The next version of Office, particularly one that is fully "touchable," has been rumored for quite some time. Customers have been waiting for it, some not so patient, since Windows 8 released. And, along the way, Microsoft provided touchable versions for iOS and Android, but totally ignored the Windows ecosystem. In February, Microsoft provided new information and more promises, including showing off Office 2016 in screenshots. And, then in March, the company released preview versions for IT Pros and developers. But, since then, the signal has gone silent.
However, if you read the tea leaves provided in the Ignite session catalog, you'll quickly see that Microsoft's new conference is all about Office. Even with a pending summer release for Windows 10 that is highly anticipated, Office 365 still stops the list of provided content.
Office is a cornerstone of Microsoft's foray into a multi-platform world where it has to thrive to survive. So, in a way, both the Ignite session list and the sluggish Windows-centric Office make sense. But, it still doesn't help satisfy those customers that still rely on the Windows ecosystem every day.
Office 2013 is a good product, but it's definitely not kind to touchscreens. However, it's possible that Windows 8 caused so much difficulty for Microsoft that it simply decided it was okay to wait for a new version. And, that seems to be the case. As a Windows 10 release gets closer, we're hearing more and more about Office 2016.
On April 16, Microsoft intends to deliver more information about Office 2016 and the role that Windows 10 will play. According to the invitation, the event is designed show how to experience modern Office on Windows and see how Microsoft is rethinking the modern workplace – both in the office and on the go.
In an interview with Bloomberg last October, Bill Gates said…
But of all the things Microsoft needs to do in terms of making people more productive in their work, helping them communicate in new ways, it's a long list of opportunities Microsoft has to innovate. And taking Office and making it dramatically better would be really high on the list there. That's the kind of thing I'm trying to help make sure they move fast on.
Since that interview, we've seen new products such as Sway and Delve deliver, and we've watched Office 365 become a popular app for iOS and Android. Now, it's Windows' turn.
It will be interesting to hear what Microsoft is planning, and why it takes Windows 10 to finally bring a full, modern Office version to Windows customers. We'll have the coverage here on WindowsITPro. Stay tuned.