Microsoft is planning to deliver Service Pack (SP) 1 for Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Exchange 2013 in early 2014, company officials said on November 20.
Microsoft shared a partial list of some of the updates that will be part of the SP1 via blog posts on the Office and Exchange Team blogs. On that list:
- Improved compatibility with Windows 8.1
- Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 for Exchange and SharePoint
- Support for S/MIME in OWA will be brought back in SP1. With SP1 customers will have S/MIME support across Outlook, Exchange ActiveSync clients, and OWA
- Inclusion of the Edge Transport server role for Exchange Server 2013
- General performance enhancements and feature updates for all the Office 2013 products
In Exchange 2013's case, SP1 is "essentially" the same as Cumulative Update 4, officials said, meaning SP1 will include all fixes included in previously released cumulative updates for Exchange 2013. SP1 will require customers to update their Active Directory schema, Exchange officials also noted.
Microsoft's guidance to customers is those who want regular, frequent updates to their Office products should be using Office 365. Microsoft is making near-monthly feature updates to Office 365 at this point.
Speaking of Office 365, Microsoft announced on November 21 a new service -- Office 365 Message Encryption -- which allows users sto send encrypted e-mail messages to people outside of a customer's own company. Office 365 Message Encryption is the new version of the service formerly known as Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE). It includes all the existing EHE capabilities, plus some new features, like the ability to apply company branding to encrypted messages. It works with Office 365 mailboxes, as well as on-premises mailboxes using Exchange Online Protection.
"No matter what the destination -- Outlook.com, Yahoo, Gmail, Exchange Server, Lotus Notes, GroupWise, Squirrel Mail, you name it -- you can send sensitive business communications with an additional level of protection against unauthorized access," blogged company officials.
Examples of the kinds of scenarios where this might be useful include things like banks sending credit-card statements to users over e-mail or healthcare providers looking to send healthcare information to patients.
Office 365 E3 and E4 users will get Office 365 Message Encryption at no additional cost, as it will be included in Windows Azure Rights Management, which is currently part of E3 and E4 plans. The new encryption service also will be included in the standalone version of Windows Azure Rights Management for no extra charge.
Earlier this week, Microsoft also unveiled Office Remote, a Microsoft Research app, that allows Windows Phone 8 devices to act as remote controllers so that users can interact with Office 2013 or Office 365 documents on their PCs from across the room for presentation purposes.