What does the Office 15 schedule say about Windows 8?

What does the Office 15 schedule say about Windows 8?

Summary: In recent years, Windows and Office have moved on parallel development tracks. Today's announcement of an Office beta "later this summer" offers some useful hints about the Windows 8 schedule. Will Microsoft spring a big upside surprise?

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Microsoft officially announced that the Technical Preview of its next release of Microsoft Office, code-named Office 15, has begun. According to PJ Hough, who runs the Office division at Microsoft, "everyone will have the opportunity to try the Office 15 public beta later this summer."

My ZDNet colleague Mary Jo Foley says her sources tell her that the goal is to release Office 15 to manufacturing before the end of the calendar year.

That ambitious schedule says a lot about the solidity of Windows 8, if past experience is any guide.

During recent release cycles, Office has tracked Windows in predictable fashion. Office 2007 shipped at the same time as Windows Vista. Office 2010 lagged Windows 7 by a quarter or two. With Office 2010, a Technical Preview was made available around the same time as the Windows 7 release candidate. The Office 2010 beta appeared around the same time as general availability of Windows 7.

A little lag in the Office schedule compared to Windows makes sense from a business perspective. Office is still an enterprise product, and only the most daring businesses are deploying a new Windows version on the day it's released. In addition, some Office features depend on underlying OS capabilities. Having a free beta available with a finished (or nearly so) operating system is a good way for corporate customers to kick the tires of both products.

When I was talking about Office 15 with a colleague a few weeks ago, I said I expected it in the first half of 2013. This advanced schedule suggests that Microsoft's development teams for both Windows and Office are hitting on all cylinders. What's most impressive about the Office announcement is the way that all the separate products are finally being unified on a single timeline:

With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio.

Based on this schedule, I think it's strongly possible we'll see Windows 8 finished and delivered to OEMs before Labor Day. ARM tablets running a preview version of a "Metro-ized" Office could even be available by then.

Over the weekend, several of my more skeptical journalist and analyst friends expressed doubts about Microsoft's progress with Windows 8, with at least one believing firmly that Windows 8 will slip into 2013.

This announcement tells me that the Windows team might be preparing a big upside surprise for those skeptics.

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Software, Windows

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  • RE: What does the Office 15 schedule say about Windows 8?

    There's a new rumor that the ARM version of Windows 8 will be launching at the same time as the x86 version. That can't be good news for Intel... but it's GREAT news for the consumer. :)
    metromalenyc
  • Perhaps a blessing in disguise

    [i]Over the weekend, several of my more skeptical journalist and analyst friends expressed doubts about Microsoft's progress with Windows 8, with at least one believing firmly that Windows 8 will slip into 2013.[/i]<br><br>I think it's to their advantage if it does. Coming any sooner places it too close to the successful Windows 7 intro, whose adoption and uptake are hardly complete at this point. They'd be better off not releasing it (RTM) until the summer of 2013 at the earliest IMHO. <br><br>That also gives them more time to figure out how to best incorporate and fine tune the Metro design concept to the desktop and Explorer without alienating most of their user base while doing so. A start menu turned cluttered desktop does nothing for my palate or senses, except to remind me of but another newfangled ribbon.<br><br>Scrolling canvas? Aero 2.0 eye candy? Metro minimalism? Say it ain't so. :|
    klumper
    • Hilarious

      @klumper

      Too close to the successful Windows 7 intro? That was three years ago!

      Waiting four years? Not gonna happen.
      Ed Bott
      • Why then the delay?

        @Ed Bott
        [i]Too close to the successful Windows 7 intro? That was three years ago![/i]

        2.5 years ago on RTM to be precise, and not much over 2 years on the retail release. Stick to the facts EB. Also not sure why you think four years is so hilarious. It would amount to a welcome break from the treadmill mice routine so many are junkied to, both home users and (bolts for brains) businesses.

        I know, I know, Redmond and the OEMs would fall on their impoverished faces, and that might force Bill out of retirement. None of that would hurt so good.

        Question: Just out of curiosity, how well do you think Windows 8 + Metro will take off when it comes to desktop (tower and laptop) use? Not that you or I or anyone else has any sort of omnipotent crystal ball, but what's your prediction at this point? Shades of Vista revisited, or W7 numbers and acclaim? Inquiring pooter [s]junkies[/s] jockies would love to know.
        klumper
  • RE: What does the Office 15 schedule say about Windows 8?

    From the article:
    "A little lag in the Office schedule compared to Windows makes sense from a business perspective.

    This may be true for desktop, laptop and netbook form factors where multi-touch support is a non-issue. However, just like Windows 7 was retooled for netbooks (among other things), Windows 8 is being retooled for tablets. On both ARM and x86 architectures.

    The sooner Microsoft can release Windows 8 for tablets, the better as they are *very* late. However, releasing Windows 8 for tablets before an optimized version of Office 15 for tablets is also ready would be counter-productive IMO, whether on ARM or x86. To me, this would be analogous to RIM releasing their PlayBook tablet without an email client. And don't forget that Office includes Outlook.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: What does the Office 15 schedule say about Windows 8?

      @Rabid Howler Monkey

      As Ed says, only the most daring businesses are deploying a new Windows version on the day it???s released. They might buy a few test models initially for development purposes (I have one in our budget for 2012), but otherwise would not go all in on these new tablets until SP1 at least. But the sooner MS can get these in their hands, the sooner they can test and make decisions (and give MS feedback for the SP).
      Michael Kelly
      • RE: What does the Office 15 schedule say about Windows 8?

        @Michael Kelly SP1? You just made Tim Cook smile. The iPad 3 will be out long before Windows 8 SP1.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • RE: What does the Office 15 schedule say about Windows 8?

    It says they are both coming out at the same time :)
    Loverock Davidson-
  • But

    It *is* kind of difficult to care, don't you think? I think they'll release it when they think it's finished enough to get away with it, like all software ever (with the sole exception of Valve stuff). I'll let the bleeding edge beta nerds do my testing for me then I'll buy it when service pack 1 comes out (if it's any good), like anyone else with a modicum of sense. Of course the journos'll get it for free anyway.
    richard.gardner@...
  • RE: What does the Office 15 schedule say about Windows 8?

    I have experienced no increase in productivity as a result of my (forced) purchase of Office 2007 or 2010, over Office 2000 (I skipped 2003) only a learning curve, cash depletion, and ribbons to click around. The upgrade called Excel 2007 lost the ability to record macros! There were a couple of minor advantages (bubbles? real time font size changing in powerpoint?) but they were not worth the tax that I was forced to fork out. I would be happy if there were no further releases of Office again.

    Office 15 is to be available so soon and I may be forced (to be compatible with my clients) to upgrade again is very far from "impressive." Microsoft should make something that people want and need and not force people to buy its "upgrades."
    nospam@...
    • RE: What does the Office 15 schedule say about Windows 8?

      @nospam@...
      You may not have increased productivity, but I found dramatic improvements in productivity from 2003 -> 2007, and on the occasions I have had to go back a version, I have found it quite laborious to use the earlier release. I got nothing similar with the upgrades to 2003 and 2010, but I'm sure others did. Just because you don't use the additional features (or perhaps don't know they're there), doesn't mean that they're not useful to others out there.

      (Incidentally, to Mr Bott - I know this is a US based site, but you have a lot of readers elsewhere in the world who would have absolutely no idea when you mean by "Labor Day". In my part of the world we have Labour Day - it's in about four weeks, and I'm sure that's not what you're referencing! I can adjust seasons automatically - you learn that in the southern hemisphere, but knowing holiday dates in a country you don't live in is pretty hard.)
      Mr_Q_
    • Macros in Excel 2007

      @nospam@... You can still play with macros in Office 2007. You can find a Macros block in the View tab of the ribbon (at least it is there on mine). If that is not available for whatever reason, click on the Office Orb -> Excel Options, in the Popular tab select the option to 'Show the Developer toolbar'. There is a block on there called Code that has your macro options.
      ultimitloozer
  • Windows 8

    Wow, Still considering Win8 or Mac. I love a Mac pro, too. :)
    funny5com