Microsoft CEO reveals Microsoft Office 365, preview available now

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage at a special press conference in San Francisco today to announce the new Microsoft Office 365.

The Microsoft Office 365 customer preview is available to try now.

This cloud-based version of Office 2013 "is a service first," Ballmer said, rather than a simple set of applications.

Ballmer added that "your modern Office" focuses on cloud, social, and other new scenarios, and that it's been optimized for touch and other important emerging input interfaces.

Exciting times

"These are certainly exciting times," he said, beginning the presentation with a brief recap of Microsoft's current undertakings, including Windows Phone 8, Xbox 360, Bing, Windows 8, and more.

Ballmer called Microsoft Office "the flagship application from Microsoft" and "the most important application" the company sells.

Microsoft Office 365 has been designed with the Metro UI in mind, he said, and touch controls will be an important element.

Office 365 is meant to be a catch-all service for a modern, social workplace environment, with elements like Skype integration facilitating social interactions in a professional environment.

And cloud functionality will allow both home and business users to save progress and settings for Microsoft Office applications between devices.

Even meetings can be done digitally through Microsoft Office 365 as an alternative to teleconferencing.

Microsoft Office 365 will compete directly with Google's emerging suite of business apps, so watch out for more news as the rivalry continues to heat up.

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.