Office 15 starts external testing

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The Office 15 Technical Preview has begun.

And so it begins …. Microsoft has started testing the next version of Office (called ‘Office 15’ for the moment) to a small group of people outside the company.

They aren’t saying much else at this stage except the usual platitudes that have accompanied a new version of Office since Reagan was president and since started 15 years ago.

“most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division”

“help people work, collaborate and communicate smarter and faster”

“important development milestone”

The only difference is that the word ‘cloud’ features more prominently than in the past.

Office 15 will be a system wide release covering not just the traditional Office software but also mobile, servers and cloud services. That will include the browser based ‘Office Web Apps’ but no word on whether the much rumored iPad apps are part of that bundle.

As usual, Macintosh users are outside the regular development stream and will have to wait until later for any new version of Office for Mac.

At this stage it’s called “Office 15” with a probable final name of “Office 2012” or “Office 2013” depending on when the software goes on sale. A release date of late 2012 is targeted – possibly in conjunction with Windows 8.

In the meantime, get ready for the usual dribble of leaks – official and unofficial – to keep interest in Office 15 alive during the year. Also usual, Office Watch will sort through the (mis)information with a close but cynical eye to tell our readers what’s worth looking at in Office 15.

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