and the company’s OneNote note-taking software are now present as iPad apps and iPad users can use limited Web versions of some Office applications. Although iPad availability of the Office applications is a demanded thing but it would decrease the market of the company’s own Surface tablet. The Office 365 works only with Windows 7 and Windows 8 but not with Windows XP. It has several new productivity features including editing PDFs in Word: Excel tweaks for faster chart making, and enhanced presented mode in PowerPoint.

“This is easily the most ambitious version we have released in the 25 years of Office,” Microsoft’s Jevon Fark told ABC News.

Although the rollout of Office 365 has been started for the corporations but the official launch of the product will be started by February 27. According the Microsoft’s estimates, nearly 1 billion people are using some part of Office and the unit that produces Office is the Microsoft’s most profitable.

“Microsoft has been criticized not only for pricing, but also for not innovating Office quickly and being slow to respond to the move to the Web or to mobile,” said Michael Silver, an analyst at tech research firm Gartner. “Office 2013 addresses some of the criticisms, but Microsoft still has the power to maintain its pricing levels.”