Microsoft Will Release Office 2016 This Year

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Following its Windows 10 event, Microsoft announced this morning that the next version of Office is called Office 2016 and will be generally released in the second half of this year. The company didn’t announce much more about Office 2016 today, but you know what to expect, given the history of the product.

The promised release is currently most notable for keeping alive a traditional focus on mouse and keyboard input. The company has recently made quite a lot of noise about exploring other forms of user input in its software. Most obvious of that trend was the initial release of Windows 8.

Microsoft is also building a set of Office apps for Windows, designed to accept touch input that the company calls “Office for Windows 10.” These apps will be similar to what the company has built for other mobile-friendly platforms and will be free for smaller Windows 10 devices. Microsoft providing free builds of Office for some devices is not new; the company did something similar with Windows RT.

Office for Windows 10 will be out in an early form in “coming weeks,” according to the company.

So Microsoft is wrapping up its march of touch-focused builds of Office for mobile platforms, including its own, and also kicking out a desktop-friendly build of Office this year. Those releases, paired with the go date of Windows 10 mean that the company’s two most public products will be refreshed in tandem.

It’s going to be a busy year in Redmond.