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Microsoft announces ‘new’ Office feature that’s been available for six months

Microsoft’s PR department must be laughing themselves silly this week. A press release for an existing Excel feature is getting wide coverage even though there’s nothing new and the feature is at least six months old.

The blog posting on 5 June 2019 announces Microsoft is working with “Nasdaq and Refinitiv to pull current financial information for the full range of U.S. exchange-listed equities”. readers won’t be surprised about this ‘news’ at all.  We’ve been telling you about Excel’s Stock Data type for the last 12 months and even written a book about it.

It’s a great feature and not well appreciated but there’s nothing new in the blog post.  It’s a classic of media manipulation which has worked amazingly well with ‘news’ stories appearing all over the place.  Overworked journalists, not familiar with Office, have reheated the blog post and uncritically passed it along as ‘news’.

What’s New?

Nothing.  There’s nothing new being announced in the blog post.  It’s not fake news, just old news.

What’s already happening?

Excel 365 for Windows and Mac can get near real-time stock and index information to go directly into your worksheets.  No messy data connections, separate subscriptions and other annoyances.  Type in a company name or ticker code, click a button and the company price and other data is loaded.  Hitting Refresh updates all the data with the latest prices and other info.

Of course, it’s more complicated than that … this is a Microsoft product after all <g>.

Getting Started with Excel 365’s Stock Data Type

Stock and Geography Data Types coming to Office for Mac

Stock data type search tips in Excel

Real-Time Excel –  get live stock prices, currency rates and more

All the stock and index data for Excel’s Stock Data type comes from a single source, a company called Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters).  That company has the surprisingly difficult job of gathering near real-time data from 60 global stock exchanges (NASDAQ is just one of them) then standardizing the data from all those sources into a single consistent feed for Microsoft’s servers.

Refinitiv supplies the stock data to Microsoft for Excel and Bing. The change in previous data supplier happened earlier this year.  Nothing new there either.

NASDAQ doesn’t directly work with Microsoft in supplying data. If you read the Microsoft announcement carefully, there’s nothing to say that they do.  NASDAQ is just one of the US based stock exchanges so it alone could not supply data for “the full range of U.S. exchange-listed equities”.  It seems NASDAQ (where Microsoft stock is traded) has teamed up for a little free cross-promotion.

Microsoft’s blog post hints that historical price data may become available in the future.  That’s also nothing new and there’s no timeline for that to happen.

Update: check out Quick stock price analysis and charts with Excel StockHistory()

If you’re not interested in stock prices, just sit back and admire Microsoft’s cynical but masterful media manipulation.
Where is Stock data in the latest Excel 365?
Stock data type search tips in Excel
Excel’s Stock / Currency data (kinda, sorta) gets auto-refresh

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