It’s been more than two years since Microsoft released a brand new version of Office, but according to a report from USA Today, “Office 15” (or Office 2013) could be announced next week. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will reportedly host an event on Monday, July 16, to show off the productivity suite’s new features, which will mainly include its new touch capabilities.
Following the event, Microsoft is expected to release a “Consumer Preview” of Office 15 in late July, before the final public release early next year, according to the report.
Sources close to Microsoft revealed very little about Office 15’s new features, but there are suggestions that the software will introduce the ability to edit PDF files. The report also claims that there will be two versions of Office: One for desktop PCs, and another for touch-based devices like Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablet, and even Apple’s iPad.
Wesley Miller, an analyst at technology research firm Directions on Microsoft, believes the software’s focus on touch will be key:
“Microsoft hasn’t had a large amount of time to broadly overhaul these applications, but I believe a large percentage of the time has been spent ensuring that the applications are touch-centric.”
Although we are expecting Microsoft to unveil its next-generation Office suite any day now, we are skeptical that the company will hold an event on Monday. It is yet to issue any invitations for a press conference — at least that we’re aware of — and it seems extremely unlikely that would happen over a weekend with less than 48 hours notice.