As ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reports, Microsoft has announced that it’s begun a technical preview of Office 15, the next version of its suite. That means that work is progressing on the product, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to guess that the company hopes to have it out this year. But the news doesn’t bring any official details whatsoever:
Microsoft officials are not commenting on the features in any part of Office 15; on the planned release-to-manufacturing (RTM) or general availability date; or on whether the technical preview will include a version of Office that will work on Windows 8 on ARM. (I asked about all of these.) Update: Also, for those asking, we also have no idea on platform-support specifics — such as whether this preview also encompasses the rumored Office for iPad; and whether it includes a separate non-touch-centric Office 15 update for those not using tablets/touch-enabled laptops.
I hope that Microsoft is working on an ambitious touch-centric version of Office for Windows 8. It would be odd if it wasn’t. But I’m not sure what the implications will be–is it even possible to create a touch version of Excel that will please a spreadsheet jockey?–and look forward to hearing what Microsoft has to say when it’s ready to talk.