Whatever happened to the Microsoft Office 15 Moorea app?

It's looking like "Moorea" will be an element of OneNote 15, part of Microsoft's next-generation Office suite, rather than a separate, standalone app.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

One of the first new tidbits to leak months ago about Microsoft's Office 15 suite was the existence of what looked to be a new app, codenamed Moorea. Now that the Office 15 technology preview is available -- albeit primarily to testers under non-disclosure agreements -- is there any new word on Moorea?

There is, in fact. But from what I'm hearing, Moorea is not looking like it will be a new, standalone addition to the coming Office suite. Instead, it seems to have been folded into OneNote 15. (If you want more information on OneNote 15 -- and other components of the Office 15 client suite, Windows SuperSite's Paul Thurrott has gotten his hands on the Office 15 technical preview bits.)

OneNote is Microsoft's note-taking application. Company brass always have had high expectations for OneNote, going so far as making it part of all of the Office 2010 SKUs in the hopes of increasing customer adoption. More recently, the Softies have been porting OneNote beyond Windows, to platforms including the iPhone and Android. OneNote is rumored to be one of four Office apps Microsoft will make available as Office for the iPad. It also is one of the four that will be "included" with Windows 8 on ARM tablets.

Last we heard about Moorea, it was known to have the tagline "Everything you need in one place." In the technical preview documentation, OneNote 15 has a subset of features which officials describe as "All in One Place."

From Microsoft's description:

"Keep all your notes, links, web pages, and media in OneNote to connect the dots between your ideas. With OneNote 15 you can take almost any kind of file and place it right into your notes. You can also make notes that correspond to content in the files you’ve added or link to calendar events and emails. Now you’ve got one place to capture your thoughts and files."

OneNote 15 adds new kinds of files that can be embedded, including Excel and Visio files. Each file type offers content previews from within a OneNote notebook. As content is changed, previews change automatically to reflect all updates. There also will be new indexed search features in OneNote to capture text within a picture or a comment within an audio clip. Users can search for these just like they currently can search their OneNote notes and files using a key word or phrase. (Sounds like that part is not new. Thanks to reader @PatriceVB for pointing that out to this very occasional OneNote Web App user.)

Compare that to what we heard/saw about Moorea a few months back. From my April 2011 blog post:

"From the very limited information discernible from those supposed Moorea screenshots, it looks like the app will allow you to insert various kinds of multimedia content in a common place. Kind of like a OneNote focused around multimedia content."

Microsoft officials have said a public beta of Office 15 will arrive this summer. No one from the company has gone on record saying when Office 15 will ship. I continue to hear it will be released to manufacturing before the end of calendar 2012.

Office 15 will be a desktop (not a Metro-style) app suite, though it will have more of a Metro look and feel. It also will be more touch-centric, sporting a button across the individual apps that will allow users to switch to a "Touch mode" when running it on touch-enabled tablets and PCs.

Microsoft officials are not commenting on anything about Office 15 beyond the fact the suite is now in a closed technical preview.

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