Those with Office 365 subscriptions are able to get their hands on the product first.
Office 365 customers with a qualifying subscription -- meaning Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, Office 365 ProPlus and certain Office 365 business plans that include the right to download the Office apps locally -- can install Office 2016 for Mac today from their 365 account pages. Students (and parents) who are covered by Office 365 Education plans also can get Office 2016 for Mac as part of their subscriptions.
In August, Microsoft will make Office 2016 for Mac available to volume licensing customers for download from the Volume Licensing Center. Office 365 and volume-licensing users will get Office 2016 for Mac for "free," as they're paying for it as part of their subscription.
Some time in September, Office 2016 will be available to those who want to purchase a "one-time perpetual purchase" (non-subscription) from retailers, according to Microsoft. Microsoft officials are not yet releasing pricing for this version.
Microsoft is planning to make regular updates and new features for Office 2016 for Mac at least quarterly, officials said.
For those wondering about the next releases of Office -- the full Office 2016 for Windows suite and the touch-first Office Universal apps for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile -- both are on their way. The Office Universal apps will exit preview and be generally available for Windows 10 as of July 29, which is the day the operating system begins rolling out, Microsoft officials said today. The full Office 2016 suite for Windows is still on track to exit testing and be generally available this fall, officials confirmed.