Microsoft is planning the first beta of its Office 15 software in January, WinRumors has learned.
The software giant is currently preparing final milestone builds of Office 15 in preparation for a full beta in late January, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. Microsoft Office 15, the codename for the next version of Microsoft’s popular productivity suite, is tentatively scheduled for a beta 1 milestone in late January. Microsoft will provide a Technology Preview of the software initially, expected at CES 2012 alongside the Windows 8 beta. Office 15 will be designed with touch at the heart of the applications. Microsoft has redesigned the general look and feel of its popular Outlook email client to make it usable by touch, pen and mouse.
Microsoft is also preparing a tile based “Moorea” application that will work as a landing place for Office users to quickly navigate to their documents and pictures. Microsoft’s Metro style Outlook user interface leaked earlier this year, hinting at the company’s plans towards making Office touch friendly. 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 style UI on more of its web properties to produce a clean, fast and simple look.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed in September that the company is preparing a Metro style version of Office. You ought to expect that we are rethinking and working hard on what it would mean to do Office Metro style,” said Ballmer, answering a question about Office for Windows 8 Metro interface. Microsoft recently admitted that the company will only support Metro apps in Windows 8 ARM but it’s not clear how Office will stack up in ARM, a typical desktop application that requires mouse and keyboard input in most Office applications.