Microsoft has announced a new version of its Office productivity software, described as its "most ambitious" release to date, to be made available to the public next year.
Office has long been Microsoft's biggest money-spinner, bringing in more than $15billion a year, and its presence on over a billion machines worldwide, including around 90 per cent of business PCs, makes it the world's most popular productivity suite.
The biggest development on Office 2013 is that, for the first time, the major Office programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook will be optimised for touch-screen devices, such as the new Microsoft Surface tablet, which is due for release later this year.
Office 2013 will also incorporate Skype and Yammer, both of which have been acquired by Microsoft in recent months.
As he announced the new software at an event in San francisco, Microsoft's Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said that Office 2013 is "a new generation that brings you some of the same boldness and beauty that we've shown you in Windows 8 and Windows Phone".
Making the Office software optimised for touch-screen devices is one of the boldest moves yet from Microsoft. It is clear that, with the release of their Surface tablet, and touch-ready software and operating systems also in the pipeline, Microsoft are making a solid attempt to claw some of the tablet marketshare back from Apple and the iPad. And, with the immense popularity of Office, it certainly stands a very good chance amongst business users at least.