In Pictures: Microsoft's 13 biggest wins and fails of 2012

It's been a busy year for Microsoft, including its challenges to Apple and Google on mobility

Win: Microsoft Office boldly steps forward

Microsoft took a big step forward with its preview edition of the upcoming Office 2013. The new productivity suite will, for the first time, allow home users to subscribe to Office for $100 per year via Office 365. Buying a subscription entitles you to download the software on up to five PCs at a time, and even to download temporary versions for one-time use on public PCs. Office also offers SkyDrive online storage integration, so you can access your documents from anywhere. You can still buy boxed versions of Office 2013, but Microsoft hopes that most people will switch to an Office 365 subscription instead.

On top of all that, the revamped user interface is cleaner, more sober, and often easier to use.

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