Microsoft has announced on its Office blog that the latest iteration of Office, codenamed Office 15, has hit the technical preview stage. The company has distributed an early version of the software code to a select group of testers who have been sworn to secrecy through a Non-Disclosure Agreement, though it will eventually launch a beta version in the summer. The boys from Redmond claim Office 15 to be the Office teams ‘most ambitious undertaking’ yet. In addition to updating the main desktop software, Microsoft will simultaneously update the server software including, SharePoint, Lync and Exchange and also its Office 365 cloud client and its mobile app. With Windows 8 donning the unique Metro UI, Office 15 is expected to feature a Metro interface. It will be interesting to see how the software suit works on ARM based Windows tablets as these devices are expected to dump legacy support, so a main desktop might not be available on them as seen on the Intel versions of the OS.
The popularity of Office in the enterprise and consumer market could theoretically tip the balance of the tablet market in favor of Microsoft and its OEM partners. While Windows is the world’s dominant operating system, one of the main reasons for its dominance is Microsoft Office suite. The Office Suite is Microsoft’s kingpin application suite, as it has become the defacto industry standard for Word processing, Spreadsheets, Presentations and even enterprise mail. People turn to Office to get work done, and this could very well drive home a compelling selling point in favor of Windows 8 tablets.