Microsoft Rolls Out Technical Preview of Office 2012
Microsoft Office 15, otherwise known as Microsoft Office 2012, will be arriving soon, but it’s still not quite ready for prime time. That’s why Microsoft has launched what it termed “an important development milestone,” the “technical preview” of Office 15. Here’s what we expect …
Microsoft defines the “technical preview” thusly in its announcement: “[It] is the first time we share our work with a select group of customers under non-disclosure agreements.” Microsoft plans on bundling all the feedback from users and using it to refine the final shipping product. A “closed beta” is a simpler analogy.
But the real buzz about Office 15 is its connection to cloud services. Microsoft promises Office 15 will coincide with updates to Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and other Microsoft offerings, and they all will integrate with Office 15, allowing users to share and collaborate on important work documents with relative ubiquity inside the Office ecosystem. If you just can’t wait until the final version hits shelves, Microsoft will allow the public to beta test Office 15 this summer.
In March 2011 screen shots of Office 15 were leaked on the Internet, showing little changes being made to the GUI of the Office products. The Office 2007 ribbon remained and some graphics were simplified and tweaked, but otherwise the suite looked identical. Considering it’s been nearly a year since the leak, it’s possible Microsoft has had time to align Office 15 to match the look and feel of the Windows 8 Metro style. That doesn’t mean you can’t get the standard look you’re used to, but it’s likely Microsoft will want to tout its Windows 8 tablets as business-ready and the current layouts of Office applications are not touchscreen-friendly.
According to Microsoft, “Office 15 is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division,” and with that kind of hype, I’m highly interested, especially since Windows 8 has impressed me considerably. At any rate, whenever the beta hits the Web, we’ll be there with a closer look at Office 15 and what it brings to users and businesses alike.