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New Microsoft Office gets more social

Microsoft's upcoming new Office suite taps more heavily into the world of social media.

Announced today, Microsoft's latest Office suite will try to help users collaborate more easily through social media.

Demoing the new version of Office at a press conference, Kirk Koenigsbauer, a corporate vice president for Office, showed a five-person video chat using Microsoft's Lync application. In the demo, Koenigsbauer revealed how he could drag and drop someone from his buddy list into the live meeting.

Another participant was able to drop a PowerPoint presentation onto the shared canvas for all to see. Koenigsbauer then showed how users could draw directly on the presentation via a touch-screen device, which then appeared on PowerPoint for other meeting participants.

Since OneNote is integrated into Lync, users can share their notebooks with other people on the conference call and even take and display notes while the meeting progresses.

Microsoft SharePoint is also joining the social-media party, offering a "cleaner, simpler" design that borrows the look and feel of its news stream from the likes of such social networks as Facebook, Twitter, and Yammer. That's likely not a coincidence given Microsoft's recent purchase of Yammer.

PowerPoint users can comment on messages in the newsfeed, view conversation threads, and even take advantage of Twitter-like hashtags and @replies

And courtesy of another Microsoft purchase, users can see if other people are available via Skype from any application in the new Office suite and make Skype calls directly from within Outlook.

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