Rumor Roundup

A look at the latest rumors for Office 15, Office Gemini and Windows 9.

All manner of rumors about Microsoft Office with varying degrees of reasonableness. Here’s what’s on the rumor-vine at the moment.

The next desktop version of Office ‘Office 16’ (wrongly called ’15’ in some reports). is said to be in ‘Technical Preview’ meaning the stage before some type of early public beta/preview release.

We can tell you the main selling points of Office 16 because they’ll be the same as the last few versions of Office; ‘collaboration’ ‘cloud’ (which presupposes that cloud connections are a good thing) the words ‘innovative and ‘exciting’ will be used with tiresome predictability. We can hope, but not expect, to see any meaningful mention of security (especially in the cloud context) or customer privacy.

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Office ‘Gemini’ is the codename for a new type of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook which use the Windows Modern/Metro app system. They’re designed for touchscreens and Windows 8 tablets. There’s images purporting to be screenshots of ‘Gemini’ apps but they are from the Microsoft Research ‘Great Inking’ document we told you about last week. Those images may, or may not, be representative of Gemini. More likely they are images from some earlier beta around last year when the document was released. In any event, the images don’t tell us much of interest since it’s probable that the interface will be similar to Office for iPad which itself is similar to Office for Windows/Mac.

The next Windows ‘Windows 9’ is said to be heading for preview in the middle of 2015. Its likely Microsoft wants to get the next Windows out since Windows 8 has a relatively bad reputation among the public and organizations (marketing hype and bravado notwithstanding). The same thing happened with Windows ME and Vista which were (rightly) on the nose with the public.

One almost guaranteed feature in Windows 9 will be ability to show ‘Modern’ apps in desktop windows. That’s sounds great, now all they have to do is produce some Windows 8/9 apps that are worth using instead of their desktop counterparts.

‘Windows 365’ is buzzing around and would seem to be a predictable move to ‘subscription’ meaning rental of Windows itself. Instead of buying Windows with a computer, you may be able to pay an annual fee for the operating system itself or there’ll be a basic Windows supplied and you pay a fee for additional features. This would be great for Microsoft in so many ways, probably not so great for customers.

It’s only rumors … which we usually ignore since they are about as useful as the newspaper horoscope column.