Microsoft opens app store for Office 2013
With the next version of its business productivity suite already in public preview, Microsoft has launched a beta version of the Office Store, a marketplace for developers to distribute web-based add-ons for Office and SharePoint.
"We know our users spend an incredible amount of time using the Microsoft Office suite," writes Microsoft's Vivek Narasimhan, SharePoint product manager, in a blog post announcing the store. "We also know that many critical tools and many critical information sources live on the web or in applications outside of Office. We've built the store so you could integrate the very best of the web with the powerful features of Office and SharePoint."
To take advantage of the new store, users must have the Office 2013 Preview installed and be logged in to a Microsoft account.
Unlike traditional Office plug-ins, apps for the Office Store are web-based, but they integrate with the client Office applications. In essence, they are web applications that are hosted within Word, Excel, and the other Office components, according to Redmond's developer documentation.
Because of this, IT departments will not need to preload Office apps onto individual users' computers. Users can purchase apps themselves, and as long as they are logged in with their Microsoft accounts, their Office apps will follow them.
When it launched on Monday, the Office Store wasn't exactly bursting at the seams with apps, but it offered a few add-on dictionaries for Word, data connectors for Excel, and plug-ins that integrate Outlook with social websites, among others.
Somewhat confusingly, all of the apps bore a message reading, "This app can't be purchased during the Office Preview. Check back later."
When asked for clarification, a Microsoft spokesperson told El Reg that everything in the Office Store will be free during the preview period, but that it would be open for commerce with the general availability of Office 2013.
Developers who are interested in building apps for the forthcoming Office version can find more information on Microsoft's new blog describing the Office app ecosystem and how to get involved. ®
web applications that are hosted within Word, Excel, and the other Office component,
What could possibly go wrong?
I'm writing a new app for Office - it's a backwards compatibility plug-in to make Word97 macro viruses run in the latest version of MS Word! It's called Retrovirus!
The era of commercialisation hath begun...
Now, don't get me wrong... Microsoft is a company like any other and the main thing which drives a company is making a profit. Nothing wrong with that.
But aren't they overdoing things a little as of late?
I mean; Office 2010. I fire up Word, and I want to start a new document, say a contract. I simply select new document, go to the templates section and from there I can search a whole collection of templates straight from office.com. That's simply good service which IMO adds to the overall value of the product. People & companies provide templates for others to use them, available straight from within Office.
But these days it seems to me as if MS wants to get rid of all that and instead introduce stores where we should buy into all this.. Of course while they sit at the middle of the revenue; both developers and users need to pay Microsoft.
I hope we do realize the risk here... Its not unimaginable that Microsoft will simply provide less software and features themselves, and let the gaps be filled in by (paying!) 3rd parties. So effectively getting customers to pay more while they actually get less.