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Once upon a time it was all about Microsoft. When you thought about technology companies, mentioned enterprise software or even talked about an operating system, Microsoft was the name that was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. With the recent rise from the ashes of Apple Inc., times have changed a little and suddenly the Redmond company don’t have it all their own way. It is worth noting though, that the company is still producing quality software which mixes innovation with functionality and that doesn’t look like it is about to change anytime soon with the latest announcement from the Office team.

PJ Hough, who is the CVP of Development in the Microsoft Office division has been teasing consumers on the official Office blog, wetting their lips with the announcement of the opening of the Office 15 technical preview program. At this moment you would be forgiven for not having a clue what that is, or why you should care, and to be honest, even the blog post doesn’t really elaborate on the full details. Office 15 is the official codename given by Microsoft to the next generation of the Office Suite of products which we all know to include software packages such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

MS Office 15 TP

The technical preview corporate term for saying they are officially going to let a group of people view the products and use the software and services as an effective beta trial. The preview scheme will be offered to a select group of customers, although we aren’t sure how those customers have been chosen and will take place under the standard non-disclosure agreements; meaning, those customers are forbidden to release any details of the services being provided. As with any beta run, or pre-release trial, any feedback provided by the testers will be analyzed and hopefully incorporated into the final product.

Hough says a lot in the blog post without actually revealing much, and while he hasn’t provided any exact details about Office 15, he does make reference to the fact that this is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office division. He states:

"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. Quite simply, Office 15 will help people work, collaborate, and communicate smarter and faster than ever before".

The current preview program is already at capacity, with no additional customers being accepted to trial Office 15, but Microsoft will be opening up Office 15 to a public beta later in the Summer where everyone will be presented with the opportunity to try the products and services.

In April of last year, a screenshot of Office 15 were leaked and gave us a glimpse of what the future Office version would look like cosmetically. You guessed it! Its thoroughly Metro-fied and falls perfectly with Windows 8’s UI. But we’re guessing that the final version of Office 15 would be much more polished.

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