The June 12 Microsoft TechEd keynote was billed as being all about Windows 8 for business. But the only bit of new information shared during the hour-and-a-half presentation was a quick glimpse of branding for the next version of Office, codenamed "Office 15."
(click on image to enlarge)
During a demonstration on stage of Windows on ARM, Director of Program Management Linda Averett showed a quick glimpse of what Excel will look like on a Windows on ARM tablet. The software was identified as a preview of "Office 2013 RT" (with the "RT" representing Windows RT, the final name of Windows on ARM).
(A screen capture of the app showing the name was captured by Rafael Rlivera of WithinWindows.com and is used above with his permission.)
Microsoft officials have said previously that "Office 15" versions of four apps -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote -- would be "included" with Windows on ARM. Microsoft execs have continued to refuse to offer more details, such as whether these are full versions of the Office apps and/or whether they will be preloaded on all Windows on ARM tablets.
Select testers have been running Office 15 preview versions since February 2012 or so. Microsoft officials said the company plans to make a public beta of Office 15 available "this summer." The rumored availability date for the beta has been June for a while now. And several testers have said previously that documentation has mentioned the "Office 2013" name as the planned final brand for Microsoft's coming client and server Office 15 apps.
Antoine Leblond, Corporate Vice President, Windows Web Services, who was the lead keynote speaker, showed off some prototype business apps for Windows 8 during the keynote. (Among them was the New Belgium Brewing CRM app developed by Sonoma Partners about which I blogged earlier this year.)
Microsoft officials seem to have decided that the majority of the TechEd audience had never seen or read about Windows 8 before today, as the keynote was very elementary, in terms of the demos and information provided. Microsoft has offered external testers a chance to download and use versions of Windows 8 since September 2011.
Windows 8 is expected by my contacts to be released to manufacturing this summer, possibly as early as July, and to be generally available in September. Office 2013 is thought to be on a track to RTM in November 2012 and to be generally available in early 2013.