Microsoft just announced that it is bringing its Lync messenger to the Windows Store and the new Windows 8 user interface. In addition, the company also just launched a new version of its free OneNote note-taking app for Windows 8.
The Lync app will be available in the Windows Store next week. The new version of the OneNote app, which made its debut earlier this year, is available now (though it’s still officially in preview). Both of these apps have been designed for the new touch-centric Windows 8 user interface. Unlike Microsoft’s other Office apps, which run in the traditional desktop mode, these apps have been redesigned for touch and will run on Windows 8 and Windows RT.
In OneNote, Microsoft is using the new radial menu for its touch-centric office apps. This approach, the company says, gives “you access to common commands – like formatting your notes, making To Do lists and adding pictures directly from your tablet’s camera – all right under your fingertips and right next to the notes you are working on.” The app can also take input from a stylus for handwritten notes and, just like Microsoft’s desktop version of OneNote, the new Windows 8 app also connects to SkyDrive for sharing and storing notes.
The Lync communicator will allow users to join Lync meetings, participate in multiparty HD video conferences and view shared meeting content. Lync, of course, is mostly used in larger companies and is part of the Microsoft’s paid solutions for businesses, but it is also part of its Office 365 for Education service.
While Windows RT for ARM-based devices doesn’t allow users to run traditional desktop apps (for obvious reasons), Microsoft did port the desktop versions of Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Excel to ARM and these apps run in the traditional desktop interface. The desktop versions, however, are somewhat hard to use on a tablet and unless you have a stylus, hitting the right buttons can be tough. Chances are we will see versions of all of these apps for the new user interface at some point, but for now, OneNote and Lync remain the only Office apps in the Windows Store.
Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured. Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market. Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and...