RealTime IT News

Microsoft Sees Collaborative Future

NEW YORK -- Microsoft Corp. said it would roll out a new version of Office next year and announced the arrival of its new Tablet PC, both of which it said heralded a new era of collaborative technology designed to meet the needs of mobile workers.

Speaking at the TechXNY/PC Expo in New York City on Tuesday, Jeff Raikes, Microsoft's group vice president for productivity and business services, said Microsoft would ship Office 11 by the middle of next year. Raikes said Microsoft would unveil some of Office 11's new features through the year, showing off Outlook's new messaging and collaboration client.

Raikes said Microsoft would also bump up its commitment to XML, which allows documents to be read across a variety of platforms.

"We, along with the rest of the industry, have been investing in XML," he said.

Microsoft also showcased its upcoming Windows XP for Tablet PC Edition -- designed to bring together the screen, PC, and paper -- which will be available on Nov. 7. Tablet PCs are an outgrowth of notebook technology, with a keyboard and the ability to use a pen to write notes that are convertible to text.

"We have the opportunity to realize the potential of information work," he said. "The most precious thing you have, as a knowledge worker, as an information worker, is your time."

The Tablet PC will use a superset of Windows XP Professional, along with an Office XP Pack for Tablet PC that has pen capabilities.

The Tablet PC will have a Software Development Kit (SDK) to provide a set of documentation, sample programs and headers for software vendors to build or modify applications to run on a Tablet PC. The SDK also includes platform-level application programming interfaces, a platform automation layer, and controls for adding pen input and handwriting capabilities to any Windows-based application.

The Tablet PC SDK includes detailed design guidelines, which lets developers calculate optimal dimmensional mesurements of controls based on display resolution. It also comes with 17 sample applications highlighting the Tablet PC's key features. Developers can use SDK and Visual Studio to integrate and test their applications with Tablet PC's pen-and-ink capabilities.