Microsoft's latest target release date for Office 16: Second half 2015

Microsoft is targeting the second half of calendar 2015 as its latest release target for both its next-generation Office client and server applications.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is aiming to deliver its next-generation Office 16 client and server applications in the second half of calendar 2015.


General Manager of Office and Office 365 Marketing Julia White shared the latest release dates during a session at Tech Ed Barcelona on October 28.

Microsoft officials said earlier this year that the company planned to release the next versions of Exchange Server and SharePoint Server in calendar 2015. But they didn't specify when in 2015 those releases might happen. At that time, the execs also declined to provide a target for the release of the next version of Lync. (Lync and Skype these days are a single team that sits separately from the other Office products.)

White confirmed that Microsoft is still planning to release both the next Office client and server apps together, rather than delivering Office 16 client apps earlier than the coming servers. So that means the Office 16 client applications will be out in the second half of 2015, too. I'd been hearing from my sources that Microsoft was aiming for a spring 2015 release for Office 16 for Windows.

Microsoft released to manufacturing its Office 15 release (Office 2013) in October of 2012. The company has been on a schedule via which it releases a major new version of its Office client and server apps every two to three years.

Microsoft currently is dogfooding its Office 16 client apps for Windows internally, as well as privately with a number of external testers. Microsoft is not believd to be testing its complementary touch-first/Metro-Style Office apps for Windows yet -- either on a widespread basis inside the company or externally. The rumored release date for the touch-first/Universal Office apps for Windows -- which I've heard are being developed specifically to work on Windows 10 -- is spring 2015.

Microsoft is expected to release its Office for Android tablet offering soon, possibly in early November 2014, my contacts are saying. The company also is expected to disclose timing and possibly a public preview of its next Office for Mac release very soon, as well. Alleged screen shots of the next Office for Mac's Outlook client leaked earlier this week. The latest rumored release target for the next Office for Mac is early 2015.

Microsoft's Ignite conference, which is its TechEd replacement show, is scheduled for the first week of May 2015 in Chicago. A couple of the keynoters at that show are executives who are working on Office. So maybe Ignite will be the launch event, with availability of the Office 16 client and server apps scheduled for shortly thereafter? 

Microsoft's Office team is simultaneously working on new Office versions for a variety of operating systems while continuing to update the core Office code base. The Office team is sharing more and more core code to help it better develop, update and maintain all the different versions of Office.

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