Microsoft Office 15
Will Office Go Fully Cloud Functional?
Microsoft is set to roll out the beta version of Office 15 by the end of March. Internal Microsoft sources insist that there are huge changes in how the product will be delivered to customers, as well as licensing and purchasing. With so much emphasis on "cloud delivery" systems Microsoft finds that it is placing itself under pressure to deliver all versions of products for both professional IT developers and end users in one format.
One big change could be flexibility in delivering different formats of Office to the same account. This will be particularly helpful for large corporate and institutional clients. The same licensee could mix users with Office 365 cloud services with desktop versions or versions that work for laptops, and iPad/iPhones. Microsoft is squarely aiming at it's cloud market with Office 365 brand name targeted for both consumers and the small/medium business market. Another service that will get more play in the MS Office world is Windows Live SkyDrive as Microsoft seeks to become the all in one off site storage and data access solutions provider, too.
"SkyDrive . . . will be set up to make communicating and collaborating between the ground and the cloud seamless. It is going to be a big part of the new offering," this is a quote from the ever-popular 'source close to Microsoft.' Microsoft intends to make it easy for users to move between their local copy of Office other Office documents (work of home) using the Office 365 program.
Metro StyleMuch of Office 15 will have the Metro look, just like Windows 8 and the Windows phones for Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and OneNote. Notice that Microsoft Access is not included in this feature set. Access has just undergone several years of new interface development, much of which is still under refinement. Professional developers are not eagerly anticipating a total upheaval in this version. Interestingly enough, Office 15 is consdidered to be quite stable, while Windows 8 is still technically shaky. The issues with Windows 8 will delay delivery of Office 15 until the operating system is completely ready.
The Future of Access - Is It Really Part Of Office?According to Microsoft consumers purchased 200 million licenses of Office 2010 in the first 18 months since it was launched. Sales of Office accounted for 30% of Microsoft's entire revenue the last quarter of 2011. About iPad and Office . . . not yet and well, not any time soon. Since there is no competition in the Office products marketplace (OK, maybe some, but fairly weak), Microsoft sees no urgency in moving Office to the iPad. Please, don't send irate emails, this information comes from Microsoft, not us! The reality of iPad popularity may move Microsoft in this direction soon.
OK, so where is Access in all this? Well, it's about the same place as always; on the outside looking in. As the red-haired step child of the Microsoft Office family, Access is not mentioned in the Office 15 discussion. So, plan on this . . . no changes. There might be some in SQL Server compatibility and publishing to SharePoint, but so far, there have been no major announcements regarding significant new functionality relating Microsoft Access in Office 15.