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Microsoft's Steve Ballmer Does Not Fear Dropbox or an Office-less IPad

Steve Ballmer holds Windows 8-powered smartphones during the Qualcomm keynote speech at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
Steve Ballmer holds Windows 8-powered smartphones during the Qualcomm keynote speech at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las VegasPhotograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

When Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer does his bounding these days, it’s often in front of an 82-inch interactive display mounted on the wall of his office. Ballmer gets to poke at the screen—a Perceptive Pixel LCD—like a more energetic version of Wolf Blitzer. The display points to Microsoft’s vision for an interactive future in which documents, spreadsheets, and presentations get animated and people work on projects with more gesticular gusto. (This is a future that plays to Ballmer’s strengths.)

Microsoft took a decently big step toward this future today with the release of Office 2013. As Dina Bass and I pointed out, this is Office for the Cloud, in that you can now save files straight to SkyDrive, Microsoft’s online storage system. Users can also pay for the software on an annual subscription basis and receive updates every three months instead of every three years. In an interview on Jan. 29, Ballmer talked about the release of Office 2013 and where Microsoft is heading when it comes to making people more productive.