On the Horizon: A New Version of Microsoft Office

By David H. Ringstrom, CPA

Microsoft announced that the next version of its flagship productivity suite has entered the "technical preview" phase of its development cycle. This program allows Microsoft customers to test and provide feedback on what's currently known as Office 15. This testing phase is a precursor to the public beta testing program expected to commence this summer. Recent Office public beta programs have allowed any interested user to download and take new versions for a spin prior to formal release.
 
Microsoft is being tight-lipped about new features, but a blog post by P.J. Hough, CVP of Development, notes "With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio." This could be interpreted to mean that we'll see tighter integration between the desktop versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote as well as their web-app, cloud-based, and mobile counterparts. The user interface for Office 15 could be up for overhaul. Windows 8 centers around a new Metro look that's designed to be operated by keyboard, mouse, finger, or pen in the same fashion as on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
 
The suite will probably be dubbed Office 2012 or 2013, and it could be released alongside Windows 8 toward the end of 2012. With that said, no definitive announcements have been made regarding either product, but a Developer Preview of Windows 8 is currently available for pre-beta testing.
 
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David H. Ringstrom, CPA, heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm. Contact David at david@acctadv.com, and consider attending one of his Excel training webcasts presented by AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.

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