Microsoft’s next-generation Office has been overhauled to include several Metro UI elements.
The first Office 15 screenshots began to leak in early March, and some early Outlook screenshots revealed that Microsoft is implementing a Metro UI across its next Office product. The Hot Fix has uncovered a new build of Office 15 which includes further Metro styling. Outlook has been overhauled to include a number of Metro inspired elements.
The screenshots also reveal a more flattened user interface within Outlook. Microsoft’s Outlook UI no longer seems cluttered and provides users with direct access to their mail in a simple and yet familiar way. Microsoft’s Metro design language is an internal code name for a typography-based design languages created and used by the company. Microsoft originally started using Metro in Media Center and showcased a full version in the company’s Zune products. Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7, also features the Metro look and feel throughout. Microsoft has started to use the Metro UI on more of its web properties to produce a clean, fast and simple look.
It was recently revealed that Office 15 had reached the Milestone 2 phase of development. Little is known about the new features included in Office 15 but WinRumors understands Microsoft is planning an improved meeting system and OWA enhancements for the next generation of Office. The company is seeking to employ an Outlook software development engineer at its corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington. “We are now going to take OWA to the next level and build the next generation clients for desktop and the latest mobile and slate devices,” said a recent the job listing. “The next generation client will include world class messaging, contacts, calendaring and social collaboration for both enterprise and cloud, and will use the latest in web technology.”
ZDNets’ Mary Jo Foley recently attended a day-long “Future of Productivity” event for press and analysts on January 28. Microsoft Business Division President Kurt DelBene spent a brief period speaking about Offfice 15, the next generation of Microsoft Office. “We don’t think we’ve covered all the bases,” said DelBene.”We’re always looking for what new productivity experiences” customers want.” DelBene said that “new applications will join the Office family as a result.”
Foley speculates that a new “meeting” application may be on the short list for Office 15. DelBene said “We have a major investment around making meetings great.” He noted that Microsoft has done work on every phase of meetings — from Outlook invitations, to notetaking (with OneNote), to broadcasting (with some of the new features in PowerPoint 2010). “I could see those pieced together over time,” DelBene told attendees of the Future of Productivity event.
Microsoft is believed to be readying Office 15 for the 2012 time-frame.