A Microsoft job posting for a software development engineer explains the plan:
Another job posting adds some more specifics about the coming new tools:
The "enhance the SharePoint experience" line in the first job post provided me with another clue. After a bit of searching, I found a reference to the Microsoft "Office Solutions Framework" team. This team is focused on enabling Office developers inside and outside Microsoft to build new add-ons and extensions that combine "the power of the latest Web technologies with the best-selling productivity suite in the world," according to a job posting for a software development engineer. The criteria for the job is experience with VBA, VSTO, SharePoint Workflow and/or Open XML.
It's worth noting that these job posts do not make it sound as if Microsoft is retiring VBA, VSTO or any other existing Office programmability tools in the near term. (In a similar vein, Microsoft isn't expected to simply toss out .Net and Silverlight/Windows Presentation Foundation overnight. For now, developers still have no official information on how they will figure in the near and longer terms, however.)
Shameless plug alert: Since I mentioned SharePoint in this post, I thought it worth noting that there's a community-organized SharePoint extravaganza coming up next week in Annandale, Virg. SharePoint Saturday the Conference kicks off on August 11. I'll be there doing some coverage and will speaking on Thursday afternoon. (My talk is "10 Things to Know About Office 365.") It's not too late to register for the show. If you'll be in the D.C. area and want to learn more about Microsoft's Office/cloud products and strategies, this three-day event has a little something for everyone. (Not to mention a bunch of very enthusiastic SharePinters who can answer tech and business questions.)