Microsoft has begun the worldwide release of Office 2016, which heads to Australia and New Zealand alongside new and enhanced Office 365 services.
“The way people work has changed dramatically, and that’s why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Microsoft chief executive, Satya Nadella.
“These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork.”
Following months of anticipation, Redmond said Office 2016 delivers new versions of the Office desktop apps for Windows, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Project, Visio and Access.
The vendor has made a big push to claw back some of the ground it has lost to competitors like Google that have eroded Microsoft's dominance in the productivity suite market.
By subscribing to Office 365, customers can get always-up-to-date, fully installed apps for use across their devices, combined with a continually evolving set of consumer and commercial services, such as OneDrive online storage, Skype for Business, Delve, Yammer and enterprise-grade security features.
To coincide with the release of the new software, Microsoft has raised prices of the stand-alone licenses for both the PC and Mac editions between five and seven per cent.
In addition, new Office 365 solutions include Office 365 Planner - designed to help teams organise their work, with the ability to create new plans, organise and assign tasks, set due dates, and update status with visual dashboards and email notifications.
Microsoft says Planner will be available in preview to Office 365 First Release customers starting next quarter.
Furthermore, the tech giant claims that “significant new updates” to OneDrive for Business are coming later this month, including a new sync client for Windows and Mac, which will deliver selective sync and enhanced reliability.
Updates also include increased file size and volume limits per user, a new user interface in the browser, mobile enhancements, and new IT and developer features.
Unveiled earlier this year, Gigjam is now available in private preview and will become part of Office 365 in 2016.
Availability and requirements
The new Office 2016 apps are available in 40 languages and require Windows 7 or later and from now, Office 365 subscribers can choose to download the new Office 2016 apps as part of their subscription.
Microsoft says automatic updates will begin rolling out to consumer and small-business subscribers next month, and to commercial customers early next year - Office 2016 is also available today as a one-time purchase for both PCs and Macs.
Chris Player contributed to this article.