Microsoft Office 15: Only for Windows 8, Windows 7 and iPad?
Microsoft is expected to unveil Office 15 (perhaps for Windows 8, Windows 7 and Apple iPad) as soon as Monday, July 16. The software company hopes Office 15 and peer product launches like Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 will lift sales, profits and partner wins to new heights. But can Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) balance traditional PC software with mobile and cloud services opportunities?
Office 15, coming one week after Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2012 (WPC12), surfaces at a critical time for the software company and the PC industry.
- PC sales were flat in Q2 2012, according to Gartner. Some buyers are shifting budget to Apple iPad but others might be waiting for Windows 8 on Ultrabooks.
- Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps are locked in a cloud applications battle. Office 15 could help to keep partners and customers loyal to Microsoft’s on-premises software while proving hooks into Microsoft’s cloud services.
WPC 2012 Set the Stage
More than 16,000 people attended WPC12, suggesting that Microsoft still has a massive channel partner base of resellers, VARs and distributors. Throughout the event, CEO Steve Ballmer, COO Kevin Turner and Channel Chief Jon Roskill predicted that major product upgrades and cloud services enhancements would lift Microsoft and its partners against Apple, Google, IBM, Oracle and VMware.
Where does Office 15 fit in? With expected support for Windows 8 and Windows 7, it’s clear Microsoft wants customers and partners to shift away from Windows XP and Windows Vista. Office 15 will support the Metro user interface and touch screen capabilities. And watch for Office 15 capabilities on Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface tablets (Windows RT and Windows 8) plus Windows Phone 8, of course.
The VAR Guy doesn’t have a firm feel for a ship date or pricing. But it sounds like partners and customers can expect a beta now and perhaps Office 15 shipments in time for the Windows 8 launch in October, plus Office 15 for iPad and Surface tablets in November. Those are just educated guesses, by the way.