Microsoft is kicking off the technical preview for its Office 15 client, servers and cloud services today, January 30.
A beta of all of the same Office 15 deliverables will be available to the public in "late summer," according to a new post on the Ofice Exec blog.
Microsoft officials are not commenting on the features in any part of Office 15; on the planned release-to-manufacturing (RTM) or general availability date; or on whether the technical preview will include a version of Office that will work on Windows 8 on ARM. (I asked about all of these.) Update: Also, for those asking, we also have no idea on platform-support specifics -- such as whether this preview also encompasses the rumored Office for iPad; and whether it includes a separate non-touch-centric Office 15 update for those not using tablets/touch-enabled laptops.
I've heard from my contacts that Microsoft's goal is to RTM Office 15 by the end of calendar 2012. I've heard the Softies are wavering back and forth between calling Office 15 "Office 2012" and "Office 2013." (If the product RTMs very late in the year, they may opt for the 2013 name.)
With Office 2010, July 2009 was the date of the tech preview release. November 2009 was the public beta. February 2010 was the release candidate. Release to manufacturing was in April 2010, and general availability was June 2010.
Microsoft chose the participants for its Office 15 Technology Adoption Program (TAP) program earlier this month, at least according to one tweet I caught (and which the sender removed, though not before I had a chance to grab a screen shot of it).
Microsoft typically includes select partners and customers in its Office TAP program.
Update No. 2: This just showed up, on January 30, in the Microsoft Download Center (though it seems restricted to those in the TAP):
There have been relatively few leaks about Office 15 to date. One tidbit we've heard is that the client suite will likely include a new application that is codenamed "Moorea." Moorea sounds like the former Office Labs' Canvas for OneNote, which allowed testers to navigate and edit notebooks in a new way by providing a high-level canvas-view of all their content.